Interview with Tom Kearns

Our next seminar will be taken by Tom Kearns on 26th February 2018. As usual tea and biscuits will be served at 17:40 with the seminar starting at 18:00. Below we talked to Tom about the intrigues of medieval religion and the joys of Anglo-Saxon poetry.

Tell us a bit about yourself, where are you from?

Well I’m from Birmingham originally but since starting uni I’ve been all over. I did my undergrad in ASNC at Cambridge and my masters in Church History at Oxford. Basically I decided that I wanted to see as many different places as I could so study has taken me all over.

What brought you to Durham?

Besides funding? Well the cathedral was a big draw since there are lots of manuscripts there that would be really helpful for my work. Plus I just heard it was a really nice place so it seemed a good choice.

What is your favourite thing about the medieval/early modern period?

Well when I was younger I was really interested in mythology and paganism so I kind of gravitated towards Vikings. But since I started studying it all I’ve gotten really into Church history and medieval theology. It should come as no shock that I’m a big J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis fan so the origins of this fantastical medieval society and religion is really interesting to me. So it’s probably monks and different expressions of belief.

What does your research focus on?

Well when I was younger I was really interested in mythology and paganism so I kind of gravitated towards Vikings. But since I started studying it all I’ve gotten really into Church history and medieval theology. It should come as no shock that I’m a big J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis fan so the origins of this fantastical medieval society and religion is really interesting to me. So it’s probably monks and different expressions of belief.

What do you plan to focus on in your seminar?

Well this seminar is basically a version of an article that I’m working on. It’s sort of an iconoclastic criticism of scholarship up to this point and attempt to show the need for reassessment in light of primary evidence for real and significant ideological diversity among the English monastic reformers.

If you were not in academia, what would you be doing?

I don’t know. I used to think about politics, so maybe that but I don’t think I’m sociopathic enough. So now I tend to think that I would follow my dad into the police or maybe train to be a priest. There are options!

Do you have a favourite medieval/early modern text?

Yeesh that’s hard. It’s cliché I know but I do have a soft-spot for Beowulf. Anglo-Saxon poetry in general is pretty great but Beowulf is just particularly good.

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