My goal this year can be stated simply: to complete my dissertation. Easier said than done, though. This fellowship with the Martin Marty Center (MMC), especially due to the interdisciplinary conversations with peers and faculty, will be key to accomplishing that goal. More specifically, my dissertation deals with the intersecton between theology and artifacts (also known as material culture) around one question: how are artifacts theological?
We are delighted to announce that the Divinity School is embarking on several faculty searches this academic year. In addition, we are seeking a Dean of Students to lead the school’s many efforts to support the success of its graduate students.
I am honored and thrilled at becoming a Martin Marty Fellow in the academic year 2019-2020. I am looking forward to sharing my research there, learn from my peers, and being challenged to present those aspects of my research that make it valuable for a broader public, which is, in my opinion, an essential task that scholarship on religion today must be able to accomplish.
I'm hugely excited to be participating in this year's Marty Seminar. My dissertation work is a historical analysis of the proofs for the existence of God; I tell the story of why the proofs took on such prominence in Descartes and afterwards and how they function within modern metaphysics, with the goal of understanding what effects their tradition continues to have on the ways we today conceive of religion.
My dissertation addresses a long-standing inarticulacy within modern medicine about its malaise and its good. I locate the problem in its dominant but reductive image of the human person, which tends to regard ethical and religious values in terms solely of their instrumental importance. Drawing on Charles Taylor and Augustine, and taking a hermeneutic approach, I argue for and clarify our ontology as hermeneutic selves.
In my dissertation, I ask: What is the hermeneutical relationship between illness and theological symbols? Or more importantly: What is the unique, explanatory purchase of theological symbols vis-à-vis the experience of illness and what—if any—ethical demands does that experience of illness present to the interpretation of theological symbols? To that end, I address how the construal of theological symbols affects the ethical status of people with an acutely stigmatizing—and theologically freighted—illness such as leprosy.