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Calvin history prof lands prestigious Fulbright Scholarship in Cyprus | Community Spirit

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Calvin history prof lands prestigious Fulbright Scholarship in Cyprus
Calvin history prof lands prestigious Fulbright Scholarship in Cyprus

Calvin history professor Young Kim has landed a prestigious Fulbright Research Grant to study in Cyprus during the 2012 academic year. Kim will be studying an expert in heresies: Epiphanius--a  church father born in Palestine--and will write a book about his life and work.

"He wrote this large manual that described the beliefs, practices and refutations of 80 heresies," Kim said. The work is called the "Panarion," Greek for "Medicine Chest," and it cautions against, among many others, the Manichaeans, the Origenists, various 'Gnostic' sects and the different derivations of non-Nicene theology.

"However, the "Panarion" tells us in many ways more about the author than it does about the heresies he describes … ," said Kim. "It embodies in written form his self-constructed public persona--as the defender of orthodoxy, the scourge of heretics."

Kim will devote his time in Cyprus to learning more about Epiphanius, reading his signature work as more of an autobiography. "I'm going to be looking for the man, the author behind the writing," he said.

Kim, a specialist in late Roman history, believes the fourth century, the Constantinian era, is one of the most important in church history for articulating the basic doctrines of the Christian faith.

"This is the time when Christianity had become a legal religion, and Christians were debating, writing and arguing like they never had before," he said. "Epiphanius is part of that very, very large conversation on Christian theology."

Kim hopes to make that conversation less black-and-white, an approach he also takes in his teaching. "I want students to complicate things--because if history teaches us anything, it's that things are always more complicated than they are made out to be," he said.

The Fulbright Scholars Program, administered by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, is an international educational exchange created in 1946 to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries. The program awards 800 grants to scholars annually.

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