Hello, everyone, and welcome to our installment, “Acts of Reading and Writing: Faculty Profiles.” This week we feature Dr. Clare Rothschild, Lewis University Theology Professor. Lewis student Daniel Echeverri interviewed Dr. Rothschild. The mini-interview, that the Jet Fuel Review editors are also partaking in for the “Meet the Editors” series, is located after the profile.
Thoughts Before Words
Dr. Clare Rothschild is a professor at Lewis University with a Ph.D in Theology. She was born in California and went to college there for her first few years. As a professor, she believes theology is important because,
“theological issues plague people because our thoughts about them are unsophisticated, lacking appropriate nuance and necessary ambiguity.”
Since she first became a theology professor, she reads “fiction as a discipline before bed.” She is the type of reader who wants “no distractions” while she reads and describes her perfect reading atmosphere on a plane.
English classes have always been easy for Rothschild, to the point where she was presented with the chance to co-write with Trevor W. Thompson, stating that she “would certainly do so again! He is perfectly brilliant.” Thompson has a Ph.D in Theology from University of Chicago, which is the same university that Rothschild attended, and where she received her Ph.D. in Theology as well. They have written several books and articles together. He is a very successful author and I would have to agree with Rothschild’s statement about him being “perfectly brilliant.”
Rothschild believes thinking is more important than reading and writing in theology. She wishes that students today would think before they read and write. Intellect is important to Rothschild, and because of this, she would love to meet Hercules Poirot, a fictional Belgian detective, who has been in 56 short stories and 33 novels. She thinks solving crime cases takes a lot of thought and that is why she enjoys him.
Theology has played a role in Rothschild’s life since before she could read. She memorized “The Little Book about God” by Lauren Ford, at a very young age. Also when she was eight she “detected” a mistake in the Ten Commandments from a children’s bible in a store. She had memorized the Ten Commandments so well that when she detected the mistake, it surprised her. Later in her adult life, she finally received a Masters in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School in 1992; then, she went on to receive a Ph.D at the University of Chicago Divinity School in 2003. Now she is teaching at Lewis University and is a well-known professor.
Rothschild’s personal library is “chock full. Books are stacked on the tops of all shelves and on every conceivable surface, including the floor!” Yet, there is one book that she could read over and over again, the New Testament. Some of her favorite pieces of literature are The Screwtape Letters, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Journey of Man: Genetic Odyssey, The Secret Garden, Jane Eyre. Lately, her favorite religious reading is First Clement. I can see Rothschild sitting on an airplane reading with her spectacles on and a mess of books thrown around her, enchanted by a James Joyce quote that she says, “she could read over and over again”:
“Yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusia girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will yes.” (James Joyce, Ulysses)
This quote brings her to a special place where she feels empathy and happiness. Later, when I asked her about a chance to re-make a movie she said she would re-make the Harry Potter films and she would play Hermione Granger. I believe it’s because of her love for beauty; she sees the beauty in intelligence and she can also see the beauty in other people. And, I see Rothschild as someone with a deep understanding of life.
Acts of Reading and Writing: Meet Clare Rothschild
Q: What book might we find on your nightstand?
Q: If you had the chance to co-write with one author, whom would you choose? Why?
A: I have already co-written with Trevor W. Thompson (Abilene Christian University) and would certainly do so again! He is perfectly brilliant!
Q: Describe your perfect reading atmosphere.
A: Airplanes are a great reading atmosphere because I am the captive audience of my text, literally: no distractions!
Q: What might your personal library look like?
A: The shelves are chock full. Books are stacked on the tops of all shelves and on every conceivable surface, including the floor!
Q: If you could “re-make” any movie that was based on a book, what movie would it be?
Q: What piece of literature can you read over and over again?
A: Easy: the New Testament!
Q: Give us a quote from your favorite (or any) book/movie.
A: “Yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will yes.”
― James Joyce, Ulysses
Q: If you were invited to have coffee with any fictional character, whom would you most like to meet? Why?
Q: Share your top five favorite pieces of writing (anything included).
A. The Screwtape Letters (C. S. Lewis)
B. A Midsummer Night’s Dream (William Shakespeare)
C. The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey (Spencer Wells)
D. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
Thank you, Dr. Rothschild!