Hartford Seminary?s expertise in American Protestant theology and ethics and its diversity have brought a Brazilian research scholar to study at the Seminary.
F‡bio Henrique Pinheiro de Abreu is studying for his Ph.D. in religious studies at the Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora, Minas Gerais, Brazil. He expects to complete the program by February 2014.
Abreu arrived at Hartford Seminary at the start of August and plans to stay seven months, through February 2013.
Abreu?s research has led him to examine a theology of culture in light of contemporary global dynamics. He is examining what binds religion and culture, politics and ethics together.
?As theologian William Schweiker used to say, ?In a time when religions are shaping world-wide realities, sometimes violently and sometimes peacefully, it is important that they be given humane expression.? This fundamental conviction ? I believe ? calls for a new interpretation of a theology of culture from the perspective of a theological humanism,? Abreu said.
He said he chose to study at Hartford because it is ?well known not only for its leadership in the sociological study of religious communities and its long established program in the study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, but also for its work in theology and ethics in connection to the American Protestant tradition.?
?Besides, Hartford Seminary has a highly qualified faculty and an intellectual environment characterized by an extremely rich cultural diversity. I think these features are essential to any educational institution that seeks excellence and relevance. These features are even more important ? I believe ? when what is at stake is the academic study of religion, for religion is not just an issue among others, but a fundamental predicate of our existence,? Abreu said. ?That?s why Hartford Seminary is so attractive to me.?
Besides his research, he plans to take three courses this fall: ?Introduction to Christian Theology: The Basic Components of Christian Faith and Life?; ?World Religions and Worldly Politics: Church/State Relations around the World? and ?Introduction to Black Theology.?
Asked about his activities outside his studies, Abreu said, ?Besides being with my wife and best friend Ta’se, I love spending time playing my guitar. I also love being with my Brazilian friends, drinking beer and discussing metaphysical questions.?
?P.S., it is always surprising to realize how fast we can learn from each other after a few glasses of beer!”
Abreu has an M.A. in religious studiesfrom the Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora, and is studying for a B.A. in philosophy there. He has aB.A. in theology from the Instituto Arquidiocesano Santo Antonio, Centro de Ensino Superior de Juiz de Fora.
Abreu is studying at the Seminary under the Exchange Visitor Program, which offers international scholars the opportunity to engage in research, teach, and lecture. The Seminary offers the program to contribute to a better understanding of American values and institutions through the exchange of ideas and experiences.
The program optimizes the potential for international scholars, national scholars, and religious leaders to share their knowledge in a mutually beneficial way with Hartford Seminary and the larger community. It also helps to broaden the research scholars? knowledge in their area of expertise by using Hartford Seminary?s resources for their research.