An ESR's experience of the first network-wide seminar in Kent

Karen Felter was one of the ESRs participating in the ITN's first network-wide seminar in Kent, England, in August. Click the link to read the short report on her experiences.

Our venue, the Canterbury Cathedral Lodge, was situated inside the cathedral precincts.

Origen and Augustine in Canterbury

Historic Canterbury provided the inspirational setting for the very first network-wide seminar of HHFDWC. All the PhD Fellows, their supervisors, and the representatives from the partner organizations gathered to get to know each other, network, and begin the discussion on the joint foundation for this project: Origen.

I must admit I was quite nervous. I did not know what to expect, so I had read “On First Principles” by Origen to warm up – but the classes I took on ancient church history felt far away, and my Greek definitely needed a brushing up. So I was very eager to meet my new colleagues, and to get a better understanding of the whole project.

It quickly became clear that the HHFDWC is a group of people with many different It quickly became clear that the HHFDWC is a group of people with many different  resources and ideas, which benefitted the discussions right from the beginning.  And so, the topic of Origen and Augustine was discussed from theological, philosophical, anthropological, historical, philological and sociological angles, which in a way underlined the point of bringing the two into dialogue with each other: the questions they pose are the same, but the outcomes are different. I particularly enjoyed the discussions on predetermination and freedom, voluntarism and intellectualism.

In between the interesting lectures, we had time to get to know each other. Being in the world of academics, you sometimes get the feeling that you’re all alone against the world. Academia seems to be a zero-sum game, where one person’s gain is equivalent to another’s loss. But in this project, we are encouraged to work together. We are not competitors, but collaborators. So even if my Greek has seen better days, now I know someone who can help me if I need it.

Although the scope of this project might at first glance seem overwhelming, the core of it is based on consistency in topics and a diversion in approaches, which provide a broad and solid foundation all the ESR’s right from the beginning. I left the seminar feeling motivated and ready to get started!

Karen Felter,
Project number 5