25 May 2022Share
Faculty of Theology and Philosophy doctoral candidate Reverend Thomas Pietsch has won the North American Patristics Society Graduate Student Paper Prize.
Rev. Pietsch is writing his dissertation at Australian Catholic University on Cyril of Alexandria and his treatise De Adoratione et Cultu in Spiritu et Veritate.
Working within the Biblical and Early Christian research program in the Institute of Religion and Critical Inquiry (IRCI), Rev. Pietsch is completing his PhD under the supervision of Associate Professor Matthew Crawford, Associate Professor Michael Champion and Dr Jonathan Zecher.
Rev. Pietsch’s research centres on the writing of Cyril of Alexandria and his mammoth untranslated work De adoratione.
Running to more than 200,000 words, it was written in Greek in the early fifth century. Rev. Pietsch believes the work is significant because Cyril was one of the most important theologians in Christian history.
“In my PhD research, I’m seeking to argue for the centrality of worship in understanding De adoratione, and how for Cyril, true service of God encompasses both the liturgical and the ethical or practical,” he said.
“Some scholars have classified this work as an anti-Jewish polemic, but it is a constructive work which guides the reader in the Christian way of life.”
Rev. Pietsch said being recognized by the North American Patristics Society was an honour.
“My experience at ACU has been rich beyond expectations,” he said.
“My supervisors have been very active and engaged in my project from the very beginning. They have brought an acumen that has pushed me in all the right ways, while being models of generosity, wisdom and understanding.”
ACU Executive Dean of Theology and Philosophy Professor Dermot Nestor said the award was a significant achievement.
"This recognition of Tom's work not only testifies to the quality of his own research, but the outstanding support he receives from his supervisors and the University."
After studying economics and classics at Monash University and the University of Melbourne, Reverend Pietsch was ordained in 2010 and now lectures at Australian Lutheran College.
He completed his masters at Concordia Seminary, St Louis, writing on Augustine’s treatment of nature and grace and its reception today.
Previous awards include teaching commendations from the University of Divinity in 2019 and 2020. Reverend Pietsch is also the recipient of an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship.
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