Rev. Emmanuel Taylor, OP
Current MDiv Student
Br. Emmanuel Taylor, OP recently spent a year studying abroad with the Dominicans in Eastern Africa. He has just returned to DSPT to complete his Masters in Divinity. Here are a few reflections on his experience in Eastern Africa:
“It was a gift to witness the Dominicans and the Church in Africa. The Church was very vibrant there and it was amazing to live with young African friars who have the charism of St. Dominic. Even though I was on the other side of the world, I was living with them in a Dominican House and I felt quite at home.
It was a rich experience that provided me with an even deeper appreciation for the kind of education I am getting at DSPT and I am glad to be back to the fullness of our studies here. In one sense, the studies in Africa are very standard but the approach is different. I took Biblical classes that covered the same material as we would at DSPT but in Kenya they follow the Roman system of education. Whereas DSPT students are required to read large amounts of texts, to reflect critically in class, and to write an intensive research paper, the students in Catholic Schools in Kenya listen to lectures, take notes, and then take an exam.
One advantage of the Roman system is that much more information can be taught in a given period of time. A disadvantage is that the system does not provide the incentive or the time needed to study the material in depth. After getting over the educational culture-shock, I learned to make the most of the situation. I profited from the rapid pace of education because I studied a good deal of the Bible learning exegesis in preparation for preaching from Scripture.
While in Kenya, I acted as an ambassador, sharing DSPT’s unique approach to education. For example, objections came up in a Liturgy class that our professor was unable to address. I collaborated with our Dominicans at DSPT and obtained supplemental reading materials. During reading week, the Dominican brothers read the material recommended including a response by an alumni of DSPT. During this 'deeper' study, the readings really resonated with one Kenyan brother who said, '…this is the type of systematic theologian I want to be'.
Once again the Dominican charism is in the brothers in Eastern Africa. I hope that they have the opportunity to study in a school that provides a rich opportunity like DSPT. Perhaps we can get that brother who wants to be a systematic theologian to do his Masters at DSPT!”