Brandon Joa

Religion, Class of 2018

Brandon Joa

I’m a member of the Class of 2018 from Pacifica, California, majoring in Religion.

Role(s) held in the Humanistic Studies Program:

Certificate Student

Activities on campus:

Princeton Evangelical Fellowship, Elizabeth Anscombe Society, Taekwondo, University Chapel Choir

Why I decided to study the humanities:

Studying the humanities for me is fundamentally about a sense of wonder, especially at all the ways of articulating beauty in the world. I love reading, as the narratives and ideas within books help me understand the nature of faith and the connections between aesthetics and ethics (think Dante). I’ve also always been interested in reading the classics and figured I should just study what is enjoyable.

What I have gained from the humanities:

I have enjoyed seeing the intellectual history of many of the ideas and beliefs I hold as well as the history behind the ideas that are popular at Princeton and in the West. I’ve also been able to develop greater appreciation for the arts (e.g. learn how to critique a painting or listen to an opera) by learning about the connections between the disciplines in the humanities. Trips to the opera are definitely a perk!

Experience with the HUM Sequence:

I participated in the trip to Greece with Jonny Thakkar, Dr. Crown, and Professor Gondicas in the Fall of 2015. It was wonderful seeing the settings of the various works we had read (e.g. the Oresteia) and walking the places Paul had trodden and been publicly tried. On the trip, my work involved learning about the Orthodox theology of icons and how theology and contact with non-Greeks influenced the development of the Greek tradition of iconography.

Independent work:

I focus on philosophy of religion and what it means to follow one’s beliefs, and my junior paper is on Søren Kierkegaard’s concept of offense. I attempt to answer the question of how an academic can be a “holy fool” as Kierkegaard and Christ call the believer the be, with reference to the translations of Princeton preacher Walter Lowrie.

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