Friday, January 18, 2008

Tanned, Rested and Ready

Just an update to let everyone know that I have returned to the UK, after an extended stay in Texas with my family. This photo of me and my boys (Benjamin – 4, Christopher – 2) pretty much sums up what I was doing in the Lone Star State. We were in my dad's woody backyard, where the boys love to play, and I love to have some quiet time, when I get the chance.

I'm back in Edinburgh alone to finish my thesis, but I have some blog posts on the burner, which should be up soon. Thanks to all (three) of our visitors who have stayed faithful to The Conventicle during our holiday slump.

And thanks, Tim, for your rousing call to action! Your only mistake was referring to me as a king. Anyone who has ever seen me with a cup of Starbucks coffee will imagine Gollum and his 'precious' ring ...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Trinity College Dublin Offers Fully Funded PhD

Great news from Crawford Gribben, Director of Texts, Contexts, and Cultures and Senior Lecturer in Early Modern Print Culture at Trinity College Dublin (click here for an older, more detailed bio).

Trinity College Dublin (TCD) is offering 12 fully funded PhD scholarships in what looks like a fascinating interdisciplinary program entitled Texts, Contexts, Cultures. Here is a course description,

Texts, Contexts, Cultures is an ambitious, dynamic and innovative multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional PhD programme delivered in co-operation between three of Ireland’s leading institutions in the Arts and Humanities - Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork and NUI Galway. The programme investigates the most basic component of Arts and Humanities research – the text as material object. Texts, Contexts, Cultures has therefore been developed around three coherent themes: history of the book; images of Ireland; and Renaissance intellectual history.

For those interested in church history or theology, this program would seem to provide the added value of integrating important but often neglected contextual and cultural dimensions to theological research.

Below is the full advertisement.

12 fully-funded 4-year PhD scholarships are available for Arts and Humanities research in Trinity College Dublin

A new interdisciplinary and inter-institutional PhD pathway for research in Arts and Humanities has been launched by Trinity College Dublin in conjunction with NUI Galway and University College Cork. 12 four-year scholarships of fees plus €16,000 per annum are available for those who wish to pursue this pathway as students of Trinity College Dublin. Other scholarships are being offered by NUI Galway and University College Cork. The scholarship competition at Trinity College Dublin is open to both EU and non-EU applicants. The closing date for entry is 1 March 2008.

Texts, Contexts, Cultures has been designed to prepare students for life in academia – and beyond. First-year students will develop their research through multi-institutional training elements in the pathway's core themes – History of the Book, Imaging Ireland and Renaissance intellectual history – much of which training will be delivered through audiovisual and online networks. Research will be supervised by multi-institutional scholarly panels. Students will also be provided with the opportunity for work placement in the knowledge economy sector.

Dr John Hegarty, Provost of Trinity College Dublin, commented that the Texts, Contexts, Cultures pathway "represents an exciting new beginning for higher education in Ireland and for higher education itself."

Full details can be found on All enquiries should be directed to Dr Crawford Gribben, the Director of Texts, Contexts, Cultures at Trinity College Dublin (

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The beacons are lit, come to my aid!

Just letting everyone know once again that we are all still here. Many of our Conventiclers are feeling crunch time as they are entering into the 'serious' phase of thesis writing.

I thought this little reference to the Lord of the Rings might encourage us to rally to the Conventicle before we are dropped from RSS feeds throughout Middle -Earth. Long have we known the blogging fast. Too long have we sat in high towers contemplating puritan lore. For too long we have been astray in Lothlorien (somewhere other than here). We are the Minas Tirith of the Blogger world and I am Denethor...the steward who is keeping watch as the walls (sidebars) fall into disrepair. All is set for the Return of the King (Chris Ross). We need Legolas (John Tweedale) to emerge from the Mirkwood and pierce our foes (not sure who) with an arrow (post) of truth. Where is Gloin's son (Edwin Tay) who so often displays jewels from Moria (his thesis)? Ah, and the Lady of Rohan, Eowyn (Susan Allister): Too long have we been deprived of the 19th century perspectives on puritans from Elder Days. I'm getting tired, lets just say the blog itself is Frodo, Samwise, Bilbo, Merry, Pippin, Elrond, and a maybe a few of the S.B.'s. Joe Chi, um, you are probably Gandalf. Hansang Lee: Tom Bombadill. Don't argue, I've decided. Simon Burton, you are...Theoden or a ringwraith, depending on what we need at the time. Alright, everybody good? Ok.

Where was I?

Ah, yes. Posting. Stay tuned for more posts.


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