Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Going to Edinburgh!

Personal update
I have been offered a place and a partial scholarship to research a theology PhD at Edinburgh University starting in September and supervised by Oliver O'Donovan. We haven't yet set a departure date as this depends upon Jessica's work situation. My initial project proposal is to consider the role of the church in a society in crisis (more to come on this in due course).

Jessica and I are delighted at this wonderful opportunity, a little apprehensive at the size of the task and more than a little sad to be leaving church, family and friends for three years. This has been a path we have been hoping to pursue for the last couple of years, though our plans were postponed when I discovered I was quite ill. I am very thankful for more life and now to be given such a gift. I am sure the next few years will be stretching intellectually, relationally, financially and linguistically. If you pray, we'd appreciate your prayers.


-bw said...

v cool! I'm stoked for you. I hope everything goes smoothly for your preps.

Mark Stevens said...

Congratulations; I am in no way surprised given the depth and level of reflection you provide here. Can I guess that the photo is Edinburgh University?

I am glad I will get an opportunity to meet you before you leave.

ang said...

wahoo! exciting news :)

Unknown said...

G'day Byron

What a great step forward for you and family. Though I'm sure in time to come you might be thinking it was a step backwards ;)
Remember 3 steps forward and 2 steps backward makes you one step ahead.

I'm not in a position to help financially, I will pray for you however.

Father God I thank you for Byron and his ministry. I thank you for the calling you have placed on him and his wife. I ask Father that you will bless their socks off, that all their fees shall be paid. That you will cause things to be smooth with Jessica's work. I pray Father God that you will put your hand of provision over them so that Byron can put his hand to the plow that you have called him to do, so that he doesn't have to worry about the providing for his family.

I pray that you will grant them favor so that they will make good Godly friends over there, that Jessica will make good friends who will build them up, support them and help them to grow in your likeness.

Bless them in Jesus name I pray.

Mandy said...

Yay! Such exciting news - praising God for his faithfulness and the wonderful opportunities he provides for us to learn and grow and serve him and his people.

Ben Myers said...

Congratulations, Byron — that's wonderful news! I hope you'll also post an abstract of your proposed thesis.

I only hope this means you won't be permanently lost to Australia...

jeltzz said...

Congratulationes Byron! multa summa tibi in hoc opto

Anonymous said...

good stuff. go well. soli deo gloria.

Anthony Douglas said...

I hadn't guessed (or heard), but even though I'm NOT GETTING ANY POINTS, I'm still excited.

It sounds fantastic. And it=Edinburgh, as well as your suggested topic.

Plus, you'll have a fresh source for photos to puzzle us with. What more could we ask for?

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Byron---you've been blessed with a phenomenal opportunity. I look forward to seeing some of the fruit of your studies here!

Anonymous said...

Hey Byron - this is great news. I've now been working towards my PhD at Nottingham for about 9 months, and the move has surpassed my expectations... a few things stand out that make it really worthwhile:
- The UK has a broader theological spectrum within active world-class scholarship than Australia
- Doing a PhD full time in a large-ish international theology/religious studies department opens you to a lot of new perspectives, approaches and people
- There is great access to other scholars and onferences

Along with this, I've realised that a good supervisor is invaluable - I'm sure it will be great to be under Oliver O'Donovan (a friend of my supervisor!)

Hope it all goes well - sounds like an intriguing topic, and I'll be interested to hear more about it... perhaps our paths will cross.


Anonymous said...

Hey Byron! That's awesome! What an opportunity!

Joanna said...

Congratulations, Byron - I'm sure Edinburgh will be a wonderfully rich environment for your studies!

Drew said...

That's great Byron, congratulations.

Trevor Cairney said...

Congratulations Byron, this will be a great opportunity to study in a wonderful institution with an outstanding scholar. It will also be a great experience just living in Edinburgh.

Anonymous said...

As the youth of today say, "Wicked — sick mate!"

Hey, how long will this process take? Better get cracking, $123 a barrel last night... ;-)

Do you like the cold? Hagus? Kilts? Sporrens? Black pudding? Maybe if you're lucky you might even be able to pick up a little "Ecckyyyy THUMP!"

Mark Stevens said...

Byron, can I ask, what made you choose Edinburgh?

Cheers, Mark.

Honoria said...

God's blessings:

Oliver O'D!
Theology PhD!!!

no wonder you're delighted =)

Congrats guys!

Anonymous said...

I am wonderfully delighted for you, and completely jealous. May God use this to make you and Jess a wonderful blessing to others.

corn chowder said...


I'm very amused by you saying you'll be challenged linguistically. Those Scots aren't that hard to understand. Maybe it's when the Scottish read ancient Greek...

If it'll help, I'll lend you "Trainspotting" on DVD. It's got subtitles too.

Rachel said...

that's fantastic news!!! (i also bet the Filmers will be very glad to have you guys a boat ride away)

Anonymous said...

That's great news and we will be praying for you.

Sam Charles Norton said...

Wahey! Marvellous news and lots of congratulations.

Anonymous said...

Excellent news! We look forward to welcoming to you both to sunny Scotland (and yes - it has been sunny for four days in a row now!).


ps- I wouldn't worry too much about the language - they say that if you are in Edinburgh and you meet a Scot that it is a rarity!

Joshua said...

a heartfelt congratulations about both your program and your move to edinburgh. having spent a year there for a mth, my envy about that great city and new college is overwhelming. if you want any advice on locations, living, scotland tours, etc, i'd love to gush about it.

Jason Reid said...

Great news Byron, I really hope that you make a contribution for the glory of Jesus whilst you are over here.

You and your family will always be welcome in Plymouth, if you want to find some surf beaches or escape the Scottish weather.


John S said...

As usual, a mine of info, like the links to O'Donovan & Scottish English - thank goodness I discovered the f-stop used for the photo of the sign on the door! I'm indebted to you again. Go for it!

nico said...

wow byron - congratulations!!

Unknown said...

That's exciting and what an opportunity. Praying htat God will use your work powerfully.

Lawrence said...


Of course, living in Scotland means that you will be one step closer to heaven!

Guy Davies said...

Congrats. They are a strange lot the Scots, but you should fit in OK.

Andrew Paterson said...

Hi Byron - wow, you get so many comments for every post you make. It's like a full-time occupation!

Great you're going to Edinburgh. Looking forward to your future books to serve God's kingdom (and hopefully us pastors!).

The day after I found out you were going, I read a post referred to from another blog site about PhDs and academia.

I found it helpful for myself (further academic study has been swimming around in my head)- it's a 'keeping focussed on why we do things' kind of post.

Anyway, hope you won't find this unbelievably patronising but I thought I'd forward it on to you.

Go well, AP

Andrew Paterson said...

Sorry - that site address seemed to cut off the page on my screen.

I'll try again (if it doesn't work, the year is 2008):


Anonymous said...

Belated congratulations, Byron.

Rory Shiner said...

Brilliant! Excellent! Perfect! Wow!

One of Freedom said...


That actually gets you a wee bit closer too. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Byron - that's wonderful news and a wonderful opportunity. I hope and pray that God uses this to bless and encourage many through you and Jess.

Anonymous said...

I'm torn between being excited for you at the opportunity of studying at Edinburgh and less enthused that you'll be working with O'Donovan!

I trust you'll do well, anyway!

Dave Barrie said...

Fantastic news!

Guid luck, guid health an' mey Goad Al'michty bless ye!

byron smith said...

Wow - thanks for all the support and shared excitement.

Mark - the photo is indeed of Edinburgh Uni, in fact of the School of Divinity in New College, where I will be studying.

Craig - thanks for your prayer!

Ben - I intend to post more on my topic soon. Our default assumption and desire is to return to Oz.

Seamus - one day I might begin to understand you.

Anthony - hmmm, the photos might get a little tired: guess which city...

Matt - Thanks for your thoughts. I hope to bump into you at some stage. Are you by any chance planning on going to Rome for this conference?

Dave - $123 and rising, I know... I'm planning a post on this soon (when I get a spare couple of minutes).

Mark - Why Edinburgh? Some reasons: O'Donovan; a large postgrad program; quality and diversity of faculty; interesting city; not Sydney (not that I have anything against Sydney, but it's good to broaden my experience).

Elwyn - thanks, though if Doug is correct (and he is the local, though after his claim about the weather, not sure he can be trusted...), perhaps it won't be needed!

Joshua - I'd love to hear more. Feel free to drop me an email.

Jason - thanks, I'm sure we'll do a little travelling if we can.

Andrew - thanks for the link.

Frank - a wee bit... :-)

MWW - sorry to disappoint! I assure you O'D is not all bad, despite his careful and thoughtful support for just war.

Dave - by the time I return, I expect I might understand your blessing...

boxthejack said...

Congratulations! My Mrs and I have just moved out of Edinburgh alas, but we're not far away in Aberdeenshire. You must drop us a line when you're over. You know the blog ;o)

Paul said...

Way to go, Byron!

Hope you set the theological world on fire!

Anonymous said...