About Me

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I am a medievalist and an adjunct college instructor in the humanities at Union College. My research includes medieval theologies of history, text/image relationships in visionary and mystical texts, and the writings of the twelfth-century Doctor of the Church, St. Hildegard of Bingen. I am also a translator of medieval Latin and German texts, especially as relate to my research. My translation of Hildegard's Book of Divine Works is available from Catholic University of America Press here. I completed a Master's in Medieval Studies at the University of Notre Dame in 2010, a Fulbright Fellowship in Germany in 2008, and a B.A. in Classics and German at Boston College in 2007.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

In Memoriam

Gloria Byrd Ristow
(May 15, 1938-August 1, 2009)
The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
—I Corinthians 15:26
My grandmother faced many enemies in her life, and overcame each one. The most notable was the battle she fought so long against her own body, against Schleroderma, an enemy that took from her some of her fingers; that took from her the healthy breath of her lungs; that ultimately took from her her life. Yet she fought with all the weapons she had. The physical ones we humorously referred to as “puff, pump, and circumstance.”

Thursday, May 28, 2009

We’re Engaged!

I am very happy to announce that I and my girlfriend, Heather Eisler, are engaged. We were visiting my family in Colorado last weekend for my brother’s high school graduation, and on Sunday morning during the announcements at my home parish of St. Mary’s, I proposed and she accepted.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Divine Love as both Creative and Rational: The Theophany of Caritas in Hildegard of Bingen's Liber Divinorum Operum

“Love” today is often primarily understood to signify a passionate, sensual, or even creative feeling; when we think upon it further, we may discover deeper levels of connotation, but they still fall distinctly into the emotional, affective range—what we might call a “right-brained” conception of love rooted in the heart. This is the love that we often see at the center of human interaction, that indescribable and powerful connection that binds one human being to another—the love of neighbor enjoined in the Gospel. As Christians, we see the pinnacle of this Love expressed in the passion and death of Jesus on the Cross—an outpouring of Love in the most anguished moments of human pain and suffering, the humanity of Jesus in its sharpest and most brutal detail. On the other hand, we have the “first and great commandment” to love God with every fiber of our being—agape in Greek, caritas in Latin, from whence derives the English word “charity”. This is that Love that John identifies with God (1 John 4:16), whose pinnacle we also find in Jesus the Son of God, His Logos or Word. This is rational, intellectual Love—what we might call “left-brained” love rooted in the mind—and is often expressed by us in our love of learning, our “philosophy” or “Love of Wisdom.”