Presenting at the College Theology Society Annual Convention 2018

The CTS Annual convention will be held at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN (May 31-June 3). My abstract submission was accepted, so I will read my paper in one of the convention’s Scripture panels. For more information on this conference, click here.




Title of Paper: Orienting Catholic Exegesis Against Anti-Semitic Interpretations of the Old Testament: An Analysis of the Jerome Biblical Commentary

Abstract of Paper:

One of the stated goals of the Jerome Biblical Commentary (1968) was to showcase how Catholic exegetes could contribute to biblical studies, and to simultaneously give priests and laypeople a resource for the Bible. The update in the New Jerome Biblical Commentary (1990) still orients itself in a defensive posture about Catholic participation in this scholarship. Still, neither editions accounted for the ways that some traditional interpretations concerning the relationship between the Old and New Testaments have supported anti-Semitism. There are examples of this in historical Christian theology, contemporary Catholic interpretation, and even in the Jerome Biblical Commentary itself. While they are not all overtly anti-Semitic, the levels include hard supersessionism and statements that do not reflect the inclusive spirit of Vatican II. Examining these issues could be a helpful lesson for Catholic commentaries on the Bible.

This paper provides a historical survey of Christian interpretations of the Old Testament that do not rightly contend with the existence of Judaism. There are several important thinkers who have been instrumental in this history, but pointing to areas of Christian thought that provide a faithful alternative will also be an important part of the survey. Next, there is an analysis of both commentaries and their contribution to this topic, which will establish a foundation for practical steps of improvement. Finally, these steps will be explicated to provide both a concrete set of editorial suggestions and a pedagogical reflection on the problem itself. Embracing the legacy of the Jerome Biblical Commentary and its connection to Vatican II, Catholic participation in biblical scholarship can truly depart from a defensive position. In an ecumenical dialogue about Christian exegesis from a decidedly Catholic perspective, the lack of any discussion of anti-Semitism is almost a sin of omission.

Runner-up in Joy and Adolescent Faith & Flourishing Essay Competition

I was recently notified that I was selected as a runner-up to an essay competition held by the Yale Center for Faith & Culture. Each year graduate students submit projects in three different forms: (1) essay, (2) curriculum, and (3) sermon series. Topically, these projects are sorted into either of the these categories: “Theology of Joy and the Good Life” to “Joy and Adolescent Faith & Flourishing.” On January 31, I submitted an essay to the latter category.

Paper title: “Peace & Joy in Augustine”

Abstract of Essay:

Peace and joy are intimately connected in St. Augustine of Hippo’s famous book, The City of God. Forming his theology of peace in the context of the fall of Rome, Augustine used a conceptual contrast between earthly and heavenly cities. Augustine’s contrast highlights that there are many incompatible definitions for peace that do not all promote joy. Situating his definition of peace using Psalm 147, Augustine forms a teleological argument that defines the heavenly city’s peace. It is the contention of this paper that Augustine provides an occasion to discern our way through competing models of peace in the world of adolescents. This requires that we engage with skepticism; a way of thinking popular in our contemporary moment. Taken the right way, skepticism can be a tool that buttresses the vitality and self-awareness of a teleologically directed earthly city. Peace is a condition of restoration through which adolescents find joy.



For the website listing the announcement, follow this link.



Spring Conferences at St. Catherine and Duke University

Winter break is a time of rest for many college students, but today I was informed that I have a lot of preparation to do. There are two upcoming opportunities to share some of my research.

Creation and Destruction: Beginnings and Ends in Religious Thought (February 2018)

  • Title of Paper: “The Degrading Transformations of Nebuchadnezzar and Jekyll: Stevenson’s Reception of the Book of Daniel in Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”
  • Location: Duke University: Durham, NC.

College Theology Society Annual Convention (June 2018)

  • Title of Paper: “Orienting Catholic Exegesis Against Anti-Semitic Interpretations of the Old Testament: An Analysis of the Jerome Biblical Commentary
  • Location: St. Catherine University: Saint Paul, MN.


I am looking forward to both of these conferences. If you have any questions, please let me know. It would be awesome to hear feedback or get advice on these presentations.

HASTAC and the Vanderbilt Center for Teaching

My application to be a HASTAC Scholar was recently accepted. I feel so honored to contribute to the Vanderbilt Center for Teaching (Link). There are a lot of projects that I have in mind, but it looks like my primary task will be to work on online education. HASTAC is an abbreviation for the Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory. It is an international community that focuses on the digital humanities and integrating it with college classrooms.


Presenting Paper at the AAR New England Maritime Regional Meeting

A few weeks ago I was asked to submit a paper to a conference happening at Boston University because of another paper I had presented almost a year ago. The topic was much different then (Jewish-Christian dialogue), but I enjoyed my experience very much, and am pleased that my proposal was accepted. It will be my first time presenting research at an event held by the American Academy of Religion.

Title: “Problematizing and Renegotiating Histories of Satan.”


In this study, Williams explores two major methodological issues that are involved with histories of Satan. The first is development-based studies on the biblical śāṭān that was initially observed by Peggy L. Day. The second points out the problem with depending only on Christian and secular receptions of Satan. There are numerous examples of Satan in Jewish sources that are not consulted. At the end of this study, some potential solutions will be suggested.

My topic for this paper was formulated during my master’s thesis at Pepperdine University, but it remained largely undeveloped since it was largely tangential.