Congratulations and Welcome to New Ph.D. Students

Now that the campus visits are over, I want to take this time to congratulate again and to welcome into the Rice community three new Ph.D. students who will be moving to Houston this summer to begin work in the Bible and Beyond speciality. All three have given me permission to formally welcome them on this blog.
Welcome to Chad Day. Chad comes to Rice with a B.S. in Sociology and a M.A. in Religious Studies from UNC Charlotte. He wishes to study the Jesus movement, post-NT Jesus traditions, and the early church, with a particular orientation toward Judaism and its literatures, the Christian apocrypha and extra-canonical writings. He has an avid interest in "disciplinary border crossing" so is interested in continuing to foster his love for a range of methods and approaches to the field including postcolonical criticism, socio-rhetorical criticism, discourse analysis, and social theories (especially Bourdieu).

Welcome to Franklin Trammell. Franklin comes to Rice with a B.A. and M.A. in Religious Studies from UNC Charlotte. He has already written an impressive M.A. thesis (which I got to read parts of) reevaluating Q scholarship, particularly the layering of Q. He argues for a unified Q from the beginning. At Rice, he wishes to pursue another interest in the magical and mystical traditions in early Christianity. So I imagine that he will eventually be working in those alchemical texts that have yet to be fully translated as well as the traditional magical, hermetic, and gnostic materials. But he is aware that the mystical tradition already is emerging in Paul, so he will be studying the NT text from this perspective too.

Welcome to Claire Villarreal. Claire returns to Rice after an eight year hiatus during which she traveled abroad to Thailand, India, and Nepal studying and teaching meditation. She has a B.A. from Rice in Religious Studies and English. She wishes to become a comparativist, particularly in terms of mystical traditions within early Christianity and contemporaneous Buddhism. So Claire will not only be involved in the Bible and Beyond speciality, but also will be working intensely with Anne Klein who will guide her through the Buddhist materials.
I am extremely excited about working with each of these students, and inaugurating in the Fall the Rice Early Christianity Research Seminar, an on-going working seminar whose goal will be to thoroughly reconceptualize Christian Origins. To do this, we will take seriously all literature produced during the ante-Nicene period, archaeology, documentary literature, geography, indigenous populations, Jewish and Greco-Roman contexts. There will be no canonical boundaries. There will be no Christian apology. We will use both the web and traditional publication to share our progress. So stay tuned for that in the Fall.