Class Discussion Leads to Published Article for Professor-Student Duo

Published:

For Dr. Matt Dinan and Michael Pallotto, BA ’18, a class discussion became the subject of a published scholarly article.

The professor-student duo co-authored “Joseph Ratzinger’s ‘Kierkegaardian Option’ in Introduction to Christianity”—an analysis of the influence of Søren Kierkegaard on the writings of Catholic theologian Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI)—which is forthcoming in the International Journal of Philosophy and Theology.

“It’s pretty surreal on my end,” Pallotto said of being a published scholar. “I just graduated with my undergrad and when I look myself up online a scholarly article comes up. It looks good for your resume, but it’s also just nice to get something like this done on a text I care about.”

Dinan and Pallotto, who completed an honours in Great Books and a major in Catholic Studies, worked together on several projects throughout Pallotto’s degree. The opportunity to collaborate on this article was a fitting bookend to four years at St. Thomas.

“It was deeply satisfying for me as his teacher,” Dinan said. “It’s pretty cool to watch somebody grow and mature for four years and then be at the point where you can trust them and engage with them as a colleague. We came up with the idea together and we wrote the article together.”

The pair is hopeful the piece will lead to an appreciation of interdenominational dialogue—Ratzinger is Roman Catholic and Kierkegaard was Lutheran—while also pushing showing the ways in which the best work in theology is also philosophically rigorous.

With plans to pursue graduate studies, exposure to the process of writing and publishing an academic paper was invaluable for Pallotto.

“It’s something the STU community breeds,” he said. “Professors are really interested in getting to know students. My friends at larger universities wouldn’t know where to start on something like this—it’s something that happened naturally from being in class together for four years.”

Pallotto intends to study theology with hopes of becoming a professor, and Dinan suspects this won’t be their last collaboration.