Alumni Spotlight: Caleb Colley
Defending the faith by taking aim at the Middle
These days Caleb Colley (’09), Faulkner’s first graduate of its Master of Liberal Arts program, finds himself caught in the middle - the Middle Ages that is. As a current Ph.D. philosophy student at the University of South Carolina, Colley is working in medieval philosophy of mind focusing on the texts of John Pecham, a 13th-century theologian who opposed Thomas Aquinas’ position on the nature of the soul.
Recently the Great Books College alumnus was honored as USC’s Richard T. Greener Graduate Student Award recipient. The honor recognized the excellence exhibited in Colley’s course work, presentations at conferences and participation in department functions and events.
The prestigious award also acknowledged the success of his ongoing and challenging dissertation work. Besides compiling extensive research, Colley possesses the extra task of translating Pecham’s work from Latin since it has not been previously done. Though the tasks may sound daunting to most, Colley relishes the work.
“I am thankful to be working in the Middle Ages because it was a period when the discipline of apologetics flourished,” said Colley whose background is in biblical studies and communications and whose goal is to preach, teach and write in the area of Christian apologetics.
As one who is passionate in his endeavor to defend the Christian faith, Colley eagerly acknowledges how Faulkner’s Great Books program shaped him for the challenge and praises the professors who prepared him for his doctoral studies and his subsequent honor.
“Faulkner’s Great Books Honors College and its associated graduate programs provide opportunities that are unique in our brotherhood,” he explained. “Drs. Mike Young, Jason Jewell and Robert Woods not only familiarized me with standard philosophical texts and pushed me to develop my research abilities but also helped me to actively engage in the discussion of leading ideas in Western philosophy, ” he said. “Their goal was to promote philosophy as a ‘handmaiden to theology,’ and that remains a goal of mine today.”
Although the MLA program has since evolved into the online Masters of Letters program, the goal has remained the same â€“ to engage students in serious reflective reading with an eye toward living out and defending truth. Colley asserts that such coursework is beneficial for any Christian desiring to soundly defend the Christian faith.
“Christians who are familiar with the connections between intellectual traditions and the Scriptures will be better prepared to ‘redeem the time’ and turn our culture toward recognition and application of eternal truth,” he explained. “Faulkner plays a valuable role in this process.”