Some of you may remember that last year I did a directed reading program on the Hermetica. For those of you who don’t what a directed reading program is, it’s basically a one-on-one course which focuses on a specific subject. The work load is a bit more than a typical class, but the advantage is that you really get a chance to do some research. I was lucky enough that a professor I incredibly respect, Phil Harland, agreed to supervise me.
My project, however, quickly moved beyond the Corpus Hermeticum proper into related works and genres. By the end of the year, I had turned in a research paper that considered Iamblichus’ portrayals of Egypt as a strategy of legitimation. It was not exactly what I expected to write about when I started, but it’s where I finished, for sure!
Unbeknownst to me, my professor submitted the essay for the William R. Coleman Prize. This prize is awarded to the best essay written by an honour student in a humanities or religious studies course. If you’ve been following the plot so far, you’ll probably guess that this essay won. You’d be absolutely correct, because it did.
This alone would be enough to trot out the thank-yous and oh-my-god-I’m-so-gratefuls and all that stuff. So I’ll briefly note that while all these things certainly apply, this is a really big thing for me because Phil Harland is an incredibly tough professor who is not impressed by anything—and that’s a compliment! That he thought enough of my work to submit it for consideration is an honour in itself!
In the spirit of efficiency, I’ll end this here with a thank you to Professor Harland for taking me on as a student and a huzzah to the committee for giving me this award!