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2017 GTU Graduates

On May 11, sixty-two graduates were honored at the GTU's 2017 Commencement Ceremony at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary's Chapel of the Cross in Berkeley, California. Graduates are listed below by degree and include their thesis title, area of study or school of affiliation, committee members, and thesis abstract; language specialization is noted for MABL graduates in lieu of thesis information.

 

Master of Arts 

David Scott Anthony

The Jelling Stone and Our Lady of Guadalupe: Agents of Conversion in Denmark and Mexico

San Francisco Theological Seminary

Christopher Ocker, (Coordinator)

Eduardo C. Fernández, S.J.

Rossitza Schroeder

This thesis is a cross-cultural study of religious conversion in Scandinavia and Latin America. It focuses on mechanisms of conversion, such as mixed religion, personal or political conversion, and voluntary or forced conversion. Building on the concept of agency, Denmark’s Jelling Stone and Mexico’s Our Lady of Guadalupe are examined as cultural expressions and elements of religious conversion.

 

Mahjabeen Mohamedali Dhala

The Right to Choose Piety: Understanding Muslim Women’s God-centric Choice from a Shia Perspective

Center for Islamic Studies

WITH HONORS

Munir Jiwa (Coordinator)

Judith A. Berling

Changing times challenge existing norms. By highlighting gender-free realities from the Quran and presenting its central female figures, this thesis attempts to shatter cultural myths against women and offers a Shia theological perspective on Muslim women who argue their freedom and agency by choosing to practice piety and claiming their stake in the interpretation and application of sacred texts, while resisting Western constructs of the liberated woman.

 

Sandra Slemp Doley

The U.S. Lutheran-Roman Catholic Dialogue: An Examination of the Documents from 1965 to 2015

Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University

WITH HONORS

Alison Benders, (Coordinator)

Kyle Schiefelbein

William J. Dohar, Santa Clara University

This thesis explores the history of official Lutheran-Roman Catholic theological dialogue in the U.S. through a close examination of the official dialogue texts. The first three chapters summarize main themes and ideas. The final chapter explores why these conversations have yet to result in intercommunion and how to move forward.

 

Lora East

Who Is My Neighbor? Foundations for a Curriculum on the Interfaith Movement for Christians

San Francisco Theological Seminary

Christopher Ocker (Coordinator)

Carol R. Jacobson

This project is the foundation for a curriculum intended for a Christian audience that prepares them for interfaith encounters. It gives the history of the interfaith movement, Christian theological perspectives on the religious “other,” brings to light the privilege held by Christians in the U.S., and establishes the pedagogical foundation necessary to educate Christians on the interfaith movement.

 

Daigan Vincent Gaither

Healing in Oppression: Contributions from Buddhist Teachings and Communities

Institute of Buddhist Studies

Daijaku Judith Kinst (Coordinator)

Scott A. Mitchell

Drawing on the theories of healing developed by Dr. Paula Arai, this thesis investigates the capacity of community to contribute to healing practice in oppression.  Using the history and structure of East Bay Meditation Center as an example for a healing community, the research extrapolates how chaplains and other caregivers can use this method to create healing practices in oppression.

 

Meg Doshin Gawler

Voices of Early Buddhist Nuns: A Dharmalogical Approach to the ‘Therīgāthā’

Institute of Buddhist Studies

Richard K. Payne (Coordinator)

Gil Fronsdal

Jan Nattier, University of California, Berkeley

The Therīgāthā is a celebration, with many different human faces, of women’s personal experiences of awakening. This thesis examines the Therīgāthā from a dharmalogical perspective, analyzing the Pāli text to investigate these early female voices transmitting the Buddha’s teachings. It explores a central message of the Therīgāthā that Nibbāna, complete release, is possible for sincere practitioners, whether gifted or not.

 

Zelig Golden

Earth Based Judaism: Early Origins, Polemics, and a New Vision 

Center for Jewish Studies

Deena Aranoff (Coordinator)

Naomi Sheindel Seidman

Judaism is an ancient earth-based tradition. This work argues for a universal Jewish return to nature through an examination of Ancient Israel’s polytheism to establish Judaism’s earth-based origins. Biblical polemics against polytheism and rabbinic polemics through the prohibition against Avodah Zarah, ‘strange worship,’ are explored as forces disconnecting Judaism from its early folk roots. Finally, Jewish texts, Hebrew calendar, and Jewish practices provide evidence of earth-based Jewish traditions that can be reclaimed today.

 

Genevieve Greinetz

In Letters: Tracing Imagination in Gershom Scholem’s Mystical Letter Language

Center for Jewish Studies

Deena Aranoff, (Coordinator)

Naomi Sheindel Seidman

This thesis examines Gershom Scholem’s notion of the Hebrew language, particularly the dangerous potential of its Zionist revival. Through a close reading of his letter on the subject addressed to Franz Rosenzweig, this thesis contends that Scholem’s letter contains the seeds of the kabbalistic theory of language that he publishes forty-six years later.

 

Lea Heitfeld

How We Keep the Engagement Alive: Holocaust Education in Germany

Center for Jewish Studies

Naomi Sheindel Seidman (Coordinator)

Deena Aranoff

Drawing on the field of memory studies, this thesis analyzes different German history textbooks in order to identify how the Holocaust has been taught since World War II. Ultimately, it proposes that incorporating memory theory into German Holocaust education will encourage students to secure, shape, and monitor the ways the Holocaust is commemorated in Germany today.

 

Jamie Brett Kimmel

Buddhist Hospital Chaplaincy at the End of Life: U.S. Healthcare and the Challenge of Interdependence

Institute for Buddhist Studies

Daijaku Judith Kinst (Coordinator)

Scott A. Mitchell

Focusing on end-of-life care and decisions, this thesis argues that the interdependent nature of the U.S. healthcare system structures how persons and families face death. In order to provide meaningful spiritual care in relationship, a Buddhist chaplain must see interdependence and its consequences as facts that structure the clinical encounter itself.

 

May T. Kosba

From Ikhwanophobia to Islamophobia: Post-Colonial Cultural Nationalism in Post-Revolutionary Egypt

Center for Islamic Studies

Munir Jiwa, (Coordinator)

Marianne Farina, C.S.C.

Since the January 25, 2011 revolution in Egypt, a fear of the Muslim Brotherhood (al-Ikhwan) has emerged. This fear has been generated by the government and its allies in the media and religious institutions, and has taken on Islamophobic language, policies and actions familiar to the West.  This thesis examines narratives of Islamophobia in the form of a widespread Ikhwanophobia, which has replaced the spirit for democratic reform with a hegemonic cultural nationalism. This development occurs more deeply and vastly as post-colonial societies internalize Western Orientalism and Islamophobia.

 

Reem T. Kosba

Contemporary Christian-Muslim Relations in Egypt: Secularism, Violence, and the Challenges of Conflict Resolution

Center for Islamic Studies

Som Pourfarzaneh, (Coordinator)

Marianne Farina, C.S.C.

This thesis explores current Christian-Muslim relations in Egypt and the state’s apathy toward the rapid rise of sectarianism in the past decades and after the revolution of January 25, 2011. The state’s policies towards Christian-Muslim conflict are ultimately characterized as divisive and inflammatory. As this study suggests, Muslims worldwide and Egypt, in particular, can rely on the Qur’an and the Hadith for guidance in matters that pertain to human rights, religious equality, and freedom. This thesis proposes an Islamic religious peacemaking as a way to resolve conflicts at the grassroots level.

          

Jennifer Ayn Lehmann

Second Sons and Mamas’ Boys: Masculinity in the Jacob Story

Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology

Barbara Green, O.P. (Coordinator)

Naomi Sheindel Seidman

Katy Valentine

By comparing the portrayal of Jacob’s masculinity to that of his brother, his sons, and his God, this thesis examines the role that masculinity plays in the narrative of Jacob's life. It concludes that Jacob’s masculinity is consistently portrayed as subordinate, which serves to characterize Jacob as an underdog and to highlight God’s power.

 

Nicole M. MacArgel

The Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition: A Contemporary Organization for Transmitting the Dharma

Institute of Buddhist Studies

Richard K. Payne (Coordinator)

Scott A. Mitchell

This thesis explores the ways in which the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT) has developed into an international organization with 180 teachers supporting 120 affiliate centers and services. Each center shares the mission to transmit the Mahayana Buddhist Tradition as taught by the Tibetan master, Tsongkhapa (1357-1419), who is considered the founder of the Gelug School of Buddhism.

 

Rizwan Mawani

Tradition as Rupture: Caste, Community and the Colonial Courts – Forging Religious Identity in the 1866 Khoja Case

Center for Islamic Studies

Munir Jiwa (Coordinator)

Judith A. Berling

The Khojas were described by various 19th century commentators as Hindu, Muslim, Sunni and Shi’a. In 1866, a single court case, published serially in the English language newspapers of Bombay, imprinted upon them a singular identity. This thesis explores the ways in which their tradition was debated and contested under the watchful eye of the British Indian colonial court.

 

Joseph D. Merlino

The Pastoral Perspective in Business: A Practical Theological Approach to Executive, Business, and Organizational Development

Church Divinity School of the Pacific

Susanna Singer (Coordinator)

Herbert Anderson

This thesis is a practical theological resource for Christian business professionals who wish to integrate the religious and secular realms of their lives in ways that increase their understanding and practice of Christian discipleship in the workplace. It does so by exploring the shared perspectives and practices found in the pastoral theological perspective of shepherding and the secular model of servant-leadership, thereby creating a seamless model from which they can meet their commitments as religious and professional people.

 

Dawn Patricia Neal

Discord and its Alternatives in the Aṭṭhakavagga of the Pāli Canon

Institute for Buddhist Studies

Richard K. Payne (Coordinator)

Gil Fronsdal

Jan Nattier, University of California, Berkeley

This thesis examines the early Buddhist teachings on social conflict and its underlying causes. It compares some early scriptures, the Aṭṭhakavagga, with similar Buddhist discourses addressing conflict, and demonstrates contact between them. It also demonstrates that Buddhist teachings have applied to social and interpersonal concerns since ancient times, and posits that they can be usefully applied to such concerns today. 

 

Kelsey Jacob Pratt Pacha

Beloved Communities: Spiritual and Religious Issues in LGBT Community Centers

Pacific School of Religion

Jay Emerson Johnson (Coordinator)

Justin E. Tanis

This project explores spiritual and religious engagement at lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community centers through reviewing literature on religion, spirituality, and LGBT mental health, a content analysis of 180 LGBT center websites, and a case study of an LGBT center with a built-in spirituality program. Best practices and a working definition of religious and spiritual competency for clinicians in this context are offered to support healing.

 

Ron Riekki

Gender, Place, and Race/Indigeneity in Upper Peninsula Film, Literature, and Culture

Graduate Theological Union

Arthur G. Holder (Coordinator)

Naomi Sheindel Seidman

Gordon Henry, Michigan State University

This thesis aims to redefine the Upper Peninsula (U.P.) so its actual history can be preserved in the face of the threat of indigenous extinction. The beginning of Michigan film, American documentary, and Native American literary writing all start in the U.P. This thesis explores critical aboriginal roots of seminal author Bamewawagezhikaquay and her intercontinental reindeer clan connection to the Saami.

 

Rachel Lopez Rosenberg

A Lighthouse in the Fog: Jewish Mourning and Poetic Inventions

Center for Jewish Studies

WITH HONORS

Naomi Sheindel Seidman (Coordinator)

Gina Hens-Piazza

The thesis investigates the wisdom behind the laws of mourning which create the basic structure of Jewish society. The social contributions of Jewish mourning reveal the importance of form, social belonging and public identity during times of grief. These contributions are applied to the literary and pastoral considerations of using poetry in a memorial setting such as the Yizkor service.

 

Carrie Ann Sealine

Making Maccabees into Jews, Making Jews into Maccabees: Reading Jewish Identity through Extra-Canonical Text

Center for Jewish Studies

Deena Aranoff, (Coordinator)

Naomi Sheindel Seidman

This thesis uncovers the use of 1 and 2 Maccabees in the creation of Jewish identity in Hellenistic, rabbinic, medieval, and modern periods. In spite of rejection from the Jewish canon and reception into the Christian Bible, many cultural constructs of 1 and 2 Maccabees endure in the production of European, Israeli, and American Jewish identities.

 

Rabail Rania Shah

Al-Ghazālī on Reason and Revelation: A Revival in the Heart of the Islamic Scholarly Tradition

Center for Islamic Studies

WITH HONORS

Munir Jiwa, (Coordinator)

Marianne Farina, C.S.C.

A central debate contested in the Islamic scholarly tradition is the use of the two forms of knowledge available to​ humanity: reason and revelation. ​This debate became the intellectual and spiritual pursuit of Abu Hamid a​l​-​Ghazālī ​ (1058-1111), one of Islam’s most celebrated scholars.​ This thesis examines a​l​-​Ghazālī’s mission to revive the religious sciences through an integration of reason and revelation.

 

Saad Shaukat

Shibli Nomani’s Contribution to Kalam

Center for Islamic Studies

Som Pourfarzaneh, (Coordinator)

Marianne Farina, C.S.C.

Asad Q. Ahmed, University of California, Berkeley

Shibli Nomani presents a novel historical narrative for the development of the kalam tradition, which creates space for the study of Greek philosophy along with kalam and supports a highly rational approach to the study of this discipline. He proposes kalam-e-jadeed, a new kalam, which utilizes this understanding of the history of kalam to formulate a rational response, without discarding the validity of tradition, to the challenges faced by Islam due to the onslaught of modern ideas.

 

Sterling Austin Spence

The Liberation Nonprofit

Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University

WITH HONORS

William O’Neill (Coordinator)

Eduardo C. Fernandez, S.J.

This thesis describes a Christian theological responsibility to address injustice, works with sociology to identify the faith-based nonprofit sphere as a powerful location of liberation, and finishes by building a definition of “liberation nonprofits ethics.” It is a hopeful search to discover how nonprofits can live up to the Christian vision of a more loving, just, and peaceful world.

 

Wan-Ting Tsai

Screenwriting Methods and Preaching: Toward a Taiwanese Christian Homiletic

Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary

Shauna K. Hannan (Coordinator)

Sangyil Sam Park

Harry Cronin, C.S.C.

This thesis demonstrates that the methods employed in screenwriting and film narration can contribute to the craft of preaching in the Taiwanese Christian context. The study of screenwriting uncovers the methods employed in film narration that can positively impact the craft of preaching.

 

Tipisone Siatufu'a Tuiolemotu, Jr.

Out of the Shadows of Empire: A Postcolonial Reading of Isaiah 55:1-5

Pacific School of Religion

Aaron Brody (Coordinator)

Julián A. González Holguín

Isaiah 55:1-5 is examined from a perspective that incorporates a postcolonial reading. By identifying the rhetoric and context within the text, this study highlights an anti-imperial perspective promoted by the author. Therefore arguing that Isaiah 55:1-5 is significant not solely as a call of hope, but also as an anti-imperial message for Israel to denounce foreign colonial powers.

 

Brandon James Vaca

Currents of Participation and Centralization in the U.S. Catholic Church and Schools: Teachers’ Unions, Lay Participation, and the 2015 Contract and Handbook Disputes in the Archdiocese of San Francisco

Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University

WITH HONORS

Jerome P. Baggett (Coordinator)

Lisa Fullam

Historical trends influence the birth and continuing experience of Catholic teachers’ unions in the U.S. Like post-Vatican II lay participation in the U.S. Catholic Church, the energetic beginnings of Catholic teachers’ unions yielded few institutionalized changes. The 2015 disputes demonstrate the interests of different parties, how unions accumulate power, and the lessons unions offer lay Catholics seeking greater forms of ecclesial participation.

 

Master of Arts with a Concentration in Biblical Languages

Ivana Rahel Müllner

Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University

Jean-François Racine (Coordinator)

Eugene Eung-Chun Park

Biblical Hebrew (Primary)

Biblical Greek (Secondary)

German (Modern Language)

 

Lucia Gabrielle Tosatto

Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University

John C. Endres, S.J. (Coordinator)

Barbara Green, O.P.

Biblical Hebrew (Primary)

Biblical Greek (Secondary)

Italian (Modern Language)

 

Doctor of Philosophy

Abdel Ali

The “Negro” in Afro-Arabian Muslim Consciousness

Cultural and Historical Studies of Religions

Munir Jiwa (Coordinator)

Judith A. Berling

Hatem Bazian, University of California, Berkeley

This dissertation offers an explanation of why indigenous black Africans were not alienated from Islam despite the existence of alleged prophetic traditions and legal teachings in the Maliki School of Law, which disparage and discriminate against black Africans. It asserts that while color-based prejudice is fairly recent in human history, black antipathy, on the other hand, is a perennial phenomenon.

 

Beth R. Anderson

Exploring Teaching and Learning in Christian Spirituality: Narratives from a Highlander-Inspired Course

Christian Spirituality

Arthur G. Holder (Coordinator)

Barbara Green, O.P.

Lisa E. Dahill, California Lutheran University

Seminary-level educators are called to prepare diverse student populations to lead evolving faith communities. This study draws on methodologies developed by the Highlander Research and Education Center to design a seminary course in Christian spirituality. Narrative inquiry guides the overall construction of the dissertation, which closes with a call for increased attention to the scholarship of teaching and learning.

 

Ali J. Ataie

Authenticating the Johannine Injil: Sunnite “Polemirenic” Interpretive Methodological Approaches to the Gospel of John

Cultural and Historical Studies of Religions

Munir Jiwa (Coordinator)

Marianne Farina, C.S.C.

Hatem Bazian, University of California, Berkeley

The primary method of this dissertation is a faith-based hermeneutic of the Gospel of John in which the entire text is authenticated as being the true Gospel of Jesus Christ mentioned in the Qur’an. The text of John is interpreted through the “theo-mystical” lens of Sunnite Muslim scholars such as al-Junayd, al-Ghazali, and Ibn Arabi.

 

Carl Frederic Bear

Funeral Practices in Late Fourth-Century Antioch

Liturgical Studies

Lizette Larson-Miller (Coordinator)

Paul Janowiak, S.J.

Jaclyn Maxwell, Ohio University

Ordinary Christians and church leaders in late fourth-century Antioch had different ideas about how to Christianize their funerals. In the case of mourning and other contested practices, ordinary Christians were caring for their dead in culturally prescribed ways. Church leaders condemned these practices as displaying lack of faith in the resurrection and desired funeral practices that were more distinctly Christian.

 

Nathan Wilson Bjorge

Liberation Theurgy: Towards a Critical Theory of Insurgent Hermeticism

Systematic and Philosophical Theology

Jay Emerson Johnson (Coordinator)

James Lawrence

Gordan Djurdjevic, University of British Columbia

Using Marxist critical theory, “Liberation Theurgy” hermeneutically revaluates the Western magical tradition through a reading of Iamblichus, Aleister Crowley, and related sources. By critiquing the Neoplatonic basis of ancient theurgy in favor of a modern pragmatic methodology of magical practice, an innovative dialectical materialist theory of Magick is advanced, situated in resistance to the cultural alienation of globalized capitalism.

 

Matthew A. Boswell

The Way to Love through Hope: A Virtue-Based Model of Spiritual Growth for Christian Spiritual Formation

Christian Spirituality

Arthur G. Holder (Coordinator)

Lisa Fullam

Judith A. Berling

Vicki Zakrzewski, University of California, Berkeley

This dissertation presents an improvement upon common American mainline and evangelical conceptions of Christian spiritual formation by using the resources of virtue ethics and positive psychology. The study constructs a model of Christian spiritual development whose goal of love is realized through the increasing presence in the individual Christian virtues of gratitude, self-care, justice, kindness, and hope.

 

Mary Wong Cheng

Communal Hymn-Singing in Early British Methodism: A Bio-psycho-social Query into its Transformative Effects

Christian Spirituality

William Short, O.F.M. (Coordinator)

Mary McGann, R.S.C.J.

Mark Graves, Fuller Theological Seminary

Randy Maddox, Duke University

This interdisciplinary project investigates how hymns and hymn-singing catalyzes and sustains spiritual transformation in eighteenth-century British Methodism. Methodists were a “singing people” while also a community within which many members experienced conversion. This correlation is not accidental.  Using current emotion theories along with neuroscientific and psychological studies of empathy, memory and entrainment, this study illuminates why communal song has such transformative and vitalizing effects.

 

Luke Devine, O.S.B.

Fritz Eichenberg: A Case Study in the Relationship between Creativity and Spirituality

Christian Spirituality

Arthur G. Holder (Coordinator)

Eduardo C. Fernández, S.J.

Jane Piirto, Ashland University

As a study in the relationship between creativity and spirituality, this dissertation explores Fritz Eichenberg’s voluntary artistic contributions to The Catholic Worker. Eichenberg’s major incentive for working in this medium lies in how it provided a milieu wherein he could develop his artistic persona of the “artist on the witness stand,” i.e. an observer testifying against social injustices.

 

Christina M. Fetherolf

Lamenting Abuse: Reading Psalm 22 as a Response to Intimate Partner Abuse

Biblical Studies

John C. Endres, S.J. (Coordinator)

LeAnn Snow Flesher

Sharon G. Thornton, Andover Newton Theological School

Psalm 22 has the potential to facilitate healing from intimate partner abuse. Embedded within the biblical lament form is a process similar to the healing process outlined by trauma studies. The divine address is a means of establishing safety; complaint and petition tell the story and mourn what is lost; and the (vow to) praise illustrates the reintegration into society.

 

Robert Galoob

Post Hoc Propter Hoc: Revisiting Martyrdom’s Impact on the Development of Hasidut Ashkenaz

Cultural and Historical Studies of Religion

Deena Aranoff (Coordinator)

Naomi Sheindel Seidman

Daniel Joslyn-Siemiatkoski, Seminary of the Southwest

Joshua David Holo, Hebrew Union College

This dissertation reevaluates the impact that Jewish martyrdom in 1096 had on the development of German Pietism, which evolved in the last quarter of the twelfth century.  Through a close reading of the Crusade Chronicles and Sefer Hasidim, it establishes that martyrdom and German Pietism are closely related phenomena, which should be viewed as integral parts of inchoate medieval Ashkenazic thought.

 

Veronica Revette Goines

Sacred Voice and Unholy Silence: African American Women, Voice and Preaching--Constructing a Womanist Homiletic--a Practical Theological Perspective

Interdisciplinary Studies

Jana L. Childers (Coordinator)

Herbert Anderson

Katie G. Cannon, Union Presbyterian Seminary

This study discloses how the ecclesiastical silencing of African American women has shaped the hermeneutical lens, theological content, and homiletic structure of African American women’s preaching.  Besides naming the dominant and oppressive social and ecclesiastical structures and practices that adversely impact black women and the church, this study contributes to a model for an inclusive homiletic that has broader relevance.

 

Moatemsu Imchen

Tensions, Interactions and Power Negotiations between “Tribes” and “States” in Monarchic Israel: Toward a New Understanding Based on Case Studies from Middle Bronze Age Mari and Iron Age Moab

Biblical Studies

Aaron Brody (Coordinator)

John C. Endres, S.J. 

Benjamin W. Porter, University of California, Berkeley

This dissertation analyzes the interactions and power negotiations between “Tribes” and “States” with the emergence of a more centralized political and social structure in Iron Age Southern Levant. It advances the argument that the emergence of a centralized state led to a diminished role for kinship under central political control and a concomitant greater complexity of social organization.

 

Dae Kyung Jung

Semantic Divine Action and the Origin of Life: The Emergence of Autonomy, the Space of Meaning, and Relationship

Systematic and Philosophical Theology

Gregory Anderson Love (Coordinator)

Ted F. Peters

Robert J. Russell

Kim Yooshin, Pusan National University

This project deals with a relevant understanding of divine action, which might have been effective in relation to the origin of life. The project not only proposes to engage the scientific theory in a dialogue with a theological understanding with regard to divine action in the world, but it also strives to reconstruct the theological doctrine in light of our contemporary scientific knowledge.

 

Amanda J. Kaminski

The Grammar of Christian Witness: Hermeneutics of Testimony in the Texts of Five Nineteenth-Century Evangelical Women

Christian Spirituality

Arthur G. Holder (Coordinator)

Sandra M. Schneiders

Julia D.E. Prinz

Tom Schwanda, Wheaton College

Bolstered by personal experiences with God in the context of nineteenth-century evangelicalism, Dorothy Ripley, Jarena Lee, Phoebe Palmer, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Frances Ellen Watkins Harper carried out remarkable religious careers in the public sphere. Framing their storytelling, theological interpretations, and social action as faithful fulfillment of the Spirit’s leading, these women transgressed the conventions of “true womanhood” as taught by the cult of domesticity. Using the grammar of Christian witness, they constructed saving narratives in liminal literary space to prophetically irrupt into religious, cultural, and gender norms with a proclamation of faith that carried symbolic critical force.

 

Hyeokil Kwon

Poetic and Prophetic Life in a Time of the Hidden God: A Comparative Study of Thomas Merton’s and Yun Dong-Ju’s Spiritualities

Christian Spirituality

Arthur G. Holder (Coordinator)

Bruce H. Lescher

Eung-gyo Kim, Sook-myung Women’s University

An authentic Christian life in a time of the hidden God requires a poetic and prophetic spirituality that contemplates God and the self in one’s everyday reality and seeks a fundamental inner transformation of people and their society in the hope for a new epoch. This is a life radically devoted to discipleship in imitation of Christ.

 

Elekosi F. Lafitaga

Apocalyptic, Here and Now: The Book of Dreams (1En 83-90) and the Rhetoric of Apocalyptic Discourse in the Gospel of Matthew

Biblical Studies

Eugene Eung-Chun Park (Coordinator)

LeAnn Snow Flesher

Daniel Boyarin, University of California, Berkeley

This dissertation is a study on the Gospel of Matthew and “apocalyptic.” It integrates a nuanced definition of apocalyptic with conceptual metaphor theory and socio-rhetorical analysis of Early Christian texts to read Matthew’s apocalyptic discourses involving eschatological topoi of judgment. It focuses upon cultural and historical intertextures of metaphor and apocalyptic discourse.

 

Kyoung Hee Lee

2 Samuel 11-12, Luke 24, and Biblical Spirituality: The Role of Narrative in Challenging Sacrificial Substitution and A New Perspective of Rene Girard

Christian Spirituality

Barbara Green, O.P. (Coordinator)

Naomi Sheindel Seidman

Keith Bodner, Crandall University

This dissertation explores biblical spirituality through an examination of transformative reading of two biblical narratives (2 Samuel 11-12 and Luke 24) using the methodologies of modern hermeneutics, modern literary theory, and the theory of Rene Girard. Biblical spirituality implies that the interpretation of Scripture helps the reader to understand daily events and contemporary issues.

 

Sung Ho Lee

Becoming Human Relationships: The Trinity, Non-Humans, and Humans in Radical Relationships

Systematic and Philosophical Theology

Ted F. Peters (Coordinator)

Robert J. Russell

Martinez J. Hewlett, University of Arizona

This dissertation seeks an alternative theological anthropology in relation to non-humans. Symbiotic biology and ethology help to disclose that humans are interconnected with non-humans that have their own uniqueness. God as Trinity, in interdependent and inter-distinctive relationship, upholds creaturely relationships as trinitarian grace. The study concludes that humans cannot exist without non-humans, and ultimately without God, because of their radical relations.

 

Su-Chi Lin

Intercultural Mediation: A Visual Cultural Study of Art and Mission in Contemporary Taiwan

Art and Religion

Eduardo C. Fernández, S.J. (Coordinator)

Kathryn Barush

Fumitaka Matsuoka

Mia M. Mochizuki, New York University

This dissertation conducts a study of art and mission in contemporary Taiwan. The project engages Christian images produced by home-grown artists, recognizing the need of local Christian communities for a dialogical conversion from merely adapting Western stylistic expressions to creating new indigenous narratives. Images can be better perceived as new products emerging from cultural mediation that crosses borders and risks encounters between gospel and context.

 

Daniel DeForest London

Where Lambs May Wade and Wolves Can Swim: Jesus’s Self-Giving Response to the Question of Suffering in John 9:1-10:21

Christian Spirituality

Barbara Green, O.P. (Coordinator)

Arthur G. Holder

James Alison, Independent Scholar

This dissertation argues that the Fourth Gospel offers a potentially transformative response to the question of suffering and that the disciples’ question in John 9:2 invites the reader to bring his or her own question of suffering to the Johannine Jesus. In turn, Jesus’ response continues into the healing narrative, the interrogation narrative, and the Good Shepherd discourse, offering a theodical spirituality.

 

Marty Miller Maddox

Modern Theology at the Wheel:  The Challenge of Ancient Greek Skepticism and the Drive toward Authority with Certainty in Christian Doctrine

Systematic and Philosophical Theology

Ted F. Peters (Coordinator)

Gregory Anderson Love

Gerard H. McCarren, Seton Hall University

This dissertation explores how Hellenistic skepticism tempted late modern, Western theology to conflate authority with certainty in the legitimation of Christian teachings.  To avoid the confusion of certainty with authority, it argues that theology should test its truth claims by treating its sources of divine revelation as proleptic (anticipatory and real) guides to our future participation with God.

 

Chaitanya S.P. Motupalli

Climate Change, Intergenerational Justice, and Restorative Justice

Ethics and Social Theory

Carol S. Robb (Coordinator)

William O’Neill, S.J.,

Richard B. Norgaard, University of California, Berkeley

This dissertation gives substance to ways the restorative justice framework can operate intergenerationally. It extends the argument that restorative justice can be used not only to address environmental crime, but also the harms that future generations will experience because of climate change. Furthermore, it demonstrates the unique contributions of the restorative justice framework to the discussion of intergenerational justice.

 

Michelle Mueller

Performed Polygamy and Polyamory in the Media Age: The "Tel-education" of Nonmonogamous Religious and Spiritual Families in Reality Television

Cultural and Historical Studies of Religions

Scott A. Mitchell (Coordinator)

Gabriella Lettini

Sarah M. Pike, California State University, Chico
Janet Bennion, Lyndon State College

This dissertation is a study of consensually nonmonogamous religious minority families who have performed in a reality television series. Religious minority families have utilized reality television as a medium for transformative advocacy or a “tel-education,” where these families educate viewers about their lives, normalize by example, and change public opinion about the minority group.

 

Meredith Massar Munson

Babylon, New Jerusalem, and the Brooklyn Bridge: Modern Spirituality in American Art

Art and Religion

Devin Phillip Zuber (Coordinator)

Rossitza Schroeder

Margaretta Lovell, University of California, Berkeley

Sally M. Promey, Yale University

This dissertation explores the way that Georgia O’Keeffe, Alfred Stieglitz, and Joseph Stella created new images of the twentieth-century metropolis that were shaped by a democratic theology of spiritual experience. The American urban environment fostered the creation of a visual language capable of expressing this new spiritual experience, rendering even New York City as within reach of redemption.

 

Se Hoon Park

The Self-Transforming Journey toward Union with God: A Psychological Analysis of the Transformation of the Spatial Image in the Interior Castle by Teresa of Avila

Christian Spirituality

Bruce H. Lescher (Coordinator)

Darleen Pryds

H. John McDargh, Boston College

Focusing on Teresa of Avila’s (1515–1582) concept of union with God in the center of the human soul, this dissertation draws on Jungian psychology and self-psychology for insights into her experience of union with God in terms of the structure of the psyche. Primary attention is given to Teresa’s spatial imagery of the interior castle and its transformation.

 

Matt C. Paulson

God (and World) “Ever-greater:” Affectivity in the Theological Vision of Hans Urs von Balthasar

Systematic and Philosophical Theology

Michael J. Dodds, O.P. (Coordinator)

Thomas Cattoi

Lara Buchak, University of California, Berkeley

This dissertation draws upon recent philosophical work to demonstrate the cognitive and existential significance of emotion. It also explores emotion’s prevalence and importance in Hans Urs von Balthasar's work, especially his methodology, ontology, epistemology, and Trinitarian doctrine.

 

Justin Edward Tanis

Queer Bodies, Sacred Art

Interdisciplinary Studies

Judith A. Berling (Coordinator)

Rossitza Schroeder

Robert E. Shore-Goss, Claremont School of Theology

This dissertation is a study of spiritually themed art by lesbian and gay artists that broaden our understandings of queer theology and the spirituality of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) communities. Very little has been written about religious themes in art by LGBTQ artists within theology, art history or queer theory; this dissertation brings these disciplines into dialogue.

 

Nada Velimirovic'

Reflections of the Divine: Muslim, Christian and Jewish Images on Luster Glazed Ceramics in Late Medieval Iberia

Art and Religion

Ronald Y. Nakasone (Coordinator)

Rossitza Schroeder

Wilson Yates, Emeritus, United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities

This dissertation demonstrates how Muslim, Christian, and Jewish artisans combined the visual expressions of their respective faith traditions in motifs that appear on luster glazed ceramics in Late Medieval Iberia.  Investigation of objects previously deemed not worthy of scholarly attention provides a more nuanced understanding of how religious co-existence or convivencia was negotiated in daily life.

 

Alan C. Weissenbacher

The Born Again Brain: Neuroscience and Wesleyan Salvation

Systematic and Philosophical Theology

Ted F. Peters (Coordinator)

Robert J. Russell
Mark Graves, Fuller Theological Seminary

This dissertation examines how neuroscience contributes to a Wesleyan understanding of salvation and growth in virtue with a focus on practical applications for moral education, spiritual formation, and addiction rehabilitation.  Neurological transformation involves linking, unlinking, and potentiating brain pathways through action-oriented learning, imagination, emotional training, and the development of habit.

 

Rachel Wheeler

Holy Feigning: A Study in the Spirituality of the Apophthegmata Patrum

Christian Spirituality

Arthur G. Holder (Coordinator)

Barbara Green, O.P.

Douglas E. Christie, Loyola Marymount University

The Apophthegmata Patrum contains stories of holy feigning that depict how late antique Christians used deception to persuade someone to remain committed to a way of life characterized by spiritual practice. Read for transformation, this text is an important resource for contemporary readers desiring strategies for remaining committed to their own spiritual growth.

 

Jaime D. Wright

Scars that Matter: Breast Cancer, Religion, and Identity

Ethics and Social Theory

Jerome P. Baggett (Coordinator)

Lisa Fullam

Stephen Vaisey, Duke University 

Wendy Cadge, Brandeis University 

The physical and cultural realities of breast cancer disrupt the lives of women diagnosed. Religion helps to provide a sense of control, comfort, and strength to deal with the uncertainty. This study examines religious coping within the larger field of health and healing, and orthodox medicine’s dominance of that field.

 

Hatice Yildiz

Revisiting the Qizilbash-Alevi Tradition in Light of 17th Century Mecmua Manuscripts

Cultural and Historical Studies of Religion

Munir Jiwa (Coordinator)
Judith A. Berling
Ahmed Zildzic, Oriental Institute in Sarajevo

This dissertation aims to understand the trajectory of the Anatolian Qizilbash tradition in light of 17th-century Mecmua manuscripts. A close examination shows that the Mecmuas are the oral-derived texts of a culturally and religiously fluid and politically competitive environment of the Turco-Persian landscape. They provide a unique example of the continuation of religious and cultural symbiosis in the context of the rising Safavid and Ottoman orthodoxies.

 

Hun Cho Yu

On the Reason for Christian Hope: Theodicy and the Eschatological Hope of the Christian Faith

Systematic and Philosophical Theology

Gregory Anderson Love (Coordinator)

Ted F. Peters

Robert J. Russell

Brian Patrick Green, Santa Clara University

This dissertation presents an eschatological theodicy, that is, the hopeful vision of God’s eschatological future, as the final response to the theodicy question. It pays attention to the eschatological act of the triune God revealed in and through the history of the world, rather than a philosophical or logical resolution of the trilemma.