Theology and literature have gone hand in hand in Sewanee naturally but informally for well over a century. With that longstanding relationship and history, it is a gift to know that a master’s degree with a concentration in theology and literature will now officially bring the two disciplines together.
According to the Rev. Dr. Robert MacSwain, assistant professor of theology and Christian ethics, “The Anglican tradition has often expressed itself through literature, and this may be part of the historic reason for Sewanee’s excellence in both literature and theology. It’s now time for these deeply-rooted disciplines to start working together more closely here at the University of the South, which is what this program is all about.”
Drawing on the distinctive strengths of The School of Theology, The School of Letters, and faculty in the English Department of the College of Arts and Sciences, this new M.A. concentration is a flexible program that utilizes Sewanee’s unique ability to contribute to an internationally recognized and vibrant field of interdisciplinary inquiry.
John Grammer, professor of English and director of the Sewanee School of Letters, stated, “We’re delighted to have found a way to collaborate with our colleagues in The School of Theology. It’s a natural collaboration, not only because it reflects two historic strengths of Sewanee, but because our respective subjects, faith, and imagination, are themselves so closely intertwined. The program is sure to generate some very interesting intellectual cross-pollination.”
The core curriculum ensures an understanding of the biblical narrative and the approaches of modern biblical criticism, while allowing students ample freedom to take appropriate electives in both theology and literature.
Beginning and ending the program with two summers in The School of Letters allows students to complete their course-work in 14 months. Students consult with the program adviser to determine the specific shape of their degree, in light of their interests, and will pursue a related thesis project.
On Aug. 24, the School of Theology established a new M.A. with a concentration in Religion and Environment.