Center for Philosophy of Religion 2021-2022 Fellows

Author: Claire Murphy

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Notre Dame's Center for Philosophy of Religion has announced their incoming research fellows for the 2021-2022 academic year, three of whom are scholars working in the history of philosophy. Their names and projects can be found below.

Amber L. Griffioen

Independent Scholar

Project: “(Un)becoming Selves: Exemplarist Narratives, Material Textuality, and Embodied Cognition in Late Medieval Women’s Religious Writing”

The role of narrative in self-understanding and -transformation has received renewed philosophical attention in recent years. Likewise, the significance of physical embodiment and orientation to human cognition has become a central topic of discussion in both the sciences and humanities. However, the intersections of narrativity, materiality, and embodied cognition have not been much explored in analytic philosophy of religion. Moreover, very little has been done on the theological implications of exemplarist narratives in medieval women’s religious writing and the role the body plays in these narratives. This project will attempt to fill these gaps in research by a) looking at the roles that the body played in the late medieval Dominican Sister-Books and other devotional literature from the Upper Rhine region, and b) exploring how these women’s material engagement with the books housing these narratives may have contributed to the very kinds of religious knowledge such texts aimed to cultivate.

Bio: In addition to her research on medieval Christian and Islamic mystagogical thought, Dr. Griffioen works on topics in philosophy of religion/analytic theology, medieval and early modern philosophy, practical and social philosophy, the ethics of belief, and philosophy of sport. Prior to her fellowship at the Center for Philosophy of Religion, she worked for ten years at the University of Konstanz in Germany, where she enjoys permanent residency. She has several forthcoming books and articles in the pipeline and is also currently working on topics surrounding the philosophy and theology of pregnancy and reproductive loss.

Dr. Griffioen's research

Jane Heath

Associate Professor, Department of Theology and Religion, Durham University

Project: Dr. Heath is working on a monograph length study of Clement of Alexandria and the cultivation of the judgement of taste.

Bio: After undergraduate studies in Classics and postgraduate research in Theology, Dr. Heath held lectureships in New Testament first at the University of Aberdeen, and later at Durham University, where she continues to work. Her research has spanned various aspects of Christian formation in the New Testament and early patristics, often with particular interests in the role of visuality and aesthetics.

Dr. Heath's research

Shlomo Zuckier

Simon and Ethel Flegg Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Jewish Studies, McGill University

Project: “Philosophy of Religion in Classical Rabbinic Theology”

Dr. Zuckier’s research project will bridge philosophy of religion and Jewish ancient and rabbinical writings. Over the course of this fellowship he will consider two related areas where rabbinic literature has a significant contribution to make to the philosophy of religion: divine will and atonement. He will present the rabbinic understanding of divine will that explains prayer as aligning the petitioner’s will to God, thereby shifting the relationship between the two parties. Regarding atonement, he will present an alternative to both the ransom theory and the moral exemplar theory, demonstrating – on the rabbinic view – the existence of a direct interaction between the atoning party and God.

Bio: Dr. Zuckier is a scholar of classical Judaism who also harbors philosophical and theological interests. After receiving a Ph.D. with distinction from Yale University in Religious Studies in 2020, he has served as the Flegg Postdoctoral Fellow in Hebrew Bible and Jewish Studies at McGill University. He previously studied for rabbinical ordination and post-ordination studies at Yeshiva University-RIETS. He has taught academic courses in normative ethics, Jewish thought, Hebrew Bible, and ancient Judaism at Yale, Yeshiva, and McGill University at the undergraduate and graduate levels. In addition, he has edited two volumes on contemporary Jewish thought, founded The Lehrhaus, served as a campus rabbi, and taught Talmud and Jewish thought for Drisha Institute, Bnot Sinai, The Tikvah Fund, and various synagogues and university campuses.

Dr. Zuckier's research