University Professor and Student Win College Theology Society Competition

06.29.2005 | Faculty, Students, CatholicWhen the College Theology Society hands out one of its awards, it's an honor. When it gives two of its top three awards to people from the same university, it's a rarity.

CTS, the professional association of college and university professors, has named University of Dayton religious studies professor William Portier winner of the 2005 best article award and University religious studies graduate student Sharon Perkins winner of the 2005 best student paper award.

Portier's winning article, "Here Come the Evangelical Catholics," was published in the spring 2004 issue of Communio, a quarterly review of Catholic theology. The paper explores what Portier calls the phenomenon of young conservatives in the Catholic Church. Portier writes, "By the 1990s, a new breed of student started turning up in my theology classes. Far from a majority, their small number often includes the most intellectually gifted. These students are interested in Catholic-specific issues. They want meat. They love the Pope. They are pro-life. They do service trips during breaks and gravitate toward 'service' upon graduation."

The citation from the CTS judges says Portier's article "is a must read for anyone who cares about Catholicism, about its current internal polarizations, and its social-political engagement with the world."

Perkins, who moved her family from Texas a year ago to attend the doctoral program in theology, looks at the issues of Christian identity, particularly in the Asian culture, by exploring one of its most emergent voices in "The Correlational Christology of Peter C. Phan." Phan, an expert on Catholicism in Asia and chair of Catholic social thought at Georgetown University, has major publications in several diverse theological areas.

Perkins writes, "While Phan's theological work has made significant scholarly contributions on the implications of cultural and religious pluralism for Christian ecclesiology, missiology and catechesis, closer examination reveals an underpinning Christology that affirms the uniqueness of Jesus while maintaining the assertion of Jesus' universality as savior."

CTS judges said the essay is a thorough analysis of the contexts that shape Phan's Christology. "The essay describes the personal education and theological contexts of Phan's thought, and analyzes Phan's three pillars of an authentically Asian theology."

The annual College Theology Society awards presentation took place June 2 at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala.

For more information, contact Linda Robertson at (937) 229-3257.