Saturday, February 16, 2008

Two Years at hyperekperissou

On Tuesday last, hyperekperissou reached its two year mark. So, to honour that anniversary and because this blog (not to mention my own life) has changed substantially over the last couple of years, I thought a reprised introduction is in order. The first introduction is here.

Who am I?

Well, let's start with the family. I was born in Toronto, Ontario, but spent most of my childhood/youth in London, Ontario. I went to a fairly academic high school, got into university and enjoyed it so much that I spent 15 years in one university or the other. Four completed degrees later (I did start a PhD., but didn't finish), I found my vocation as a a high school teacher of Latin and Classical Studies (of all things!). If you'd told me even ten years ago that that would be what I would do with my life, I would have laughed in your face. But here we are.

I'm married to Elin and we have a 14 month old son, Ian. My wife and I met while living at Wycliffe College, University of Toronto. I was working on my PhD in Classics. My wife was working on an MA in Theology. We married in 2001.

My interests include, of course, patristics, Classics, Latin and Greek linguistics, Byzantine history, cooking, movies and spending time with my family. Yes, I'm a geek. I'm proud and not tired (sorry, Arlo Guthrie reference).

Why hyperekperissou?

I quote my original introduction:

This is a sneaky reference to Ephesians 3, 21 and used commonly as a doxology at the end of the Eucharist: "Glory to God whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine..." (Book of Alternative Services=BAS). The bits in italics are the part which express hyperekperissou (hard working word, isn't it?). I wanted it as a title partly because it is an expression of God's abounding grace offered to the world through Jesus Christ, but also because this verse has always had special meaning to my wife and me because we have both seen it in our own lives. In fact, we saw it as so important that we inscribed it on our wedding bands.

I should also add that, embarrassingly, I wrongly transcribed hyperekperissou as my URL and now I'm afraid to change it because it would screw up people's links to this blog. Now that that admission has been made, let's move on.

The Evolution of hyperekperissou

I have to admit that I had no idea what kind of blog I was intending to do when I started. I'm not sure anybody who starts blogging ever really does. If he/she does, that certainly changes very quickly. My blogging experience, however, seemed to be a natural outgrowth of my contributions to various discussion boards on the net, so I thought it made sense to give myself a venue in which to write reflections on faith, theology and the Anglican Church.

What I found was that I was writing an inordinate amount on the Anglican Church morass. Now, don't get me wrong. There is a flourishing Anglican blogsphere with some fine writers on both sides. Yet, despite donning my asbestos underwear, I discovered that I had very little stomach to be a polemicist and as reasoned dialogue seemed (and seems) impossible, I chose not to devote my time and energy to those issues. At least, on this blog.

That was around June, 2006. Around that time, I stumbled across Mike Aquilina's The Way of the Fathers blog and discovered a whole new (and not particularly populated) part of blogsphere- patristiblogging. This fit with my major intellectual interest, patristics, and I felt that it gave me more opportunities to make positive contributions to people's lives. I honestly think that the Fathers should be read more, not as a kind of intellectual fetish, but as a way to understand how we Christians came to make the decisions about such things as the canon, the Trinity, etc., which characterize orthodox Christianity. If this blog offers a glimmer of light on how that process worked, then it has served its purpose.

That is why I've given so much attention to Patristic Carnivals (which started in December 2006) and book reviews. I'm encouraged, incidentally, by the reception of the Patristic Carnival and by the increase of patristic entries out there. I honestly think this is the greatest contribution I've made in the last two years.

Whither hyperekperissou?

So, the only question remaining is where I am I going in the future with the blog. I think the patristics emphasis stays, but here is where I expect to go.

1. Patristics Carnivals will continue, but I think the time has come to build a permanent page for the rules/regulations. This is a priority on the to-do list, but life and family are first priority, so it may be a while.

2. I'm still looking for hosts for the Patristics Carnival. I think it would be good on several fronts to take myself out of always doing the Patristics Carnival. If you are interested in hosting, let me know. I really do intend to start e-mailing people to solicit aid soon, but busyness has prevented me in the last few months.

3. Keeping up the book reviews as much as I can. Given a limited book buying budget, I do have to rely on the University of Toronto library system, so it takes me awhile to get to things. If you think I should be reviewing something, drop me a line!

3. I think I need to get back to reflections which were a feature in the early months. These reflections could be inspired by patristic texts, but need not be. I think a more personal touch would be nice from time to time on this blog (thus this introduction).

4. Any other suggestions?


I would be remiss if I ended this entry without thanking my readers and supporters for their encouragement over the years. Particularly, I want to thank:

My wife for putting up with my weekly blog time and for her suggestions on individual blog entries.

Jim, my first and constant reader, for his encouragement, even when I shifted away from his areas of expertise. Jim and I have been arguing about various things for years, so I'm happy to have transferred our discussions to this venue as well.

Mike and Kevin for their advice in the early days of my shift to patristiblogging.

Tim, Danny and everyone with whom I discuss, debate and dispute. Thanks for keeping our discussions productive and civil.



mike said...

Phil, I confess that when I finally began my blog, I had already found yours and was a bit annoyed that the name "hyperekperissou" was already take. Ephesians 3.14-21 was the passage the first got me hooked on Ephesians.

Tim A. Troutman said...

Phil, yours is one of my favorite blogs! I think you've made some very worthwhile contributions to patristic study - especially for lay people like me.

Phil Snider said...


I'd say I was sorry I took hyperekperissou, but I'm not :). Seriously, the passage from Ephesians is one of my favourite passages, so it seemed to fit.


Thanks for your kind words, although, remember, I'm every bit as much of a lay person as you are in patristics. I've just been reading them longer.

Weekend Fisher said...

Happy blog birthday! Glad you're keeping at it.

Danny Garland Jr. said...

Congrats on the two years! Keep up the great work!

Jim said...

Happy blogday! (Is that the correct term?) :-)


Phil Snider said...

Thanks for the good wishes all!


vassilip said...

may Christ, the sun and the eros of the Fathers, bestow to you His light and peaceful Spirit always in your blogging path.