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Commencement 2013

The colorful academic regalia of professors and graduates accented the festive mood of the occasion. On May 9, fifty-eight graduates participated in the commencement ceremony at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary's Chapel of the Cross. Thirty-eight students received the Master of Arts, two the Master of Arts with a concentration in Biblical Languages, and eighteen the Doctor of Philosophy degree. They completed their programs in Fall 2012 or Spring 2013. 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.

Doctor of Philosophy | Master of Arts | Master of Arts with a Concentration in Biblical Languages

Marilyn Matevia, Ph.D. in Ethics and Social Theory, addressed her fellow graduates, offering remarks on "A De-Centering Prayer." Robert Russell, Professor of Theology and Science and Director of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, spoke on behalf of the faculty.

Dr. Mia Mochizuki, Associate Professor and Thomas E. Bertelsen, Jr. Chair of Art History and Religion for Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University and the Graduate Theological Union, was recognized as this year's Sarlo Excellence in Teaching Award recipient.



Doctor of Philosophy

Kathryn Bellm Alexander
Saving Beauty: Andy Goldsworthy and a Theological Aesthetics of Nature
Systematic and Philosophical Theology
Jay Emerson Johnson (Coordinator); Rosemary Radford Ruether; Frank Oppenheim, S.J., Xavier University (OH)
The central premise of a theological aesthetics of nature is that the experience of natural beauty is a source of what Josiah Royce called religious insight into the need and way of salvation.  It offers a view of redeemed life as participation in the ecological, beloved community of the beautiful.  And it offers a view of redeemed life that includes both the human and the natural world.

David Friend
Intimate Transcendence: Proximity and Depth in Christian Architecture
Art and Religion
Mia M. Mochizuki (Coordinator); Lizette Larson-Miller; Frank Burch Brown, Christian Theological Seminary; Patrick Quinn, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
This dissertation analyzes themes of immanence and transcendence in twentieth-century American and European Christian architecture.  The dissertation demonstrates the compelling potential for the simultaneous and metaphorical interplay of proximity and spatial depth to develop a symbolically evocative architecture of intimate transcendence that engages the religious imagination.

Elizabeth Stanhope Gordon
Creating Space: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Spirituality, Religiosity, and Public Mental Health Services
Christian Spirituality
Elizabeth Liebert, S.N.J.M. (Coordinator); Judith A. Berling; Joseph D. Driskill; Devva Kasnitz, University of California, Berkeley; Mark Graves, Santa Clara University
Ethnography, Christian spirituality, disability studies, religious studies, emergent human systems theory and a pragmatic metaphysics of human experience illustrate the need for creating a dialectic space in mental health care to support the intrinsic, transcendent role of spirituality, dynamic imagination, and community in recovery and to indentify the cultural barriers of the bio-medical model to integrating spirituality into services.

Brian Patrick Green
The Is-Ought Problem and Catholic Natural Law
Ethics and Social Theory
Richard M. Gula, S.S. (Coordinator); Robert J. Russell; John R.T. Berkman, Regis College, University of Toronto; William B. Hurlbut, Stanford University
David Hume’s is-ought problem states that one cannot derive an “ought” from an “is.”  Yet this is what Catholic natural law is often thought to do. This dissertation examines two previous solutions to the is-ought problem proposed by Germain Grisez and Jean Porter, and then propose a third solution influenced by the work of Terrence Deacon.

Shaina Hammerman
The Fantastic Hasid: Fashioning Jewishness on Screen
Naomi Sheindel Seidman (Coordinator); Deena Aranoff; Mitchell B. Hart, University of Florida; Martin E. Jay, University of California, Berkeley; Anton Kaes, University of California, Berkeley
This dissertation explores the representational power of Hasidic Jews in film, the natural site for constructing a shared visual vocabulary, and examines what is at stake when Jewish identity is emblematized by a specific religious iconography.  This limiting and ambivalent imagery serves American Jewish multiculturalism by establishing Jewishness—in its Hasidic iteration—as a desirable variety of white ethnic difference.

Katherine C. Hennessey
Education as Formation: Virtue Ethics and Catholic Education
Ethics and Social Theory
Lisa Fullam (Coordinator); Jerome P. Baggett; Harold Daly Horell, Fordham University
This dissertation argues that Aristotelian-Thomistic virtue ethics, informed by complementary theoretical tools from social theory and developmental psychology, offers a simultaneously tradition-based and pragmatic framework for conceptualizing Catholic education understood as the holistic formation of persons. A theoretical argument is made for the general context of Catholic schools, which is then applied to the specific task of sexual education.

Lynn Maren Hofstad
Reconsidering the Atonement: A Re-examination of the Nature of Atonement Symbols
Systematic and Philosophical Theology
Ted Peters (Coordinator); Lisa Fullam; Marit A. Trelstad, Pacific Lutheran University
This dissertation argues that understanding symbol solely in terms of its multivalency, rather than reducing it to a univocal, literal meaning, helps mitigate the issue of the cross as a symbol of atonement and the metaphors used to describe atonement as perpetuating abuse as is articulated by some current feminist and womanist theologians.

Micah T. J. Jackson
What Do You Mean We Preacher?: A Gricean Analysis of First-Person Pronoun Use in the Preaching Event
Linda L. Clader (Coordinator); Mary Donovan Turner; Robin Tolmach Lakoff, University of California, Berkeley
Recently, homileticians have been using the metaphor of “conversation” to develop less hierarchal relationships between preachers and their hearers.  This dissertation uses the linguistic methodology of conversational analysis to investigate the value of the conversational metaphor, especially regarding its implications for first-person pronoun use in sermons.

Young Won Kim
Trial of Obedience to the Word of God: Anselm’s Proslogion and the Renewal of Discourse Between Analogia Entis and Analogia Fidei
Systematic and Philosophical Theology
Richard Schenk, O.P. (Coordinator); Anselm Ramelow, O.P.; Bruce Marshall, Southern Methodist University
The purpose of this dissertation is to explore the intertextuality between the modes of knowing sola ratione and sola fide within Anselm of Canterbury’s Proslogion and the ecumenical debates between Eric Przywara’s analogia entis and Karl Barth’s analogia fidei.  Reflection upon insights concerning faith and reasoning within the Proslogion contribute today toward resolving the ecumenical conflict that had developed between analogia entis and analogia fidei.

April Renée Lynch
Spirituality of Beauty in the Art of Artemisia Gentileschi and Elisabetta Sirani
Art and Religion
Arthur G. Holder (Coordinator); Wilson Yates; Todd P. Olson, University of California, Berkeley; Cecilia González-Andrieu, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles
Artemisia Gentileschi and Elisabetta Sirani, two widely acclaimed seventeenth-century painters, reveal in their works the seventeenth-century penchant for the heroic female.  Additionally, their paintings’ seeming coupling of contraries, beauty and violence, begs for an explication of these characteristics peculiar to the three painted images I study.  The subjects of the pictures are remarkable for their strength of character.  More importantly, Susanna of Babylon and Judith of Israel project a “spirituality of beauty,” inspiring observers to apprehend Divine Beauty.

Vincent Ricky Manalo, C.S.P.
Scope and Spectrum: Interpreting the Interrelationship of Sunday Eucharist and Practices of Everyday Worship
Liturgical Studies
Mary E. McGann, R.S.C.J. (Coordinator); Andrea Bieler; Peter C. Phan, Georgetown University; Ann Swidler, University of California, Berkeley
This dissertation examines the interrelationship between Sunday Eucharist and the many non-official worship practices that mark the everyday lives of individual Christians.  It explores this relationship from a theological, sociological, and ethnographic perspective and proposes how this dialectic affirms the centrality of divine initiative in liturgical worship and, hence, in liturgical-theological reflection.

Marilyn Lee Matevia
Casting a Net: Prospects Toward a Theory of Justice for All
Ethics and Social Theory
Carol Robb (Coordinator); Jerome P. Baggett; Steve Sapontzis, California State University, East Bay
The dominant Western view of justice as a “social contract” excludes animals from its protection because they are not considered to be rational participants.  This dissertation argues for a bio-centric, communitarian theory of justice enveloping a diverse and more-than-human moral community.  It considers the ideological shifts a bio-communitarian approach would require, and explores philosophical and theological resources for accomplishing it.

Mohamad Som Pourfarzaneh
Muslim Cultural Producers in the United States: Countering Stereotypes with Media+, Social Networks, and Cultural Capital
Cultural and Historical Studies of Religions
Munir Jiwa (Coordinator); Judith A. Berling; Hatem Bazian, University of California, Berkeley
This dissertation focuses on the work of Muslim cultural producers in the United States, paying particular attention to the ways in which they interact with the three processes of 1) relating to the Islamic tradition, 2) building new networks, and 3) representing Muslim communities.  It further examines the ways that Muslim cultural producers counter stereotypes about Islam and Muslims through their work. The thesis argues that Muslim cultural producers in the United States utilize cultural capital as a mechanism with which to counter stereotypes about Islam and Muslims.

Adam Pryor
The God Who Lives: An Examination of the Emergence of Life and the Doctrine of God
Systematic and Philosophical Theology
Robert J. Russell (Coordinator); Inese Radzins; Terrence Deacon, University of California, Berkeley; Wentzel Van Huyssteen, Princeton Theological Seminary
This dissertation examines the implications for new discoveries that an investigation into the emergence of life has for the Christian theological understanding of the religious symbol, “God is living.”  Focusing on the work of Terrence Deacon and Renaud Barabaras, the dissertation provides a synthesis of their respective works as “abstential desire.”  This constructive proposal develops the theological meaning of the religious symbol “God as living” in terms of the insights garnered from this principle.

Andrea Sheaffer
Envisioning Judith: Art Illuminates Minor Characters’ Significant Roles in the Book of Judith
Biblical Studies
Barbara Green, O.P. (Coordinator); John C. Endres, S.J.; Mia M. Mochizuki; Leslie Ross, Dominican University of California
This dissertation explores the roles and functions of minor characters in the Apocryphal Book of Judith and demonstrates that minor characters are salient in aiding Judith’s mission.  By combining both literary and art historical methodologies, visual art becomes an interpretive lens for the biblical narrative and illuminates that Judith alone did not save Israel from Assyrian threat.

Daniel Smith
Toward a Lutheran Theology of Nature: An Ecological Ethics of the Cross
Systematic and Philosophical Theology
Ted Peters (Coordinator); Michael J. Dodds, O.P.; Carol Jacobson; Richard Norgaard, University of California, Berkeley
This dissertation attempts to correlate the existential questions arising from the science of ecology with the symbols of Christian theology from a Lutheran perspective, making a case for why the church should go green. It concludes that God’s self-offering in the Incarnation of Christ invites Christians to offer themselves sacrificially to their fellow creatures as part of the wider community of creation.

Larry Taylor
Art Verging on the Religious: Threads of the Spirit in Minimalism and Beyond
Art and Religion
Michael T. Morris, O.P.  (Coordinator); Ronald Y. Nakasone; Peter H. Selz, University of California, Berkeley; J. Diane Pearson, University of California; Terrence E. Dempsey, St. Louis University
This dissertation probes the intersection of religion, spirituality, and minimal art. The research relies upon the historical record, philosophical aesthetics, and theological aesthetics in order to assert that threads of the spiritual can be found in minimal art and movements spawned by it: postminimalism, neominimalism, and earthworks.

Patricia Sullivan Vanni
Toward a Theology and Ethics of Dialogical Leadership in the Roman Catholic Church: An Operational Perspective
Interdisciplinary Studies
James A. Donahue (Coordinator); William McKinney; Judith A. Berling; Regina Wenzel Wolfe, Catholic Theological Union
This interdisciplinary dissertation explores the theological underpinnings for dialogical approaches to ecclesial leadership in the Roman Catholic Church.  Presenting a theology of dialogue drawn from the major documents on the Church produced at Vatican II, it weaves ecclesiology with liturgical theology, ethics, and organizational leadership theory to reveal opportunities and impediments to operationalizing system-wide approaches to collaborative leadership.


Master of Arts

Julia Bruce Barnes
Trauma and the Eucharist: Embodying Transformative Theologies
San Francisco Theological Seminary
Elizabeth Liebert, S.N.J.M. (Coordinator); Flora Keshgegian
Combining narrative and academic analysis, this project investigates how different theologies of the cross and the body influence our capacity to transform traumatic injury. Citing the Eucharist as ritual that has both theologies of the cross and body at its center, it explores the ways that the ritual might embody theologies of each that support transformation so that the Eucharist and Christian tradition might better realize their transformative potential.

Sean Michael Bisson-Donahue
Star Trek: Engaging the Shadow
Pacific School of Religion
Inese Radzins (Coordinator); Gabriella Lettini
This thesis analyzes Star Trek by employing Carl Gustav Jung’s theory of the unconscious shadow.  The shadow is the result of suppressing darker urges in the psyche.  Jung and Star Trek come together to illustrate how knowing one’s own shadow can lead to greater self-knowledge, and self-knowledge will, in the future that Star Trek prophesied, lead to greater species knowledge and unity among humanity.

Angela Botelho
Modern Marranism and the German-Jewish Experience: The Persistence of Jewish Identity in Conversion
Center for Jewish Studies
Naomi Sheindel Seidman (Coordinator); Deena Aranoff
This thesis sheds new light on the fluid boundaries of the German-Jewish experience in modernity.  Using the historical Marrano as paradigm, the thesis argues for a theory of modern Marranism, defined as a hybrid Jewish identity emerging from radical social disjuncture.  An examination of the selected literary texts from the nineteenth century onwards shows a persistence of Jewish identity in and despite conversion through memory preserved as narrative. 

Sara Brabec
Moral, Believing Atheists: A Sociological Analysis of the Cultural and Ethical Negotiations of U.S. American Atheists
Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University
Jerome P. Baggett (Coordinator); Lisa Fullam
To be human is to be believing and to live in a moral order.  Atheists are human.  Therefore, atheists are believing and live in moral orders.  Everyday American atheists rely on cultural tools, shared with both other atheists and the broader populace, to make sense of ethical questions and understand themselves as moral people.

Myra Jopie Capulong
Transnational Households and Catholic Social Teaching on the Family: Living Out Communion and Solidarity across Borders
Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology
Marianne Farina, C.S.C. (Coordinator); Jeffrey Mark Burns
This thesis examines transnational family realities in light of Catholic social teaching.  It asks whether it is possible for families who are geographically and temporally divided between nation-states to maintain the social vocation of the Christian family, which Catholic social teaching affirms to be intrinsic to the families’ nature.  Questions of communion, human dignity, and solidarity shape the discussion.

Clark Myers Chapman
Did He Become A Nazi?: An American Approach to Reformation Historiography as Seen Through the Letters and Early Publications of Harold J. Grimm
Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary
Jane E. Strohl (Coordinator); Christopher Ocker; Thomas A. Brady, Jr. University of California, Berkeley
American historian, Harold J. Grimm of Ohio State University, was able to step into the mad waters of the late 1940s among German academics while Luther’s historical picture reached new lows.  Grimm’s career reveals much about how America came to see the Reformation in the early twentieth-century and, more importantly, how the new super power influenced its postwar understanding.

Jeremy Curtis
“A Steward For Your Fellow Servants:” A Patristic Application to Current Religious Dialogue Through the Social Homilies of St. Basil of Caesarea
Church Divinity School of the Pacific
Daniel Joslyn-Siemiatkoski (Coordinator); Thomas Cattoi
The social homilies of St. Basil are valuable resources for contemporary discussions concerning economic justice in ecumenical and socio-political dialogue.  In his own culture, Basil redefined Greco-Roman philanthropy with a Christian sense of justice.  In the current climate of imbalanced global and domestic economies, churches can learn from Basil’s wisdom to challenge and change the present.

Megan M. Dagang
Reclaiming the Vocation of Marriage: A Contemporary Construction of Roman Catholic Marriage Theology
Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University
Anh Q. Tran, S.J. (Coordinator); Jay Emerson Johnson
This thesis presents a constructive theology of marriage in the Roman Catholic tradition by reclaiming older and unexplored images and symbols of marriage.  In viewing marriage as a vocation, the symbols of marriage as virtuous friendship, journey, and spiritual discipline develop an understanding of the spirituality, strength, and bond of marriage that is more resonant with contemporary society.

Erin K. Duffy
The Call to Embodiment: A Eucharistic Spirituality of Being, Breaking, and Becoming
Franciscan School of Theology
Mary McGann, R.S.C.J. (Coordinator); Mary Beth Ingham, C.S.J.
In Catholic spiritual practice, Eucharist is the site of integration of the humanity of everyday life with the divinity of Christ, the locus of being, breaking and becoming, where the faithful become the body of Christ in the world. It is a call to full embodiment – to embrace, celebrate and live the humanity and divinity of Christ in one’s own being and communal life.

Geoffrey Arthur Flaviani
The Piercing Verses in the Hebrew Bible: New Testament Readings, Rabbinic and Patristic Interpretations
Pacific School of Religion
Aaron Brody (Coordinator); Eugene M. Ludwig, O.F.M. Cap.
This thesis focused on the correlation of the Rabbis and the Church Fathers deriving their interpretations of the Messiah’s suffering based on the textual recension they preferred.  The thesis looked at the context of Psalm 22, Isaiah 53, and Zechariah 12 that spoke about the Messiah’s suffering, and then compared the Rabbinic and Patristic commentaries to understand where they differed with these chapters.

Merissa Nathan Gerson
Individual and Collective Inheritance of Trauma in Joshua Leviticus Divinations Bloom
Center for Jewish Studies
Naomi Sheindel Seidman (Coordinator); Deena Aranoff; Stefania Pandolfo, University of California, Berkeley
Examining themes of post-war intergenerational trauma and Jewish-American religions and cultural identity, Joshua Leviticus Divinations Bloom is a novel-in-progress.

Benjamin Griffin
The Eye by which We See, the Breath by which We Breathe: A Comparison of Meister Eckhart and Muhhiydin Ibn al-Arabi on the Immanence of God and the Perfection of Humanity
Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology
Christopher J. Renz, O.P. (Coordinator); Thomas Cattoi; Mahmoud Mustafa Ayoub, Hartford Seminary and Temple University
Comparing Meister Eckhart and Ibn al-Arabi’s conceptions of the Divine Logos’ manifestations, this thesis explores the lengths to which our language can grasp the Divine Presence within all things.  Although carefully considering the differences in how each mystic understands their respective faith’s figurehead, it is shown that through either the Muhammadan or the Christ-like exemplar, humanity finds its perfection in humble submission to the fact that we do not define God but that God defines us.

Emily Brook Harrison
Was Jesus Married? An Examination of Ancient Texts and Contemporary Scholarship
American Baptist Seminary of the West
Margaret McManus (Coordinator); Darleen Pryds
This thesis is a focused study of five extra-canonical manuscripts which provide a basis for contemporary scholars’ claims that a number of early Christian communities held the belief/tradition that a marriage relationship existed between Jesus of Nazareth and Mary Magdalene.  The manuscripts are: the Dialogue of the Savior, the Pistis Sophia (Book 4), the Gospel of Mary, the Gospel of Philip, and the recently-discovered fragment (in Coptic) that has been designated The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife (GosJesWife).

Joseph Hoover, S.J.
Emptiness and Beauty: Sunyata as Ground for a Christian Re-appropriation of Beauty
Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University
Thomas Cattoi (Coordinator); Scott A. Mitchell
For those formerly Christian Buddhists who may desire to find bridges back to their faith, or to practice both ways, “self-emptying” within Mahayana offers just such an access point.  Emptiness or sunyata in Buddhism parallels Christian self-emptying, or kenosis.  And it is kenosis that is the proper ground for the in-breaking of divine beauty and spiritual transformation.

Loretta Eleanore Johnson
Vatican II’s Dei Verbum: A New Style?
Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University
Thomas Cattoi (Coordinator); Paul Crowley, S.J., Santa Clara University
Does the dogmatic constitution of divine revelation show evidence of Jesuit historian John W. O’Malley’s argument for a change in church style? Does the document express the five essentials of the new style O’Malley describes? Like John W. O’Malley, this project explores the distinctive nature of Vatican II in conciliar history. The council document Dei Verbum is assessed through a hermeneutic of style and an appealing appraisal of “how” one council document expresses Church teaching is presented. The project informs future interpretation, reception, and readings of Dei Verbum. An assessment of style allows us to read Dei Verbum and receive the text as a living reality.

Alexander Kantner
The Invisible Robe: A Comparative Study of Lay and Priest Practice in the American Soto Zen Lineage of Shunryu Suzuki
Institute of Buddhist Studies
Scott A. Mitchell (Coordinator); Daijaku Judith Kinst
This thesis analyzes and compares lay and priest robes and the renegotiation of these categories in the American Soto Zen lineage of Shunryu Suzuki.  Focused on the development of lay practice and teaching, the thesis argues for the recognition of a new category of “lay priest” and the development of a more authentically monastic form of American Zen practice.

Miriam Kjellgren
The Limits of Utopia: A Levinasian Reading of Deuteronomy 7 in Modern Sweden
Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary
Steed Davidson (Coordinator); Barbara Green, O.P.; Gabriella Lettini
This intercontextual reading of Deuteronomy 7 and modern Sweden with a Levinasian hermeneutic of the Other argues that ideas of sameness are at the core of exclusionary communities.  The main voice of Deuteronomy 7 envisions a community dependent on internal unity and sharp limits against other peoples, but a Levinasian reading traces the resistance within the text against this vision.  This reading is illustrated by – and illuminating for – modern conversations about “us” and “them.”

Erin G. Levy
Merry Meet and Mozel Tov!: The Construction of Judeo-Paganism
Pacific School of Religion
James F. Lawrence (Coordinator); Aaron Brody
Judeo-Paganism is a sound and diverse new religious movement, integrating aspects of both Judaism and Paganism to create a singular hybrid practice and identity. This thesis illustrates how Judeo-Paganism has a firm grounding in the history, practices and theology of both its source traditions, and drawing elements from these, weaves them together in a process of creativity, imagination and thought, which transform them into something united and new.

William Mains
Contemplative Created Co-creators: Transformational Leadership for a Culture of Sustainability
Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary
Ted Peters (Coordinator); Lisa Fullam; Kirk O. Hanson, Santa Clara University
Humans are to “live in hope” of the New Creation and “anticipate this omega” by orienting our individual lives and our collective culture toward reunification with God.  Even if human progress cannot without God’s grace, establish the New Creation, we can anticipate it by establishing a global unity characterized by sustainability, justice, and participation.

Alexander Marcus
Redemption in Exile: Oral Torah in Nahmanides’ Vikvah
Center for Jewish Studies
Deena Aranoff (Coordinator); Daniel Joslyn-Siemiatkoski
This exploration of the role of post-biblical rabbinic literature in Nahmanides’ account of his participation in the Barcelona Disputation of 1263 argues that the rabbi deployed rabbinic passages to highlight differences in Jewish and Christian hermeneutics and conceptions of redemption. Further, the thesis argues that he utilized these passages to help construct a Jewish identity in distinction to, and in negotiation with, his Christian opponents.

Hannah M. Mecaskey
Towards a Christian Embrace of Judaism after the Shoah: a Catholic Re-articulation of Christ in Light of Paul’s Theory of Covenant
Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology
Barbara Green, O.P. (Coordinator); Daniel Joslyn-Siemiatkoski; Eugene M. Ludwig, O.F.M. Cap.
Christian history since the time of Paul has struggled with the problem of anti-Judaism.  Unfortunately, it took a horrific event like the Jewish Shoah (better known as the Holocaust) to raise Christian awareness of this deep-seated hatred of God’s first chosen people.  Arguing from Paul’s theory of atonement in Romans 3, this thesis asserts that because of Christ’s paternity in Abraham, there is a way for Christians and Jews to understand each other within the same covenant of redemption.

Elba Morataya
Toward An Alternative Evangelical Abstinence Theology: An Exploration in Critical Deconstruction and Inclusion
Pacific School of Religion
Inese Radzins (Coordinator); Jay Emerson Johnson
This thesis explores the evangelical landscape of issues about sex and sexuality.  The thesis follows the history of sex and marriage from Augustine to Luther, to a modern day evangelical alignment with western “traditional” gender roles and marriage.  It also explores evangelical notions of purity and offers an alternative way of speaking about purity and sexuality (especially for single persons) in the church.

Jillian Morrison
Re-Presenting Representation: The First Things Towards Theological Aesthetics
Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology
Anselm Ramelow, O.P. (Coordinator); Mia M. Mochizuki
Religious experience demonstrates that aesthetic engagement through icons, liturgical experience, and often through works of art that are not explicitly designated as “religious,” serve as a reminder of the continuous presence of the Incarnation. In an attempt to provide a more subjectively based account of aesthetic experience and counter the objectivist ideal of beauty, eighteenth-century thought produced the idea of disinterested contemplation as a subjective condition of aesthetic response. It would initially seem that Theological Aesthetics is faced with an impossible task. This thesis takes a step back to examine the very first things that indicate religious aesthetic engagement.

Sarah Nimmo
A Continuing Vision Of Horticultural Therapy: Placing Family Systems Therapy and Permaculture in Dialogue
Pacific School of Religion
Horace Griffin (Coordinator); Andrea Bieler
By placing Family Systems Therapy in dialogue with Permaculture we find many parallels and intersections that can deepen our understanding of communication patterns within family systems.  This thesis explores these parallels and intersections in the light of Horticultural Therapy and proposes therapeutic horticultural activities that can be incorporated into the therapy session.

Edward Novis
Within Implicit Being: The Mediation of Subject and Substance in G.W.F. Hegel and St. Maximus the Confessor through the French Hegelians
Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology
Anselm Ramelow, O.P. (Coordinator); Thomas Cattoi; Nikitas Lulias
Since Descartes, the question of the interaction between mind and body has been a central focus in modern philosophy. Hegel attempts to mediate the mind and body through an idealist reduction of particularity to universality. The question to be investigated in this thesis is how does this reduction affect the particular, not only ontologically, but also anthropologically? Furthermore, how does this reduction deepen in Hegel’s French exegetes and can St. Maximus enter into dialogue with this issue?

Talitha Given Phillips
She Shall Be Saved By Childbearing: Silencing Women with Medical Arguments
San Francisco Theological Seminary
Annette Weissenrieder (Coordinator); David Balch
Ancient medical texts show us that celibate women’s bodies were seen as medically unhealthy and socially dangerous, and childbearing was the only remedy.  The author of the Pastoral Epistles relies on this knowledge as he builds a case for female disempowerment, directing women to take a socially conservative role to benefit the Christian community and advance their own salvation.

Jennifer Read
Rewriting Sarah
Center for Jewish Studies
Naomi Sheindel Seidman (Coordinator); Deena Aranoff
This thesis examines how Jewish literature writes Sarah into the story of the Akedah in light of her absence from the biblical account.  It does this through readings of Rabbinic Midrash, the Hebrew crusade chronicles, and the Tsenerene and tkhines.

R. Anthony Rodgers
Authority In Providing Care: Hospital Chaplaincy From a Theravāda Buddhist Perspective
Institute of Buddhist Studies
Daijaku Kinst (Coordinator); Darleen Pryds
How we interact with individuals and institutions is influenced by perceived or real differences in authority.  Chaplains can improve their ability to participate in medical institutions and their capacity to effectively relate to others by considering the complex dynamics of authority.  This thesis draws on secondary literature and interviews of care-givers and educators, and proposes a framework for handling authority skillfully.

Katelyn Erin Roedner
Development as Human Flourishing: The Capabilities Approach and the World Bank
Pacific School of Religion
Randall Miller (Coordinator); Carol S. Robb; James Grandison
This paper contends that Martha Nussbaum’s human capabilities approach is a necessary supplement to World Bank lending practices.  Instead of addressing primarily economic growth, the Bank’s development work would be more effective and just if it also focused on human flourishing.  Analyses of the Bank and the capabilities approach are presented, along with case studies illustrating the current and potential benefits of the approach.

Tyler Sampson
Ritualized Baptismal Memory: Early Medieval Vespers in Milan and Rome
Church Divinity School of the Pacific
Lizette Larson-Miller (Coordinator); Louis Weil; Gary Macy, Santa Clara University
This thesis examines the connections between the vesperal liturgies and the rites of Christian initiation in early medieval Milan and Rome. By examining the liturgy of Vespers, both textually and ritually, taking into consideration the architectural spaces, and placing them in their cultural context, this thesis demonstrates how Vespers functioned as a form of ritualized mystagogy.

J. Amanda Schaffer
Beeswax Anatomical Ex-Votos: Miraculous Oblation in the Middle Ages
Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology
Michael T. Morris, O.P. (Coordinator); Rossitza Schroeder
This thesis examines beeswax anatomical ex-votos that were offered by pilgrims at shrines during the Middle Ages.  The body part shapes corresponded to votaries’ illnesses and served as intercessors to saints’ thaumaturgy.  The thesis argues that beeswax ex-votos exhibited miraculous healing agency and their “spiritual medicine” of oblation at sacred sites triumphed over traditional medicine used for physical restoration.

Michael Ashur Slaker
The ‘Exposition of the Book of the Psalms of the Blessed David’ by Rabban Dinkha, an Early Ninth Century Exegete of the Church of the East: English Translation and Study
Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University
Jean-François Racine (Coordinator); John C. Endres, S.J.; Paul-Hubert Poirier, Université Laval (Québec)
“The ‘Exposition of the Book of the Psalms of the Blessed David’ by Rabban Dinkha, an Early Ninth Century Exegete of the Church of the East” provides a first-time English translation of Book I of the manuscript.  Introductory and Analysis sections go on to give a general characterization of the work as well as of the monk’s exegetical style.  A lengthy presentation is also offered which discusses the exegetical method of the Church of the East as a whole, as proliferated by the School of Edessa and of Nisibis, as well as the rich monastic tradition of the Church of the East of which Rabban Dinkha was part.

Sarah Stribling
Scorsese and Scapegoats: Redemptive Violence in Taxi Driver
Pacific School of Religion
Devin Phillip Zuber (Coordinator); Michael T. Morris, O.P.
This discussion explores the “Catholic” (as distinct from the more broad “Christian”) influence present in Martin Scorsese’s 1976 film Taxi Driver, especially regarding violence as a means to redeem the protagonist from perceived societal injustice.  Using Rene Girard’s mimetic theory of desire and concept of generative scapegoating, the thesis argues that the violence in this film reveals the truly horrific nature of violence and thus, has the potential to transform audiences’ understanding and ethics regarding systematic violence.

David Sylvester
Unfinished Teshuvah: A Spiritual Journey into the Sacred Margins of Identity to Heal Christian Anti-Judaism and Anti-Semitism
Center for Jewish Studies
Deena Aranoff  (Coordinator); Thomas Cattoi; Daniel Joslyn-Siemiatkoski
The worldwide Christian community has fallen short of completing its post-Holocaust obligation to purge anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism from Christian doctrine and tradition.  This thesis proposes that Christians encounter Judaism and the Jewish people through a spiritual encounter rather than through theological concepts by participating in Jewish liturgy and yeshiva study.

Anna Max Thornton
(Re-)Writing the Word of God: The Johannine Logos and Digital Textuality
Pacific School of Religion
Inese Radzins (Coordinator); Jay Emerson Johnson
Read deconstructively, John’s Gospel witnesses the Logos as a participatory textual space beyond either speech or writing. Digital textuality instantiates this deconstructive, interactive textual space, and the participatory culture of internet fanwork provides one model for creative, constructive participation in John’s Gospel text.

Elizabeth Tichenor
Lessons from Camp to Transform the Church: Faith Formation in Tune with Young People
Church Divinity School of the Pacific
Susanna J. Singer (Coordinator); Jerome P. Baggett
This thesis explores how summer camp ministries are effective in young people’s faith formation.  Using participant observation, interviews with counselors and staff, and social and developmental theory, the thesis concludes that the camp’s facilitation of deep relationships, independence, and identity creation are keys to its success.  Finally, this work explores ways that these best practices could be incorporated into more traditional congregations.

James Whipple
Reviving The Heart: The Heart, Knowledge, and Spiritual Transformation in Al-Ghazālī’s Revival of the Religious Sciences
Center for Islamic Studies
Munir Jiwa (Coordinator); Marianne Farina, C.S.C.
This thesis examines Ghazālī’s moral theology and offers proposals for moral-spiritual transformation and illumination .  The thesis focuses on Ghazālī’s discussion of knowledge, the relationship of knowledge to virtue in transformation, and the type of knowledge that necessarily transforms the heart.  The thesis examines three central questions:  what is the spiritual heart, what is the knowledge that transforms the heart, and what is the method of attaining this transformation.

Hun-Cho Yu
Jürgen Moltmann’s Eschatological Theodicy as Complementary to John Hick’s Soul-Making Theodicy
San Francisco Theological Seminary
Gregory A. Love (Coordinator); Ted Peters
This thesis aims to show the appropriateness and the necessity of eschatology as a solution to the issue of theodicy by examining Hick’s and Moltmann’s eschatological aspects in their theodicies.  At the same time, it discloses the fact that the foundation of eschatology is only the event of Jesus Christ as the event of the triune God by paying attention to the differences between Hick and Moltmann.


Master of Arts with a Concentration in Biblical Languages

Adam Christopher Stebbins
Jesuit School of Theology at Santa Clara University
John C. Endres, S.J. (Coordinator); Aaron Brody
Biblical Hebrew (Primary); Biblical Greek (Secondary); German (Modern Language)

Simon Yoo
Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology
Barbara Green, O.P. (Coordinator); Jean-Francois Racine
Biblical Hebrew (Primary); Biblical Greek (Secondary); French (Modern Language)