Peter is a second-year PhD candidate studying Late Antique religions of the Eastern Mediterranean, pursuing the Graduate Certificate in Digital Humanities. His primary research interest is monastic communities in the Syriac tradition during the decline of Roman control of Syria and the rise of Islam. More broadly, he is pursuing means to discover how ideas and practices change and develop as monasteries encounter new religions, new rulers, and exchange texts and stories with other groups of monks in the Mediterranean world. To this end, Peter hopes to incorporate digital tools to support this research. Peter is currently working as a Teaching Assistant for “Judaism, Christianity, and Islam” (RELS:1001), in addition to previously assisting with “Religions in a Global Context” (RELS:1015) and “Medieval Religion and Culture” (RELS 1225).
Peter completed a Master of Theological Studies degree at Vanderbilt University, focusing on monastic life and ascetic thought in Syriac communities. In particular, he studied the reception of the writings of Evagrius of Pontus in dialogues regarding demons and the human mind. His thesis, “Evagrius of Pontus and the Late Antique Demon: Alone Among the Thoughts” earned him the Elliot F. Shepard prize for excellence in Church Historical Studies. Alongside his research, Peter worked first as an Editor and then as a Project Leader on the Syriaca.org Reference Portal under the guidance of Dr. David Michelson, working with XML encoding of Syriac manuscripts. In addition to this, Peter undertook a study of ancient Egyptian history and culture and several courses on the art history of Christianity, Judaism, Egypt, and Greco-Roman religions. Prior to his Master’s work, Peter earned his BA from Coe College with honors in Religious Studies, in addition to completing a Mathematics major and Classical Studies minor. He worked for two years as a high school instructor in Brentwood, Tennessee with Mary Lee Bunch and Associates, an alternative education and tutoring company, where he led courses in history and computer science, in addition to private tutoring.