Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Antiquitopia's Five Year Blog-o-versary

Today (June 13) marks five years that I have been blogging.  My inaugural post marked the beginning of my dissertation writing--in June of 2007 I would have been working on my proposal.  2007 was an interesting year.  I went to Italy, and now realizing that it has been five years think I should go back soon!  In the fall of 2007 I met my wife.  Much has changed over the years.  Last year my academic adviser, Alan Segal, passed away.  He saw me to completion, but will never see the book that comes from my research.  There are some continuities.  I am still living with the project that I proposed then, although extraordinarily transformed from proposal to dissertation and transformed greatly again from dissertation to monograph.  I am now thinking of developing my next major project.  I have a lot of the interests I noted then:
The name of my blog reflects a combination of interests. I study antiquity, but I am also fascinated by the construction of ideal alternate realities, usually referred to as heaven or utopia, alongside their inverse, hell or dystopia. I am particularly interested in how these constructions of heaven and hell interface with claims of religious experiences, such as with religious visions and auditions and so forth. So, welcome to antiquitopia, a "no place" in time--whether it is utopic or dystopic, of course, depends upon your perspective.
After about 850 or so posts, my interests have included this, but also spread broader and deeper (as anyone who scrolls my labels might see).  I taught Literature of the Humanities for two years at Columbia University, which was an extraordinary experience, allowing me to develop a broader literary framework, closer readings of my own works through connections made in others , and strongly influencing my own readings of the Bible (it is amazing how one's reading of the Bible improves when reading such great works from Homer to Montaigne and Shakespeare to Virginia Woolf).  I have taught further at Illinois Wesleyan University for two years, courses ranging from the Religions of the World to Bible. 

I still, however, have an interest in these idealized utopic or dystopic realities and religious experiences, but anyone who been keeping up with this blog lately will see have these have developed and how, in some ways, I have been seeking a thick description of the social implications of these claims and counter-claims, suppression and affirmation, of vision--as in my new project of the Christian Moses.  How, moreover, I have come to feel that visions are not enough to discuss religious experience--how my "God and the Senses" series has been promoting a fuller understanding of how religious experience engages all five senses.