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Jennifer Hockenbery Dragseth , Ph.D.
Professor of Philosophy
- B.A. Philosophy and Classics, Bowdoin College, 1993
- M.A. Philosophy, Boston University, 1997
- Ph.D. Philosophy, Boston University, 1998
Dr. Jennifer Hockenbery received her Ph.D. in philosophy from Boston University in 1998. She began teaching at Mount Mary College in 1998 and received tenure in 2004. She is married to an ELCA Lutheran pastor and has three children.
Teaching Excellence Award, Mount Mary College 2012
My teaching interests are especially in the area of the history of philosophy. I love the ancient and medieval philosophers, especially Plato, Augustine, and Hildegard of Bingen. These writers saw philosophy as natural and essential to human life. Hildegard and Augustine use the metaphor that philosophy is the beautiful woman for
whom our hearts yearn. Both admonish us to chase after her and clasp her to our bosoms all of our lives.
I am not interested in philosophers of old as merely historical figures but as people who have things to say to us today for our own lives as we search for meaning. Philosophy is about finding our place in the universe, our relation to God, and our relation to other people.
Kierkegaard once said that the best philosophy teacher was Socrates because he did not believe
that he knew anything to teach. Instead Socrates talked to people, not to share his wisdom, but to gain wisdom from them. I believe very firmly that I owe as much to my students as they ever might owe to me
Research Interests: My dissertation was on the 4th C. African bishop and philosopher Augustine and how his conversion to Christianity affected him as a philosopher. I am still deeply interested in Augustine and the early Christian view of Christianity, not only as religion, but as a unique philosophy with its own specific metaphysics,
ontology, epistemology, ethics, and psychology. I recently returned from a sabbatical on which I studied Hildegard of Bingen’s views of Christianity, philosophy, environmental stewardship and women. Currently, I am working on a project studying Luther’s views of philosophy and how these views influenced the field in centuries after the reformation.
All of these projects focus on one major concern which is the nature of truth and how it can be obtained, discussed, and lived by people constricted by space, time, and the limits of consciousness. In an era when we are becoming more and more parochial in our views, this is the issue that we must address as we think about the future of democracy,
globalism, and philosophy.
Jennifer has published articles on Augustine, Nietzsche, Hildegard of Bingen, and Luther as well as published essays on the importance of philosophy for children and philosophical pedagogy at the college level.
- (September, 2011). Hockenberry Dragseth, Jennifer, (Ed.), The Devil's Whore: Reason and Philosophy in the Lutheran Tradition.
- (2004). Graceful Reality: A Foundation for the Future of Philosophy and Theology. Theology in Global Context: Essays in Honor of Robert Cummings Neville. New York: T&T Clark International.
- (2001). ‘Fides et Ratio’ and the Graceful Redemption of Philosophy. Ed. Timothy Smith. Introduction by Ralph McInerny, Faith and Reason: The Notre Dame Symposium 1999. South Bend, IN: St. Augustine’s Press.
- (December, 2005). The He, She, and It of God: Translating Saint Augustine’s Gendered Latin God-Talk into English. Augustinian Studies.
- (April, 2004). Nietzsche at the Foot of the Cross: A Meditation on Good Friday. Currents in Theology and Mission. Volume 31, #2.
- (April, 2003). Education for Escaping the Cave: Using Plato’s Republic Book VII for Teaching Ethics Across the Disciplines. Analytic Teaching. Volume 23, #2.
- (December,1999). The Philosophy of Christmas. Currents in Theology and Mission. Volume 26, #6.
- (January, 2009). The Gift of the Magi: The Possibility of Inter-cultural Conversation. Currents in Theology and Mission.
- (February, 2009). Thou Art Dust to Dust Returnest: A Philosophical Meditation on Ash Wednesday. Currents in Theology and Mission.
- "In Gods Good Time: Augustine and Luther On Scripture, Space-Time and Salvation," World Luther Congress, Helsinki Finland and the American Academy of Religion, Chicago, IL.