University Medals awarded to three doctoral graduates

Congratulations to Dr Katherin Papadopoulos, Dr Joel Rothman and Dr Roger Whittall, recipients of the University Medal this evening.

The University Medal may be awarded by the Academic Board of the University to a student of the University who has completed a doctoral thesis of exceptional quality. Commissioned in 2016 by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Sherlock, each medal is hand-crafted by local Melbourne artist Michael Meszaros. The recipients received the medals at the 2022 Melbourne graduation ceremony, held on Friday 25 March 2022 in St Paul’s Cathedral Melbourne.

Associate Professor Liz Boase, Dean of the School of Graduate Research, congratulated the recipients, saying:

To be awarded a Doctorate, the thesis must make an original contribution to knowledge. The recipients the University Medal have done so in an exceptional way. Each of the theses are different, and highlight the depth and breadth of research completed within the University. Congratulations to all who received a Higher Degree by research today.

Dr Katherin Papadopoulos receives her Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Divinity, as a student with Australian Lutheran College. She was supervised by Professor Wendy Mayer and Associate Professor Chris de Wet.

Her thesis is an analysis of three early Syriac martyrologies (calendars of saints) utilizing various sociological theories of memory and time presented as three diachronic case studies: 1. martyrologies as sites of memory; 2. role of reputational entrepreneurs and reputational trajectories in martyr commemorations; 3. commemorating earthquakes.

The citation for Dr Papadopoulos’s award reads:

Dr Katherin Papadopoulos has completed a doctoral dissertation of exceptional quality which offers thought-provoking insights in its application of memory studies to the literature of late antique history, literature, and culture. Her thesis, Patterning the Past: Memory Studies and Late Antique Syriac Martyrologies, applies various sociological theories of memory to the practices of remembering the past as presented by Syriac martyrologies (calendars of saints) in order to uncover the values and master narratives about the past which were important to the groups that compiled the calendars, how they changed, and the socio-cultural currents that may have shaped them. Dr Papadopoulos’s thesis is praised for its deep, sustained, and incisive scholarship and for its high level of philological engagement.

Dr Joel Rothman

Dr Joel Rothman receives his Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Divinity, as a student with Whitley College. He was supervised by Associate Professor Keith Dyer and Reverend Dr Robyn Whitaker.

His thesis explores the idea that Revelation draws the hearer into its story-space, a four-layered cosmos of hyper-heaven, sky-heaven, earth, and abyssal depths. The spatial construction has ideological import: in the conflicted sky-heaven empire is exposed as draconian, thus demanding nonparticipation in its social and economic practices, while the transformative hyper-heaven makes nonparticipation a genuine option.

The citation for Dr Rothman’s award reads:

Dr Joel Maurice Rothman has completed a doctoral thesis of exceptional quality which offers an innovative reading of the Book of Revelation. His thesis, Cosmology and the Cosmic Journey in the Book of Revelation: The Experience of Story-Space and Conflicting Visions of Reality, provides a novel interpretation of the relationship of cosmic spaces in Revelation. Using narrative criticism, Rothman proposes a four-tiered structure of the cosmos which offers a unique perspective on the purpose of the Apocalyptic book.

Dr Roger Whittall

Dr Roger Whittall receives his Doctor of Theology from the University of Divinity, as a student with Australian Lutheran College. He was supervised by Professor Wendy Mayer, Dr Jeff Silcock and Dr Stefan Gigacz.

His thesis demonstrates that Luther’s teaching on the common priesthood was a persistent and pervasive element of his ecclesiology, the church as the communion of saints. Its focus is on the common priesthood in the Christian community, beyond its contentious relationship to the church’s ordained ministry.

The citation for Dr Whittall’s award reads:

Dr Roger William Whittall has completed a doctoral thesis of exceptional quality which provides a comprehensive study of Luther’s teaching on the common priesthood. His thesis, Martin Luther’s ‘Common Priesthood’ Its Boundaries and Horizons: A Study in Luther’s Ecclesiology, comprehensively traces the concept of the priesthood of all believers through a range of Luther’s writings, contributing to contemporary debate on the relationship of the priesthood for the baptised and the calling to public ministry. Dr Whittall demonstrated thoroughness in his examination of primary sources, writing with clarity and grace.


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