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Florida College Biblical Studies Professor Speaks at International Conference

December 7, 2022

Dr. Will Dilbeck, one of our Biblical Studies professors at Florida College, recently received international recognition for his writing at the 13th Annual Origeniana Tertia Decima Conference in Münster, Germany. We spoke with Dr. Dilbeck after his travels to learn more about the conference and his time in Germany. You can read the Q&A below to learn more about this exciting accomplishment.

What is your title at Florida College?
Professor of Biblical Studies

You recently wrote a paper that received international recognition. What was the title of your paper and why did you choose this topic?
The title of my paper was “Origen and God’s Inability to Comprehend the Infinite.” I chose the topic because Origen makes the incredible statement that God cannot comprehend the infinite. I was struck by the question of how this early Christian writer, who knew the Bible extremely well, could say something so provocative. The answer was relatively straightforward, but almost equally surprising- because it is what Aristotle said about the subject of the infinite. That is, because of its very nature, the infinite is beyond comprehension. Origen extrapolates that even God could not comprehend it and this is why he created a finite number of beings. Early church fathers are often negative in their appraisal of the views of Aristotle, but Origen seems to rely on him for this particular and even shocking view.

Why were you inclined to submit your paper to the 13th Annual Origen Conference (Origeniana Tertia Decima)?
I became aware of the Origen conference many years ago, and eventually, my research interests coincided with the theme of the conference- Origen’s relationship with philosophy.

What is the purpose of this conference?
The conference meets every few years and is a place where international scholars come together to share their research.

When you found out your paper was chosen, what was your reaction?
I was excited when I found out my paper had been accepted. I am always thankful for opportunities to share my ideas, and especially with scholars from different countries. Research is often a lonely endeavor and being able to express ideas in a welcome and understanding atmosphere is motivating for future projects.

What was your favorite part of Germany? 
I had never been to Germany before, so it was an enjoyable trip generally. Other than the conference, my favorite part was cycling through the countryside near Münster on the last day of my trip. I explored a castle and even found an abbey devoted to helping the disabled and elderly. It was called Tilbeck named after the original owners of the land.

To learn more about our biblical studies program, click here.