Congratulations to Amy Hughes, the First Female Theologian to Defend Dissertation at Wheaton College

On Monday, April 15, Amy Hughes became the first female theologian to successfully defend her dissertation, entitled “‘Chastely I Live for Thee’: Virginity as Bondage and Freedom in Origen of Alexandria, Methodius of Olympus and Gregory of Nyssa.” Her advisor is Dr. George Kalantzis. While most centrally an exercise in historical theology, the project interacts heavily with Platonic philosophy and provides constructive insight for the church’s ongoing life. Amy’s project articulates “virginity as a ‘performing’ Christology,” a paradigm that shaped the Christian conception of the ascent as the telos of the human life. Her second reader was Dr. Beth Felker Jones and her external examiner was Dr. J. Warren Smith.

She and her husband Benjie reside in Aurora, IL and are excited to recommence life without a looming dissertation. Amy will be preparing her dissertation for publication along with working on a book project on women in early Christianity. She will be teaching here at Wheaton in the fall.


About Ashish Varma

I am a PhD student under Kevin J. Vanhoozer, and my dissertation project pertains to defending the theological validity and identifying the dogmatic location of virtue in traditional Protestant thought, namely within the sphere of union with Christ. My wife Narissa and I attend College Church in Wheaton.
This entry was posted in Dissertations Defended, Historical Theology, Wheaton College and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Congratulations to Amy Hughes, the First Female Theologian to Defend Dissertation at Wheaton College

  1. Is she the first female to get a PhD at Wheaton or the first female to get it in theology? And why is that – was the PhD not open to women until recently or…?

    • Ashish Varma says:

      Dr. Habets, Amy is the first woman at Wheaton in theology. There have been prior women in OT and NT. As to why, there doesn’t seem to be much more to offer other than that the women who have been accepted to the program in the past have all been students in biblical studies. That remains true for those still in the program, though there are a couple women theologians in the wings, including one in Amy’s incoming class. Additionally, I know that there is at least one incoming next year. It’s also worth noting that the PhD program at Wheaton is relatively young (~10 yrs.) and remains relatively small (5-7 per class).

      Does this help?

  2. Peter Green says:

    Dr. Habets, I don’t have the hard numbers to back this up, but I believe, in addition to the other factors that Ashish mentioned, there is another contributing factor–there have been less PhD students in historical and systematic theology, whether male or female, than biblical studies students. Scrolling through the list of published dissertations and alumni job placements, most of them are in biblical studies.

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