Grad theology students present papers at annual colloqium


On Monday night, graduate theology students gathered in the Gentile Gallery to celebrate their fellow students’ academic achievement at the 10th Annual MA Theology Colloquium.

The night began with a pizza dinner and fellowship as students and faculty took this time to relax and get to know each other. Professor Stephen Hildebrand, director of the theology graduate program, opened the evening with a meal prayer. Dinner was intended to go on for an hour and a half, but the students were too excited to wait for their friends’ papers, so popular consensus cut dinnertime down by a half-hour.

The graduate students presenting were Beth Zagrobelny, Rachel Fox and Kyle Gibson.

Zagrobelny’s paper was titled “A Uniquely Feminine Act: A Ethical Assessment of Maternal-Elective Cesarean Deliveries” and covered the issue of Caesarian Delivery upon Maternal Request (CDMR). She reviewed several articles offering different opinions on the matter of mothers requesting C-section delivery without there being any real medical need. Her concluding opinion combined ideas from some of those articles and John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, showing how a rise in CDMR shows a lack of respect for the body and the reproductive cycle.

Fox delved into the field of Scripture study. Her paper was titled “Baptismal Imagery in the Song of Songs According to the Early Church Fathers.” This paper covered five early Fathers of the Church: St. Cyprian, Origen, St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. Ambrose, and St. Augustine, and their exegeses of Song of Songs and what that added to their theology of baptism. Much of the study was focused on how the Fathers connected the bridal and marital imagery with the baptized and the Church. A common was the spousal imagery being used to describe the relationship between Christ and His Church.

Gibson presented his paper, “A New Exodus Ecclesiology for the Gospel of Mark.” He examined the link between Old and New Testaments in Mark and how the Eucharist was the central theme of Mark’s ecclesiology. He explained specific hermeneutics for interpreting the Gospel of Mark.

After the presentations and a brief question period, all of the students reconvened for night prayer led by Hildebrand.

The night was a great opportunity for students to gather and share knowledge.

“As graduate students, much of the learning we do comes from sharing our research with one another,” said graduate student Amber Zelley. “Tonight was a good opportunity to hear about papers from fellow students in other classes.”

Faculty members also gain much from the Colloquium.

“The night of the colloquium is very rewarding for the students, but also for the faculty to witness the fruit of their labor and to see them grow scholarly,” said Dr. Hildebrand.

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