Snead State Director Travels ‘Across the Pond’ Twice for Professional Opportunities


A Snead State Community College Division Director made his way “across the pond” not once, but twice this summer for professional opportunities.

Dr. Jonathan Watts, Humanities and Fine Arts Division Director and Director of Religious Studies, spent his first week in Oxford, England, at the Bodleian Library, the main library of Oxford University, researching and writing his next book, “Ancient Ethics in a Post-Modern World: Using Genesis to Search for Our Moral Compass.”

The book uses the Biblical stories found in Genesis as a springboard for examining such ethical issues as community, autonomy, retributive justice, distributive justice, loyalty and accountability, and truth-telling. Through the examining of individual stories in the book of Genesis, he moves from the ethics of an ancient culture to how they apply to our world today.

The book is Dr. Watts’ fourth published work. He previously authored books are “Gospeltelling to a Digital Culture: The Forensic Reconstruction of a Good Story,” “Battle Lines of Worship: Finding a Place for Truce and Trust,” and “Our Hearts Strangely Warmed: A Practical Theology for Worship in the Wesleyan Tradition.”

Dr. Watts made a second trip in August after being invited to present some of his research at the Oxford Symposium for Religious Studies held at the Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies, held Aug. 1-3. Dr. Watts joined scholars from India, Canada, the United States, England, and Romania in presenting scholarly papers over the three-day symposium.

The first gathering of students for educational purposes in Oxford begin circa 1096 AD. In an up room of St. Mary the Virgin Church, a few students gathered to study religion, philosophy, and law. At the time, they had a library of 146 books, all of which were chained to the walls. Today, the Bodleian Library at Oxford houses over 12 million items.

Dr. Watts began his studies at Oxford in 2001 and defended his doctoral dissertation at Christ Church College at Oxford University in 2005. Since that time, he’s made many trips to Oxford for study and research eventually leading to a designation of Oxford Foundation Fellow through the Graduate Theological Foundation. During his most recent visit, he was able to revisit Christ Church College where he was housed during his studies and defended his dissertation before Oxford dons. 

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