Our students come from all over the world. We work hard to make sure they have the best experience possible while pursuing their PhDs, whether they are on campus with us in London or a non-residential student as far away as India.
We asked our former PhD students to reflect on their time in the Centre for the Study of Judaism and Christianity in Antiquity.
Reuben Brendenhof (Canada and Australia), PhD 2017
'I was privileged to study at St Mary's for four years as a part-time PhD student based overseas (first living in Canada, then Australia). My research was benefited immensely by the guidance and encouragement of my two supervisors, one of whom was at St Mary's, the other at Loyola University, Chicago.
'Along the way the support staff at St Mary's was also most helpful with any administrative matters that needed attention.
'I visited the beautiful Twickenham campus a few times over the course of my studies, most notably for my viva, and then for my graduation in March 2017.
'Presently I am the pastor of a Reformed church near Perth, Western Australia.'
“Now This is Allegory”: Paul, Allegory, and the ‘Pedagogy of Re-education’ in Second Temple Judaism and Early Christianity
This project analyses the function of Galatians 4:24-5:1 within the Galatian community not only through a detailed study of its social and historical context, but also through a comparative analysis with other allegories that functioned similarly within corresponding social and historical contexts of other Second Temple communities. Through this analysis, it reveals that Paul's allegory shared a distinguishable literary framework (what Burrow calls a ‘Pedagogy of Re-education') with such allegories and sheds new light on both Paul's intentions and on the impact of his allegory in the Galatian community.
Eric Clouston (India and UK), PhD 2017
'I was delighted to receive my PhD certificate within five years of starting part-time research, despite being at a great distance—I live in Asia, teaching theology to part-time degree students in small, local groups.
'Through SMU, I had a supervisor expert in the New Testament, who met me on my occasional trips to the UK and who, the rest of the time, was able to guide me very efficiently through email and Skype.
'Online access to journals helped a lot. I did miss out on college life, and was a bit jet-lagged at the viva. But throughout, even though I was in India for two years at a time, both supervision and admin. all worked smoothly. Exactly what I needed, to be able to fit research into a rather complicated way of life!'
David W. Larsen
"During my years at St Mary’s as a Part-Time, Long Distance student, I was extremely fortunate to have Prof Chris Keith as my primary Supervisor, along with Dr Alison Gray of Westminster College, Cambridge.
"Their commitment to me and to the process far exceeded all of my expectations, constantly pushing me to excel, and preparing me for my defense. In a perfect world, I would have had the time and money to be a full-time student, working on campus; but St Mary’s part-time, long-distance programme was an excellent alternative, and one that I would whole-heartedly recommend this program and Prof Keith to anyone who is considering a PhD."
Helen Morris (UK), PhD 2016
'My doctoral experience at St Mary’s was excellent. I received a huge amount of support from my supervisors and the additional benefit of high quality academic conferences that I was able to attend and contribute to.
'The staff members that I met were welcoming and supportive of my studies and, whenever I visited the Campus, there was always the hope that I might get to see Mo Farah running around the track named after him!
'I’m now teaching Theology at Moorlands College in Christchurch, Dorset, and I’m grateful for the way that St Mary’s has formed and prepared me for this work.'
M Scott Robertson
Nathan Shedd, PhD 2019
I completed my PhD in New Testament at St Mary's in 2019. It is difficult to overestimate just how much I loved studying full time in Twickenham. As a student in residence, I not only had access to the wonderful facilities on campus, but I was also just a short train ride away from the British Library and the Maughan Library in central London.
Researching in London also broadened my horizons culturally, socially, and ethically. I would not trade my time there for anything and would jump on the opportunity to move back and do it all over again!
Mostly, my experience at the Centre for the Social Scientific Study of the Bible was first-rate because I had top-tier research supervisors who challenged me to push the bounds of my knowledge, writing, and argumentation skills.
David Smith (USA), PhD 2017
'My experience doing a PhD at St. Mary’s pushed me in a number of ways. Above all, with a lot of work, it strengthened my writing abilities. St. Mary’s is a very tight knit community, so you quickly grow familiar with the faculty and other research students.
'Ultimately, the greatest testimony I can give is that if I had to do it again, I wouldn’t hesitate to do a PhD at St Mary's.'