dissertation acknowledgments


I received in the mail yesterday my diploma. It has called to mind happy memories of my graduate work, especially the many friends and colleagues and teachers and mentors who made my dissertation possible. In gratitude to them, I share here the acknowledgments I make in my dissertation.


In the course of a project such as a dissertation one incurs a great many debts. Though I can hardly repay those debts, I take a moment here to count them in joy and gratitude. I must thank first and above all my dissertation committee, whose attention to and flexibility with this project testifies to their own generosity of mind and spirit. To Corey Barnes, for your early intervention in the overall trajectory of the argument and your invaluable suggestions along the way. To Michael Magree, SJ, for the steady support you’ve offered me, in this dissertation and otherwise. To Jeremy Wilkins, for your sharp wit and sharper mind. And to Boyd Taylor Coolman, for doing exactly what a young doctoral student needs his advisor to do: sift through a mess of fuzzy ideas and ill-formed ambitions, and find amidst the sand and grit the nugget of an idea.

The theology department at Boston College has been a source of learning and companionship throughout my doctoral studies. Thanks especially to those whose wisdom and patience has bettered this project and my theological thinking: Prof. Brian Dunkle, SJ, Prof. Franklin Harkins, Prof. Kristin Heyer, Prof. David Hunter, Prof. Andrew Prevot, and Prof. Brian Robinette; and A.J. Holmes, Megan Hopkins, Zac Karanovich (and Lindsey, Ruthie, and Miri), John Kern, Kasey Kimball, Robin Landrith, Christopher McLaughlin (and Mara and Casiana), Noemí Palomares, Jordan Parro, Laurel Marshall Potter, Stephen Surh, and Nathan Wood-House (and Emily). Learning is never a solitary process (even if it sometimes requires a degree of solitude), and I am grateful to have learned in your company and under your tutelage: during class and colloquia, in reading groups and movie nights, at Moogy’s and family dinners.

Among the greatest joys of my time in Boston was living in the Barton House. I must thank especially John and Noemí, who first welcomed me to Barton; and those Bartonites who lived through the tribulations (and they were legion) of the covid-19 pandemic: Alice, Amelia, anna and Yael, Elli, Esther and Jacob, Grace, Kelly, Koleyatu, Laura, Laurel and Rachel, Linda, Rebecca and Rob, and Troy. To me you are more kin than housemates, more family than friends. I am the better—more myself—for having lived with you. Gracias por el pan.

I have friends outside of Boston, too. To Lizzie Giles, your own theological insight rivals that of many trained theologians (or, at least, this trained theologian). And to Matt Moran: I came into my own as a theologian in the course of, and in no small part thanks to, our friendship.

Thanks, too, to my families: to my in-laws, for never failing to ask about my work; to my brothers, for never allowing me to forget that there’s rather more to life than books and pens; to my parents, for never questioning my decision to seek a career in academic theology. And finally, to Jacqueline—if it is imitation of Christ that makes the Christian, I know no Christian like you.