Scholars

Scholarships were awarded by the Foundation of St Matthias for the first time for the academic year starting in September/October 2016.

Please see below more information about the successful applicants:

JOHN MOON 

PhD in New Testament at Durham University.

£5,000 for the last 2 years (2018/2019 and 2019/2020) of his PhD.

“Throughout the history of the church, few texts have been more hotly debated than Romans 9—by Origen and the Valentinians, Augustine and Pelagius, Calvinists and Arminians, and even among interpreters today. Romans 9 is about whether or not God has broken his promise to bless Israel, and Paul’s answer to this is to define who exactly God’s chosen people are who would receive this blessing. But his answer has been controversial for many reasons. What does it say about predestination, the status of Israel as God’s chosen people (especially in a post-Holocaust age), and the very character of God? The weight of these issues and the density of Paul’s language have made the interpretation of Romans 9 particularly difficult.

My own approach to Romans 9 will involve three steps. First, a history of interpretation that seeks to explain both how and why interpreters have read the chapter the way they have. Second, a comparative analysis of Paul’s use of the patriarchs (Romans 9:6-9, Romans 4, Galatians 3, Galatians 4:21-31) as a way to clarify the crucial beginning of Paul’s argument in Romans 9, which, I will argue, influences the way the rest of the chapter is read. And third, a reading of Romans 9-11 in light of my reading of Romans 9:6-9.

As the influence of neo-Calvinism grows, my research hopes to provide teachers in the Church of England with a resource to think historically, exegetically, and theologically about one of the movement’s key texts, a text that has exerted a tremendous influence on the way many Christians have viewed God. Moreover, my research hopes to help those interested in Jewish-Christian dialogue to better understand how a first-century Jewish Christian was able to use the Jewish Scriptures to simultaneously define Christian identity and lay the foundations of hope for the Jewish nation.

CAROLINE LESEMANN-ELLIOTT

Master’s in Musicology at Royal Holloway

£5,000 for one academic year (2018-2019)

Caroline is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh. Originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan, she received the majority of her musical education in viola and violin through the youth programmes at the University of Michigan, as well as through the Huron High School Performing Arts program.  She first became interested in conducting through an elective course at the Indiana University Summer Music Clinic.  After deciding to do an academic degree at the University of Edinburgh, rather than  conservatoire, she recognised her true passion for understanding music as a social discipline, partly through experiences as a musical director.

Over her time as a Bachelor’s student, Caroline has studied conducting with Greg Batsleer and Russell Cowieson. She is currently the conducting intern with the Scottish Chamber Choir, under Iain McLarty. Caroline has conducted the Information Services Group Choir, New College Choir at the University of Edinburgh, the Royal Dick Veterinary School Orchestra, and served as Musical Director for Le Petit Verre Opera Production’s premiere production, Hansel and Gretel. She has also assisted as conductor with the Dalkeith Singers, the Edinburgh Practice Choir, the choir of Greyfriars Kirk, and the Edinburgh University Singers while they were on tour in Poland (alongside Dr. John Kitchen, MBE). In 2016, Caroline started a mixed voice choir called Voces Inauditae, an ensemble dedicated to the integration of lesser known composers into the world of choral music, with an emphasis on gender equality. At least half of each programme contain music by female composers. They also work to include composers from traditionally marginalised social groups, as well as giving up-and-coming composers the chance to premiere their work. The choir has had an extremely successful two years, and will be continuing on upon Caroline’s departure.

Come September, Caroline will be attending Royal Holloway for a Master’s in Musicology, thanks to financial support from both Royal Holloway and the St Matthias trust. She is specialising in feminist musicological approaches and sacred music by 16th and 17th century English women, both in Catholic and Protestant worship. This summer, she is undertaking fieldwork searching for sacred choral music by 16th and 17th century English nuns across England, Belgium, and Northern France, courtesy of the Friends of St. Cecilia’s Trust. She hopes to use the music she finds to challenge the narrative that English women did not write sacred music, and to add to the increasing amounts of sacred music by women across Europe being published in editions and anthologies for Anglican worship. Her goal is to oversee the establishment of equal representation of female composers on church music lists, both through the embrace of research into convent music-making in the 16th and 17th centuries and the embrace of active inclusion of female composers into every day services and concerts.

“Representation matters. Conscious programming sends a message. We don’t have to live in a society that refuses to acknowledge women’s accomplishments or include them in our histories. But it requires a change in mindset, and that’s something that takes time (and money) to do. I’m thrilled that the Church’s representatives are willing to allocate their time and money to that cause, and honoured to be a part of that journey.”

BEN THOMPSON 

Ben photo with kids

PhD in Old Testament Theology exploring the themes of pride and humility in the Old Testament, Queens University, Belfast.

£10,000 per year for up to 3 years from September 2016.

I am an ordained priest in the Church of England and was identified as a Potential Theological Educator during selection and training.  This provided funding for an MTh focussing on Old Testament Theology. I have come to the point where I believe that my ministerial vocation within the Church of England should involve a role as a Theological Educator with a particular focus on Old Testament studies, or more widely Biblical Studies and Biblical Theology. I have been persuaded that my academic and teaching gifts combined with my pastoral experience and gifts place a calling upon me to serve the Church through theological education.

I have chosen a topic for doctoral research which I believe will develop a breadth of skills and expertise suited to the role of a theological educator. The research will strengthen competencies in exegesis, in the original languages and in biblical theology, which are essential to helping the next generation correctly exegete the Scriptures. It will also likely lead to a deep reflection on the themes of pride and humility and their intersection with the issue of leadership which will have a significant impact on pastoral and ministerial theology.

I strongly believe that theological education is best done by those with ministerial experience and giftings, to ensure that the education is grounded in the reality of the contemporary world, and is delivered in a holistic, formative way.  My hope is therefore that I will be able to study part time alongside a continuing pioneer minister role,

Conversations with a range of people involved in pastoral ministry and theological education have highlighted that there is currently a real lack of pastoral training biblical scholars. There is a danger that at a time of growing biblical illiteracy and a societal rejection of Christendom, the Church may fail to have sufficient theological educators who can take on the responsibility of teaching and training church in the Scriptures to ensure that the increasingly complex pastoral and missional challenges we face are addressed with the theological resources given to us in Scripture. This qualification will immediately enable me to step into such a role.

Update Sept 2018:  In light of the studies that I have been able to undertake I have been asked to teach a course in Hebrew narrative to a class this year, including a number of Anglican Ordinands. I have also been asked to lead a study day for church ministers on the book of Jeremiah and its relevance to ministry in the contemporary world. It is encouraging to see how my hopes for the study are beginning to be fulfilled.

ENYA DOYLE

Enya Photo

PhD – Music and Theology, St John’s College, Durham University.

£10,000 per year for up to 3 years from September 2016.

This Is My Song: A Transdisciplinary Study of Gender (In)Equality in English Cathedral Music

Enya is a final-year doctoral student working with Bennett Zon in Music and Frances Clemson in Theology at Durham University. Her academic interests include links between music and theology, education, social justice, and gender, sex and sexuality. Reflecting this, Enya’s PhD triangulates gender theory, musicology and theology supported by information gathered from her own case studies (completed in 2017/2018) to probe gender inequality in English cathedral music. By exploring how the introduction of women has been seen to challenge the boundaries of official and valid worship, and by questioning patterns of theology that have been used to justify past male dominance and female subordination in Anglican cathedrals, Enya’s thesis acknowledges that religion is a vehicle through which tradition can be overthrown, and will attempt to refocus and illuminate the place of musical women and gender diverse individuals in the Cathedral setting presently and in the future. Some key themes, including leadership, space, and embodiment, will help to ascertain which dichotomies exist between practice and theory, the potential/actual impact on boys’ choirs and male musicians and the overall impact (real and imagined) on the English choral tradition and most importantly produce some suggestions of what can be done to diminish the divide between those who believe that gender parity in English cathedral music should be the norm (the majority) and those who hold that gender parity has an adverse impact on the tradition.

Beyond her thesis, Enya has also taught on a variety of undergraduate modules in the Music Department and is hoping to become an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy by the end of 2018. She was Chair of Conference Committee for Church Music & Worship which took place in Durham in April 2018 and the York Conference on Church Music (Feb 2017). Enya has spoken at conferences in the UK and across the world including the First International Conference on Women’s Work in Music (Wales, Sept 2017), the Society for Christian Scholarship in Music Annual Conference (North Carolina, USA, Feb 2018) and the Gender Diversity in Music Making Conference (Melbourne, Australia, July 2018).  The rest of her time is divided between being Head of the Durham University Music Department Mentorship Scheme, a Resident Tutor at St John’s College, and Senior Pastoral Care for the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain.

DANIEL DENNIS

PhD in Education, The University of Cambridge

£5,000 per year for up to 3 years from September 2016.

Teachers of Religious Education deal with a myriad of sacred texts. As a result they are responsible for the difficult task of developing an understanding of what makes a valid hermeneutic position from which textual information can be engaged with and, within the students, become knowledge and understanding. There is, however, little existing research into the process of thinking which leads teachers to decide either on an appropriate hermeneutical stance (in relation to the text itself) or an appropriate mode for students to engage with it. As a result, students from both faith and non-faith schools often emerge from their studies with disorganised ideas about what religions actually teach.

To my mind, such a problem is rooted in the lack of clarity associated with the epistemic status of RE: the confusion of teachers in both faith and non-faith schools as to the nature of RE specific knowledge inhibits their ability to address questions of pedagogy with authority. The aim of my research, then, is to examine ways in which the religious “other” to promote the turning of RE-information into knowledge and understanding of religious beliefs and practices, both those pertinent to the students’ own faith and the faith of the religious “other”.

TIM MIDDLETON

Tim Photo

Postgraduate Diploma in Theology, University of Oxford (Harris Manchester College).

£10,000 for one academic year (from October 2016).

I initially read natural sciences at university and I have spent the last few years researching earthquakes in northern China. However, whilst studying science, I found that many of the metaphysical and existential questions I increasingly want to ask about the world—questions about truth, beauty, value, purpose, and the divine—are best explored not by scientists but by theologians.

Over recent years I have also been considering my vocation, including discussions with the clergy at my church and my college chaplain, and I have felt increasingly called to teaching – especially in higher education. In particular, I hope that in the future I might be able to lecture and tutor theology at a university or theological college.

In the long term my goal is to pursue an academic career at the interface between science and theology. In a world where utilitarian reasoning often dominates, a Christian theological outlook could provide an alternative purposive context for scientific endeavour: research on combating climate change, fighting disease, or developing artificial intelligence is arguably best thought about within the framework of a Christian vision of society.

The Postgraduate Diploma is an intensive taught course for people from other disciplines who want to pursue graduate study in theology. I intend to take papers in patristics, as well as modern theology and doctrine. The course also allows students to submit an extended essay in lieu of one of their papers. For this essay I would like to work on how various twentieth century theologians have viewed the role and purpose of science.