A Shout-Out to Shout-Outs

One of the (very cool) benefits of working with top scholars is that you sometimes run across your name in print. Friends and peers have recently pointed out a couple such shout-outs, and I, in turn, wish to encourage you to check out these books, knowing first hand the excellence of their contents.

Splendid Wickeness MentionFirst is David Bentley Hart’s latest volume, a series of collected essays titled A Splendid Wickedness and Other Essays available from Eerdmans. I had the pleasure of serving as Dr. Hart’s research assistant during the 2014-2015 academic year and helped him assemble the essays included in this volume. As Phil Long notes in his recent review of Hart’s work, these essays cover a wide variety of topics, but very often relate back to important issues of theology and/or philosophy. Continue reading

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Discerning Witnesses

Apostolic FathersDiscerning Witnesses: First and Second Century Textual Studies in Christian Authority, the M.A. thesis that I wrote while at Wake Forest University, has been uploaded to my Academia.edu page. If you’re interested in reading more about the use of sources of authority (written, oral, etc) by early Christians like Clement of Rome and Ignatius of Antioch, and heretic Marcion of Sinope, this might be the thesis for you. I plan on expanding and expounding upon this work here and elsewhere in the future, but if you’re interested in the PDF monograph, I’d love to hear your thoughts on my work.

Reading Across Traditions | Journal Article

Journal of Comparative TheologyI’m happy to announce the recent publication of my article “Reading Across Traditions: Comparing the Theological Anthropologies of Ramanuja and Augustine of Hippo” in the Journal of Comparative Theology 5, 1. As the editors of JCT write,

The third article, “Reading Across Traditions: Comparing the Theological Anthropologies of Ramanuja and Augustine of Hippo”, by Jacob Prahlow, creatively juxtaposes two theological anthropologies, which, despite separation of time, space, and religious tradition, when read together create a fruitful comparison.

This article may be read online here. Additionally, I’ve linked the journal on the “Publications” page above. I want to offer a big ‘Thank You’ to Dr. Jay Ford of Wake Forest University for his assistance in the preparation of this article.

Christmas Letter 2014

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With Sam, Noah, and Madalyn at HillBilly Hideaway in NC

Merry Christmas from Jake and Hayley Prahlow! We hope that this missive finds you warm, well-fed (though not overly so, of course), and celebrating the joy of the Savior’s birth this December. 2014 has been another year of tremendous change for our family. Throughout everything that has happened this year, we have been reminded of our need to rely on the mercy of our gracious God and trust in Him, no matter where the path of life leads us. Continue reading

The Importance of (Liberal) Education

This article originally appeared at Conciliar Post.
Photo Courtesy of Richard Lee

Photo Courtesy of Richard Lee

Every year in America millions of dollars are spent on “education.”1 We have made K-12 schooling a priority, offered every child the chance at a high school diploma, and, more recently, emphasized the importance of a college degree. Yet despite this commitment of time, energy, and money not only are students falling behind internationally on test scores2 and graduating high school unprepared for college,3 but they are also often graduating college unprepared for their careers.4 This has lead many people to conclude that how Americans do education needs to change. Part of the solution to our education woes, I would suggest, is more precisely determining what is meant “education.” Continue reading

Reflections Upon a Move

Out with the old...

Out with the old…

It’s that time of the year again: time for school to start again after a few glorious months of fun, relaxation, and vacation time. Or at least, that’s how it used to be. In recent years, summer has meant work, as in, “Time to make money so you don’t die during the school year.” In addition to work, however, two of my past three summers have involved some a bit more time consuming (and expensive) than taking a vacation: moving.

Two years ago I left home, along with my wife a few months, and deposited myself in Winston-Salem (NC) in order to pursue a master’s degree in religion at Wake Forest University. While experiencing several long-distance moves whilst younger, there’s nothing quite like loading all of your worldly possessions (or at least those you don’t leave in boxes in your parents’ basement) into a car and moving twelve hours away from what has been your life.

We learned lots during our time in Winston-Salem. There were good times and bad times, fun experiences along with heartache, moments of celebration and periods of uncertainty and pain. We made some great friends and grew closer to extended family during our time in the South, and (I believe) emerged better, more balanced people as a result of our two years in North Carolina. Yet all good things must come to an end, and it was truly with a mix of sadness and expectation that we loaded up our moving truck last week (with the help of my brother Sam) and trekked some twelve hours west to Saint Louis, Missouri.

Twelve hours gives one lots of time to talk, and Hayley and I reflected upon our time in Winston-Salem during many of those hours. It was sad to leave yes, less for the place than the people whom we had grown to love. Friends from work and school will be sorely missed, though Facebook and (hopeful) return visits help dampen such pain. Having been born in North Carolina, there are family connections that will be missed as well. We began our time in Winston with one wedding of Hayley’s cousins and departed mere hours after another wedding, two bookends to some great times with family. Winston-Salem was, in many ways, the ideal place for Hayley and I to begin our life together, and we are thankful for all of the memories that were forged there.

... In with the new.

… In with the new.

Twelve hours in a moving truck also gives one lots of time to think, at least when one’s wife is napping. Moving offers opportunities. Chances to start fresh, forge new habits, meet new people, experience things not possible at the old place, form new friendship, and learn new lessons about life. There’s something exciting about moving to a new city to start a five-year journey to a PhD, complete with all the reading and research. it entails It will also be nice to be much closer to our immediate families – five hours is very (very) different than twelve.

But moving is challenging too. You have to learn where the grocery store is, figure out the place with the least expensive gas, navigate new traffic patterns and rush hours, find new internet service providers which are a pain to deal with (or is that just me?), find a new church family, and form a new community of friends. New jobs must be secured, new habits formed, and new experiences had, all of which can be rather daunting.

We are glad to be in Saint Louis safely, and excited to see what God has in store for us hear over the next several years. Thank you for journeying along with us here at Pursuing Veritas.

Reflections on an MA

“A man who has been many places is not likely to be deceived by the local errors of his native village: the scholar has lived in many times and is therefore in some degree immune from the great cataract of nonsense that pours from the press and the microphone of his own age.” –C.S. Lewis
WFU Graduation

WFU Graduation

Monday marked the official completion of my Master of Art’s degree from Wake Forest University. It has been a long and interesting two years here in Winston-Salem (NC), two years of learning and joy mixed with heartbreak, pain, and uncertainty. Hayley and I have developed many good friendships while here in the South, grown together in our marriage, and learned much about balancing life, work, and education. While challenging at times, my time in the Wake Forest Religion Department was highly informative, and my work in the WFU Classics Department learning Greek and Latin was a blast (despite the long hours and frequent lack of sleep). Engagement with the perspectives of my colleagues and professors has been a formative experience that (I hope) has improved me as a person and as a scholar. Hayley and I have enjoyed having the time and freedom to enjoy each other’s company, to take long walks together, and to share the ‘Church Search’ experience with each other. We’ve been very blessed in doing life together here in North Carolina.

That said, we’ve also had some experiences which were not nearly as pleasant: the pain of church leadership devoted to their own agenda’s, the physical and mental anguish of an unknown health problem, and the uncertainty of what future schooling might involve. Nearly two years ago when planning the move to Winston-Salem, we purposed to make these years a challenge of sorts, seeking to experience life (married life, specifically) ‘on our own.’ There have been times when we felt this choice was a mistake. Our newly-married naiveté played into the church situation, though the developments in our own lives as a result of our Church Search have provided something of a silver lining to that pain. Hayley’s ongoing healthcare battle continues to weigh upon us both, though through a dear friend God has provided a doctor who is both professional and proficient. And despite months of uncertainty regarding where we were headed after Wake Forest and what we would be doing, we did finally receive guidance to our next stop in St. Louis. Continue reading

On Launching a New Blog

VeritasThis week marks two momentous occasions: first, the completion of my Master of Arts degree from Wake Forest University. And second, the launching of this new blog, Pursuing Veritas.

Pursuing Veritas is a blog dedicated to reflecting upon theological, historical, and cultural topics from the perspective of a follower of Jesus Christ who lives in this post-Christian and postmodern world. The reflections offered here do not pretend to always be correct or to encapsulate the fullness of truth. Rather, this is an outlet for critical thinking and contextual reflection as a means to pursue the Truth, most fully revealed in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

Posts at Pursuing Veritas presume that while truth may be contextual, difficult to find, and contested, there are truths accessible to those who seek them. This is in tension with those who claim to have the totality of truth, who suggest that truth may only be discovered scientifically, or those who ague that universal truths do not exist. Building upon the foundations of the historical Christian Church, handed down through the scriptures, Apostles and Nicene creeds, and people of God, the operating worldview of this blog affirms that God calls those who follow Him to actively Love Him and those in the world; to be constantly Learning about faith (theology), history, and culture; and to Live a life of sacrifice, love of others, and just commitment to a historically and contextually informed understanding of the truth.

Now those of you who know me know that I’m not often in favor of new things for the sake of new things. Rather, I prefer trying something new only after the old has been demonstrated to be beyond reasonable repair. This was certainly the case with Thoughts on Life, Faith, and Worldviews, my previous blog hosted by blogger. After playing around with the WordPress interface for several months, I made the difficult decision to begin my blogging anew. This summer of transition, when Hayley and I will be ending our time in North Carolina and beginning our journey in St. Louis, seemed like the perfect time to work on this project. For those of you familiar with my work at Thoughts on Life, I envision Pursuing Veritas as something of a continuation– in fact, a number of previously posted articles are being reworked for relaunch here.

As I noted above, I do not pretend to have all the answers– that’s why this blog is a “pursuing” endeavor. But I do believe that with hard work, serious reflection, and a commitment to critical thinking, human beings are able to find truth– hence the “veritas” portion of this project. As the subheading designates, the topics I will try to focus on here will be those connected with theology, history, and culture (though I warn that I conceive of theology and culture as highly inclusive categories). I hope that you will consider joining me on this journey of pursuing veritas, wherever it may be found.