In many ways doctoral research is like that proverbial child for whom a village is needed. Left to its own devices, the child’s development would be hampered by the lack of guidance which only an intentional community can provide. The Martin Marty Center is ideally suited to be that place of nurture and correction. As a Junior Fellow, my goal is to contribute to the seminar through thoughtful and generous engagement with my colleagues’ work, to both offer and receive correction and help. I am excited to learn with and from my colleagues in the coming year.
My hope is that my own work on the rich menagerie of medical language in the Pastoral Epistles and the polemical purposes to which that language is put will find a critical and constructive audience at the Marty Center. I contend that the author of these letters is manipulating language and ideas from authentically Pauline texts in order to convince readers that his theological opponents are utterly deluded and inspired by demons, and yet at the same time advancing a soteriological ideal according to which God “desires all people to be saved and come to a recognition of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4). My goal is to demonstrate how this author evokes certain etiologies and images of disease in order to protect his readers from theological alterity and to show how his interpretive legacy was in turn adopted and adapted by subsequent early Christian authors.