Carrie Gates | July 31, 2018
This is the fifth installment in an ongoing Q&A series with Arts and Letters graduate students. Read more Q&As with graduate students and faculty members here.
Nikolas Churik recently completed a master’s degree in Early Christian Studies (ECS), a two-year interdisciplinary program offered jointly by the Departments of Classics and Theology.
He received a bachelor’s degree in classics from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, and spent a year at Leiden University in the Netherlands with a grant from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Churik focuses on the interaction of Christianity with the classical tradition throughout late antiquity and the Byzantine period.
What are you working on now?
At the moment, a couple of things related to education and social formation are getting my attention. One is the representation and discussion of wealth in early Christian homilies, especially ones commenting on the stories of the rich, young man and of Lazarus and the rich man. As Christianity became well established within the state, particularly in the eastern Roman Empire, church writers had to deal with the embarrassment of riches and read these Biblical stories in light of their social environment.
A second area of interest is the use of animals as exegetical figures, again in homilies and other educational texts. Animals are often used as exempla to teach values, virtue, and vice, and in these cases, they’re often held up as models for people, and so complicate the perceived boundaries between humans and animals.
Read more here.