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Saint Bonaventure as Entrance to the Tradition

By Lance Green

When I first read St. Bonaventure for a class on the doctrine of God, I was committed to a particular brand of Lutheranism with little fondness for metaphysics or participatory language. I was especially wary of any concept of the Tradition as a theological guide. But persistently nagging questions pertaining to the relationship between scripture, the creeds, and the theological-logic behind their formulations left me open to new ideas. St. Bonaventure was the catalyst for shifting my theological paradigm.

I was not looking to abandon the tradition I was baptized into. Luther’s maxim “crux sola est nostra theologia” was chiseled into my bones. Approaches to theology that did not rigorously cling to the cross at every turn were of no interest to me. Further, because I was formed by Lutheranism’s unequivocal commitment to the real presence of Christ in the eucharist and the efficacy of the sacraments, anything that did not affirm a sacramental paradigm seemed like a dead end. In no way did I feel the need to react or respond to my Lutheran tutelage; rather, I wanted to broaden those themes that rang most true.

My first read through Itinerarium mentis in Deum and Breviloquium was all at once destabilizing and deeply comforting. Encountering a rendering of the mystical ascent that was so thoroughly christological and trinitarian resonated with my Lutheran sympathies, and challenged my assumption that participatory theologies too easily ignored the crucifixion.

In what follows, I briefly explicate the themes in St. Bonaventure’s writing that most deeply correspond to my Lutheran roots: the crucifixion and resurrection as the center of both theological reflection and the mystical ascent.

Oriented Toward the Cross

One of the most impressive pieces of St. Bonaventure’s theology is his careful structuring of themes. His theological method and key insights are often interwoven within the very structure of the work. Indeed, the structure of Breviloquium is as theologically rich as his systematic treatments of the Trinity, sin, or christology.

To be brief: Breviloquium‘s seven parts coincide with the story of creation, beginning with its very grounding in the Trinity and ending with completion and sabbath. This chiastic structure is common to St. Bonaventure’s other writing, with each individual section framing the Seraphic Doctor’s overarching commitment to a cruciform theology.

Part 1: The Trinity of God
Part 2: The creation of the world
Part 3: Corruption of sin
Part 4: The incarnation of the Word
Part 5: The grace of the Holy Spirit
Part 6: The medicine of the sacraments
Part 7: The completion of final judgment

Parts 1 and 7 correspond in that the Trinity is the ground of creaturely existence, while the final judgment offers creation its completion. Similarly, Parts 2 and 3 explore God’s creative act and the predicament of human sin, setting up the necessity of the incarnation and the cross. Parts 5 and 6 explicate the healing of humanity through Christ’s sending of the Spirit and the sacraments. Structurally and theologically, then, part 4 implies Christ is the unifying principle, the pinnacle of the Breviloquium. As Joshua Benson aptly states, for St. Bonaventure, “The incarnate Word is expansively unifying in both the text and reality. He is that through which the world comes to be, comes to fulfillment, and humanity is healed; he is that through which these actions of the Triune God are communicated in scripture and expressed theologically” (“The Christology of the Breviloquium,” in A Companion to Bonaventure, pp. 256-257).

In the same way that Part 4 serves as the pinnacle of Breviloquium‘s structural movement, so does St. Bonaventure’s treatment of Christ’s passion serve as the crescendo of Part 4. Christ is the mediating principle between extremes, which means the hypostatic union mediates the extremes of both human nature and God’s nature. Though Christ has the “righteousness and blessedness” of God and the “passions and mortality” of humanity, he does not assume sin’s “corrupting penalties” (i.e., ignorance, bodily infirmity, malice, and concupiscence). As fully human, Christ can share in humanity’s suffering and death despite his inherent innocence.

St. Bonaventure affirms that while the divine nature of Christ did not suffer, he did experience in his human nature “the most all-encompassing passion, for not only every part of his body was affected, but every power of his soul as well. He suffered a passion that was most bitter, for beside the enduring the agony of his wounds he bore the added anguish of grieving for our sins.” The suffering of Christ, however, not only fits the form of God’s chosen mode of restoring humanity, but mirrors the inherent orderliness of creation itself. Thus, “God ought to restore humanity in a way that respects not only our free choice, but also God’s own honor and the orderly function of the universe.” Christ’s painful and sacrificial death, because of his perfect innocence, exemplifies virtue for humanity. And yet, his suffering and death satisfies humanity’s disobedience since there is no “better way to restore that honor [that is God’s] than through humiliation and obedience by one who was not bound to render it.”

That redemption comes with special attention to human agency and God’s honor fits with a larger harmony rooted in St. Bonaventure’s maxim, “contraries must be healed by their contraries.” Adam’s sin took a particular shape, spreading an infection to the rest of humanity that required a mirroring medicine. Adam eats from a tree and so Christ dies from one; the infection is universal and so Christ’s passion must equal the reach: lust healed by the bitterness of the passion, pride healed by the humiliation of the cross, and “as an antidote to a death deserved but unwilled, he chose to suffer a death underserved but freely willed.” Contrasting and restoring human death, then, is Christ’s divine nature. Since the human nature and body of Christ were united in the Word, the death suffered by the human nature “perishes to life.” “Thus,” St. Bonaventure states, “humankind has been freed from death and the cause of death by the most efficacious means: the merit of the death of Christ.”

In the last chapter of Part 4, St. Bonaventure explicates of the effects of Christ’s suffering, and how the redemptive passion and resurrection of Christ has a cosmological scope. His descent, ascension, and sending of the Spirit ground the virtues of faith, hope, and love. He preaches salvation in hell and leads the faithful beyond its broken doors into paradise. Ultimately, Christ’s purpose is to root our faith in the truth that he is both God and man, and seeks our redemption through his resurrection. But this purpose is complete only after a literal 36 hours in the grave to prove that he is truly dead. His ascension 40 days after his resurrection incites hope in the faithful for their future heavenly ends. And the Spirit that inflames love is sent 10 days later. All things are done in their proper time, reflecting a certain ‘fittingness’ to the passion, resurrection, ascension, and Pentecost.

Theology so beautifully structured, whose pinnacle is Christ’s death and resurrection, is compelling to nearly every form of Christianity. St. Bonaventure’s theological method not only cemented my own love for christologically-centered theology, but broadened my interpretation of how the cross functions effectively in our lives. That the mystical ascent could be interpreted through a similarly fitting cruciform logic was wholly new to me.

“Love this Death” and Mysticism

In Itinerarium mentis in Deum, St. Bonaventure carefully details the mystical ascent after meditating on St. Francis’ vision of the six-winged Seraph. Broken into three distinct meditations, the journey has six divisions, culminating in a seventh and final ecstatic union. Beginning by contemplating God through the created universe and sensual world, the journey moves to contemplating God with the rational faculties of the soul, both unredeemed and redeemed. The third division centers on contemplating God as Being and Trinity.

Christ serves as a motif throughout Itinerarium, but the resurrection intentionally bookends the whole work. St. Bonaventure explains that it is the cruciform love of God that so inspired St. Francis. And though the six-wing Seraph symbolizes the six steps of illumination leading to God, “no one rightly enters except through Christ crucified.” Readers are invited to pray “through Christ crucified, through whose blood we are cleansed from the filth of vice.” At the end of the journey, the prayerful are once again faced with the crucified Lord.

What I expected from the notion of ascent was intellectual hubris—finite humans grasping the Being of God and somehow mastering it to form a metaphysics that affirmed their presuppositions about the world. Instead I encountered the humiliation of the cross, the intellect passing over into the God, and a posture rooted solely in prayer. Citing Pseudo-Dionysius, St. Bonaventure writes:

But you, my friend, concerning mystical visions, with your journey more firmly determined, leave behind your sense and intellectual activities, sensible and invisible things, all nonbeing and being; and in this state of unknowing be restored, insofar as is possible, to unity with him who is above all essence and knowledge.

I had never considered that the apophatic discourse of the mystical ascent, found only through prayer, was grounded and brought to fruition by the same thing: Christ crucified. To be united with the God beyond all things means to orient ourselves to the cross, praying with St. Bonaventure:

Whoever loves this death can see God because it is true beyond doubt that man will not see me and live. Let us, then, die and enter into the darkness; let us impose silence upon our cares, our desires and our imaginings. With Christ crucified let us pass out of this world to the Father so that when the Father is shown to us, we may say with Philip: It is enough for us.


My unwillingness to charitably read many of the Church Fathers, mystics, or medieval theologians made me a poorer student of theology. Ignoring robust corners of the Tradition for so long only helped to solidify the blinders I wore. That there is a mystical theologian so concerned with emphasizing the cross helped to chip away at my presupposition. Reading St. Bonaventure ended up being an invitation to more carefully engage with the broader Tradition of the Church. Years after this first encounter, having now converted to the Orthodox Church, I can say that it was reading Breviloquium and Itinerarium mentis in Deum that began the process of broadening my horizons.

My intent, of course, is not to imply that St. Bonaventure is every Protestant’s gateway to Orthodoxy or the Catholic Church; rather, deeply cruciform mysticism expands on those themes that are fundamental to the early Reformers. Theologians committed to a charitable and eclectic reading of the Tradition may find a common ally in St. Bonaventure, perhaps leading to the broadened horizons for everyone willing to read, think, and pray along with the Seraphic Doctor.

* * *

Lance Green is a PhD student in systematic theology at the University of St. Andrews. Under the supervision of Prof Judith Wolfe, his graduate work focuses on the intersection between poetics and metaphysics. More broadly, Lance’s interests include Hans Urs von Balthasar, Eastern Orthodox theology, and questions related to the analogy of being.

This pieces was originally published by Eclectic Orthodoxy 

SST Meeting 2018

The annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Theology will soon arrive. We asked Dr. O’Donnell, an Executive Committee member of the SST, to share her thoughts on the upcoming meeting. For more information, visit

This April will see the gathering of the annual conference of the Society for the Study of Theology (SST) at the University of Nottingham, 9-11 April. The theme of this year’s conference is ‘Theology, Culture, and Unbelief’ with keynotes from Miroslav Volf (Yale Center for Faith and Culture), J. Kameron Carter (Duke Divinity School), Katie Edwards (Sheffield Institute for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies), and Julian Baggini (Philosopher and founder of The Philosophy Magazine). Alongside these outstanding speakers we will also be hearing from our President—Karen Kilby—in her presidential address, and Robert Beckford (Canterbury Christ Church University) will discuss his 2014 monograph Documentary as Exorcism: Resisting the Bewitchment of Colonial Christianity (London: Bloomsbury) on a panel with Carol Tomlin (University of Wolverhampton), Chris Shannahan (Centre for Trust, Peace, and Social Relations, Coventry University), and William Ackah (Birkbeck University of London).

This incredible line up of speakers and panelists will be joined by presenters of a wide variety of short papers on the conference theme on the Tuesday. This year we are also convening, for the first time, a special stream on Theology and Popular Culture. It’s not too late to propose a paper on the conference theme (deadline 29th Jan 2018). More information on how to do this, as well as an outline of the call for papers, can be found on our website at

The Wednesday of the SST conference is always an opportunity to hear papers on the seminar topics. These are theological papers not associated with the conference theme but with one of our regular seminars. These include Philosophical Theology, Christology, Sacramentality, and Ethics as well as a number of others. The deadline for papers is also the 29th Jan 2018 and more information on the call for seminar papers is available here

SST also features a call for posters on either the conference theme or other theological research with a £50 prize for the best poster. We are also pleased to offer a bursary fund to support postgraduate attendance at the conference. Again, more information about both of these can be found on our website pages, as can information about our mentoring scheme if you would like any guidance and support on proposing a paper.

I first came to SST as postgraduate student and found it to be a very welcoming and stimulating environment—I liked it so much I’ve been back every year since, and am now a member of the Executive Committee. It is a brilliant place to present your research and receive thoughtful and insightful feedback. It’s also a great opportunity to hear about the brilliant theological research that is happening across the world. The atmosphere is very friendly and the conference offers plenty of social time to enjoy catching up with old friends and making new ones—the onsite bar is always very popular for this! We look forward to welcoming you in Nottingham later this year. In the meantime you can keep up to date on conference news using #SST2018.


Karen O’Donnell, Research Fellow in Digital Theology & Pedagogy, CODEC Centre for Digital Theology, Durham University. SST Executive Committee member. @kmrodonnell

Welcome to the Roundel

The Roundel is the graduate blog of the School of Divinity’s Systematic & Historical Theology subject group. It is named after the Roundel, the distinctive 16th-century tower, overlooking St Andrews Cathedral, that houses the School of Divinity’s PhD workspaces.

The blog features career advice, info for incoming students, seminar recaps, research synopses, book reviews, and news from the School of Divinity. It is intended for current students, alumni, applicants, and those interested in academic theology.

Announcement of Prof. Dr. Christoph Schwöbel

The School is delighted to announce that Prof. Dr. Christoph Schwöbel will take the 1643 Chair in Divinity in September 2018. The chair fell vacant at Prof. John Webster’s death in 2015.

Prof. Schwöbel is presently Professor of Systematic Theology at the University of Tübingen, where he has been since 2004; prior to that he held the chair in Systematic Theology and Ecumenical Theology in Heidelberg. He is the author of six monographs and editor of twenty two academic volumes, and he has also published approximately two hundred articles in academic journals or scholarly essays in books.

Alongside his research publications, Prof. Schwöbel has served the academy and the church with great distinction through his career. He has served on many significant academic committees in Germany, and chaired the Wissenschaftlichen Gesellschaft für Theologie 2008-11. He has a particular commitment to engaging in dialogue with theologians from Asia, and is a founding member of the East-West Theological Forums. He has been editor of the Neue Zeitschrift für Systematische Theologie und Religionsphilosophie since 2007, and is on the editorial boards of several other leading journals.

In the ecclesial realm, Prof. Schwöbel’s contributions to ecumenical discussion in particular have been immense. He was a member of the Leuenberg Fellowship 1989-1994, and drafted its influential statement, ‘The Church of Jesus Christ’; and he co-chaired the Meissen Conference 2004-2010. More recently, he has been very influential in developing Christian-Muslim dialogue in Germany.

He will be joined in St Andrews by his wife Katrin Bosse, who will take an Associate Lectureship in the School, teaching in the areas of systematic theology and the theology of religions.

Head of School, Steve Holmes, said, ‘We are delighted to welcome Christoph and Katrin to the School, and greatly look forward to working with them over the next years. By any estimation Christoph is one of the leading systematic theologians in the world today, and his arrival in St Andrews continues and strengthens our commitment to being amongst the best in the world in that area. Katrin will help us in our ambition to develop new programmes in religious literacy, helping the School to respond to changes in the cultural context we serve.’

Enquiries from prospective doctoral students who would like to study with Prof. Schwöbel should be directed to the School postgraduate secretary. Prof. Schwoebel will also take a leading role in our MLitt in Systematic & Historical Theology, for which applications are now open.

Pastor or Theologian? Rejecting the False Dichotomy

Gerald Hiestand. Photo courtesy of CPT website.

This post is authored by Gerald Hiestand. Gerald is Senior Associate Pastor at Calvary Memorial Church in Chicago, Illinois, and co-founder and executive director of the Center for Pastor Theologians. He is the author and editor of numerous books, including The Pastor Theologian: Resurrecting an Ancient Vision (Zondervan), and Becoming a Pastor Theologians: New Possibilities for Church Leadership (IVP Academic). His most recent edited volume is Beauty, Order and Mystery: A Christian Vision of Human Sexuality (IVP Academic).

St. Mary’s College is grateful for its connections with the Center for Pastor Theologians. Dr. Scott Hafemann, Reader in New Testament at St. Mary’s, is a Senior Mentor at the Center. The following St. Mary’s graduates and current students are active participants in the Center’s fellowships: Dr. Tim Fox, Dr. Trygve Johnson, Dr. Mickey Klink, Dr. Joey Sherrard, and Matt Ketterling.

I’ve been asked to contribute an essay here in light of my work as executive director of the Center for Pastor Theologians—a network of broadly evangelical clergy committed to ongoing theological scholarship on behalf of the church. But in order to introduce the CPT, let me first say a word about the times in which we live.

There are Christians in every generation who rather forlornly assume that their generation, beyond any previous generation, has at last hit bottom. For my part, I’m not certain our generation is really any better or worse than the ones that have gone before. But I am certain that our generation faces intellectual challenges never before encountered by our forefathers in the faith. The waters we sail are uniquely choppy.

Questions related to human cloning, new definitions of marriage, gender reassignment, the advent of social media, computers in our pockets more powerful than what NASA used to put the first man on the moon, religious relativism juxtapositioned against militant Islam, an ever shrinking social and economic global community, an increasingly post-Christian western culture, the rise of the ‘new atheists’, global warming, and more. If ever there was an age that called for careful, theological, and intellectual leadership, it is surely our age.

In past generations, such leadership was primarily the domain of the Church’s bishops and pastors. But since the Enlightenment, the pastoral community has increasingly (and now almost universally) quit the field. The university professor has replaced the pastor as the assumed theological leader of the church. Pastors, we are told, care for people, preach sermons, visit the sick and provide spiritual counsel. Professors, on the other hand, stay above the fray so they can have time and space to think deeply and write penetratingly about the pressing intellectual questions of the day.

The primary problem with this division of labor, of course, is that pastors remain the theological leaders of the church, however much they might wish to delegate this responsibility to the academy.

The capacity of the people of God to think theologically and Christianly about immigration, ISIS, transgenderism, gay marriage, the possibilities and perils of social media, human cloning, and global warming, does not come from what the professors in the universities are saying, but from what their pastors are (or are not) saying. This is not to minimize the important work being done by academics in the universities and colleges. But the burden of leading the church theologically (with all the attending inevitable ethical implications) is a burden that rests squarely upon the shoulders of church’s pastors.

Theology, as a discipline, has the primary function of answering questions that the Church needs answering. The abdication by pastors of this responsibility has, in the main, resulted in a theologically anemic church, ill-equipped to face the brave new world in which we find ourselves. And insofar as post-Enlightenment theologians now reside almost exclusively in an academic social location, Christian theological reflection at the highest levels has tended to become ecclesially anemic, too often disconnected from the real concerns on the ground. We write deeply about interesting ideas, but we’ve forgotten why those ideas are, in the end, important.

But Christian theological reflection is meant to flourish within the ecclesial community precisely because it is the ecclesial community that theology is meant to serve. And it is the Church’s pastors who are tasked with thinking from within and for this community. The people of God will never rise above the theological leadership of her pastors, however theologically astute our Christian professors are in the academy.

Cue the Center for Pastor Theologians (CPT). The CPT is a broadly evangelical organization dedicated to recruiting, networking, and resourcing pastor theologians to provide faithful written, intellectual and theological leadership on behalf of the church, in light of the cultural challenges and opportunities of the late modern world.

The CPT operates with the guiding premise that pastors are indeed the theological leaders of the church, and that the pastoral community must once again self-consciously assume the burden of the Church’s intellectual and theological leadership. We at the CPT have in mind a vision of the pastor theologian that extends beyond pastors acting as mere theological middle-men—as though pastor theologians were simply pastors who translated academic theology into terms the laity can understand. Such a vision is helpful insofar as it goes, but sells short the vision of the pastor theologian in it most historic and robust conception. In every age, and most especially in ours, the Church needs pastors who not only translate theology, but who also construct theology. Or again, the Church needs pastors who are writing theology not just to their congregants, but to other ecclesially minded theologians and scholars (a genre of theological discourse that I have termed ‘ecclesial theology’, as distinct from academic theology). The Church needs pastors who operate at the highest intellectual levels, and who are able to tap deeply into the Church’s theological heritage and traditions, who are able to construct theological syntheses that answer the most pressing intellectual questions of the day. The Church needs pastors who do the kind of work done by previous generations of pastor theologians—pastors such as Irenaeus, Athanasius, Ambrose, Augustine, the Cappadocians—bishops all.

Not every pastor is called to the highest levels of the theological task, of course. Just like not every professor in the academy is a prolific writer and scholar. Some pastors will discharge their theological leadership solely in the context of a local congregation. Well and good. But the time has come for the emerging generation of ecclesial leaders to press into a new future (which is really just a return to our past) where the pastoral community once again considers itself—collectively—to be a body of theologians.

My congregation is the appropriate soil out of which my research projects have grown; their fears, concerns, doubts, joys, and sufferings inevitably become my own, shaping the questions I ask, the way I read Scripture and how I access the rich textual tradition of the church. The books and articles I write, while not always written directly to my congregation, always have my congregation in view. I have found few things more satisfying than seeing the fruit of my theological reflection winding its way into the lives of those whom I love and serve—bolstering faith, steadying weak knees, encouraging love for God and neighbor, and inspiring hope.

I’ll not pretend. Being a theologian in a local church is not for the faint of heart. I’ve been hacking away at it for a decade now, and it is not all rainbows and rose petals. Local churches very frequently lack the institutional infrastructure so crucial to the theologian’s task. Access to scholarly resources is often a challenge. The relational remove from a community of like-minded scholars can be isolating. And many congregants look with suspicion on a pastor who spends time reading and writing about things that congregants themselves don’t understand. But pressing through and beyond such obstacles is worth it. Being a productive theologian in a local church is indeed possible. It won’t look quite the same as being a theologian in the academy. (I’ve written about that here). But for those so called and gifted, I can’t think of a more fulfilling vocation.

For too long now those with intellectual and theological capacities have not considered the pastorate to be a viable vocational home for a theologian or scholar. This false choice has impoverished (indeed imperiled) the church. The nearly sixty fellows of the CPT are evidence that such a vision can succeed. Not every theologian is called to be a pastor. And not every pastor is called to be a theologian (in the most robust sense the term implies). But some pastors are called and gifted to be theologians, and some theologians are called and gifted to be pastors. If such is the reader of this essay, then reject the false division and embrace the historic vision of the pastor theologian.

Welcome to The Roundel

Welcome to The Roundel, the academic blog for systematic and historical theology at St. Mary’s College. The blog receives its name from the Roundel study space, an office complex provided to postgraduate researchers by St. Mary’s.

Picture of The Roundel Courtesy of Rebekah Earnshaw

Photo of The Roundel; Courtesy of Rebekah Earnshaw

We envision this blog as a place where we might share the conversations that we enjoy within our community with the broader academic world. In the coming weeks, we will provide book reviews, blog posts about current research topics, and summaries of our theology seminars.

Several people make this undertaking possible. Johannes Knecht and Alden McCray, two Ph.D. candidates in St. Mary’s, serve as our book review editors; Johannes focuses on works relevant to historical theology while Alden gives attention to systematic theology works. Rebekah Earnshaw, a third-year Ph.D. candidate, provides summaries of our theology seminars. Numerous staff, students, graduates, and friends of St. Mary’s will offer blog posts that detail their research interests or discuss current topics in the fields of systematic and historical theology.

Dr. Judith Wolfe has done excellent work designing the vast majority of this site and deserves special thanks. She also provides editorial guidance for Roundel blogposts. Dr. Timothy Baylor has contributed to the construction of this blog and also provides editorial guidance. I serve as managing editor and work to procure and upload blog content.

If you are interested in offering a contribution, do contact me. Please contact Johannes and Alden if you are interested in writing a book review.

With warm regards,
David Rathel

While you wait…

While we are bringing our blog online, we’ve collected some resources from the St Mary’s (that is, the St Andrews Divinity School’s) graduate community, especially for those applying for PhD studies and wanting to get a student’s perspective on the application & relocation process, life at St Mary’s College, etc.

Also have a look at our student profiles and, if you’d like, those of our friends in the Divinity School’s Institute of Theology, Imagination and the Arts for more information about being a graduate student at St Mary’s.


Dr Chris Brewer

Chris Brewer, a recent PhD graduate now working as Manager of Publishing and Strategic Partnerships at The Colossian Forum, kept a blog during his time at St Mary’s which is full of reflections and tips for new applicants and students. It stretches all the way from An Unofficial Graduate Welcome to Last Days as a Graduate Student, with tips on travel grants, conferences and other things in between. Though some of the details are now a little out of date (a Marks & Spencer and an Aldi have now joined the list of supermarkets in town, for example), it’s been full of useful information for those of us who’ve come to St Andrews more recently.

David Rathel

David Rathel

David Rathel, a current PhD candidate in St Mary’s, has maintained a research blog since arriving in Scotland in 2014. He posts writing and research tips and reviews tools that can assist PhD researchers. He has also written reflective pieces in which he discusses how his time in St Mary’s has developed him personally and professionally.


Rebekah Earnshaw

Rebekah Earnshaw, a current PhD candidate in St Mary’s, offers her assessment of life in the St Andrews community. She writes, “I left the sunny skies of Sydney, Australia, in September 2014 to pursue doctoral studies in St Andrews. At least, the community among students and faculty is warm here. Professors John Webster and, now, Mark Elliott have provided invaluable guidance as I’ve explored and grown in my research. The faculty in St Mary’s College are world class. My topic is ‘Creator and creation according to Calvin on Genesis’. I bring together theological and historical insights to illumine Calvin’s thought in this area from the relatively unexamined texts of his Genesis sermons in conversation with his commentary material. I will bring this to bear on contemporary questions within the doctrine of creation, to help us speak well of God and the world together. St Andrews provides excellent facilities and local opportunities. The post-graduate office space in the Roundel fosters a spirit of collegiality across our diverse school; there are disciplines such as systematic and analytic theology, biblical studies, theology and the arts, politics and world religions, and ethics, as well as students and faculty from around the world. The weekly seminars encourage thoughtful engagement with historical and contemporary theology and one another. Coffee hour is great 🙂 The quaint old grey town stands by the sea and nurtures a scholarly and reflective community of many faiths. (As well as just a few golf courses if you’re so inclined.) St Andrews has also opened the world to me. This year I’ve attended the UK Society for Reformation Studies annual conference in Cambridge, the Refo500 annual conference in Copenhagen, the ETS, SBL, and AAR annual meetings in San Antonio, Texas, and even the LA Theology conference is closer to St Andrews than it is to Sydney. Support and encouragement from the School of Divinity make this possible. The world comes to St Andrews, but then St Andrews allows me to go to the world. Studying at St Mary’s College, the school of divinity in St Andrews, has challenged and encouraged me both personally and professionally. I highly recommend it.”