I have a Master of Arts in Classics, a Master of Theology in Church History, and a Ph.D. jointly in both fields. These facts alone will give you a clue about the person who’s writing the posts on this blog.
Primarily, I think of myself as a Classicist. The field of Classics is the study of the Graeco-Roman world, from as far back as archaeology will take us to c. A.D. 500. I have read lots of Latin and Greek texts and know a thing or two about ancient history and Classical civilisation. The Classical world is the foundation for all subsequent western thought, art, tradition, law, etc., and is well worth your time to learn about it. Read this post at my other blog: Classics for the Non-Classicist: 10 Books to Start.
Of course, I am more than a Classicist, considering the content on this blog (though there is You Should Read the Iliad). As a Classicist, my research took me in the direction Late Antiquity, and once there, I was drawn into the world of the Desert Fathers (my page on them here), the first Christian monks. This was combined with a true, deep, abiding love for Christ, stemming from a lifetime in the Anglican Church (chiefly the “charismatic” and “evangelical” elements thereof), which led me to spend a year in Cyprus, where I met the Orthodox and the Philokalia for the first time; and Richard Foster’s book Prayer that showed me a way of entering the Father’s embrace that drew upon the vast tradition of Christianity — Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, European, New World, African, Asian.
My Ph.D. dissertation is a study of the manuscript tradition of Pope St Leo the Great, a central figure to western Christology and canon law who helped engineer the Council of Chalcedon in 451 and whose teaching on the dual natures of Christ is officially embraced by the Church universal, Roman Catholic as well as Eastern Orthodox (but not the “Miaphysites” [Coptic & Ethiopian Orthodox, Syrian Orthodox, and Armenian Apostolic] or the “Nestorian” Church of the East), including all mainstream, Trinitarian Protestants (whether they realise it or not! – and, that is to say, not fringe/heretical movements that reject the Trinity).
And so I have been seeking to immerse myself more deeply in the Great Tradition ever since, drawing from the well that other believers have frequented for almost 2000 years, seeking the wisdom of the past in my Christian life just as I have sought it as a scholar. I am still Anglican (though I worship with the Presbyterians these days), still love the Bible, still love the Sacraments, still love hymns, still love charismata, and now also love high liturgy, hesychasm, incense, my rosary, the intricacies of ancient Trinitarian and Christological thought, and the Jesus Prayer.
I live in Scotland with my wife, a growing personal library, two kilts, and a collection of Playmobil Vikings.
I go by three initials (formerly by “Scholiast”) here out of a paranoia of mine. I am currently applying to Classics Departments, not Divinity Schools. Sometimes, people in the secular university have a bias against Christians, especially those of us who wear our faith on our sleeves — an often unacknowledged bias, in fact. My fear is that a hiring committee may unconsciously hold a bias against me if a Google search brings them to this blog.
Meum nomen verum Matthew est.
Come journey with me into the Great Tradition that beckons and calls, infused with the life of the sevenfold Spirit of God. May we join with the cherubim in their thrice-holy cry and hymn the Most Blessed and Most Glorious Trinity!