The Jesuit Institute has announced that its visiting fellowship grant recipients are Steven J. Harris, an historian researching scientific practices of the early Jesuits, and Khaled Anatolios, a scholar of Patristic theology.
As visiting fellows, Harris and Anatolios each will receive a $37,000 stipend and on-campus residence for the 1999-2000 academic year. During their tenure, institute fellows study an issue or theme regarding the intersection of faith and culture, give two public lectures and conduct a seminar.
Harris has been a visiting assistant professor at Wellesley College since 1997. He also was the Dibner Assistant Professor in the History of Science at Brandeis University from 1991-97, and an assistant professor and assistant head tutor from 1988-91 at Harvard University.
The title of Harris' project is "Jesuit Science, 1540-1773: Representing Nature in the Age of Confession," which he plans to publish as a book. His premise is that the ability and incentive of early Jesuits to pursue the natural sciences stemmed from a combination of their overseas missions' information-gathering capabilities with information-disseminating resources of Jesuit colleges and universities.
Harris says the success of the Jesuits' foreign missions depended on their ability to train and assign trustworthy confreres who would be willing to work under instruction, and provide reliable reports of new lands, peoples and other phenomena. These in turn were utilized by Jesuit faculty teaching and writing on astronomy, geography, natural history, botany and other scientific areas.
Anatolios, a faculty member at the Weston School of Theology and St. Gregory's Melkite Seminary who holds a Boston College doctorate in theology, plans to work on an interpretation of the Patristic development of Trinitarian doctrine in the early Church. Viewing the doctrine as the "grammar" and "summary" of Christian faith, his project aims to show how it was developed through attempts to relate different aspects of the Christian experience into a coherent synthesis.
Anatolios' project would trace the doctrine's genesis as a function of major questions such as the identity of Jesus Christ, the relation between human language and divine being and the nature of doctrine. He said he sees his exploration as producing a series of "rules of discernment" that underlie Trinitarian doctrine and apply to various aspects of Christian experience.
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