Dr. Tracy Davis Gustilo

Dr. Tracy Davis Gustilo

Sessional Assistant Professor of Theology

Tracy Gustilo studied philosophy and biology as an undergraduate at the University of Chicago and proceeded to get a Ph.D. from the University of California (Davis) in Ecology, writing a dissertation on environmental ethics. She and her husband Nick have four children, and when the youngest was a year old, they moved to the Philippines for two years, where Tracy took over the children's education. Thus started the family's adventure in homeschooling and Tracy's self-imposed task of re-educating herself along the lines of a classical education in the liberal arts, the Great Books, and the languages and literatures of ancient Greece and Rome. Along the way she discovered the Orthodox Church, and after eight years of reading and attending liturgy, she was chrismated in 2005. As the children went off to college, Tracy went back to school to St Vladimir's Seminary and earned an M.A. and Th.M. She originally set out to study classical rhetoric in the Church Fathers but found herself pulled into reflecting on the most basic (and difficult!) questions of christology and soteriology. Mission work in Madagascar, Korea, and Uganda exposed her to a whole new world, and these days she finds herself drawn to consider problems of theology in a mission context, in liturgical experience, especially the profound beauty-in-the-midst-of-suffering of Holy Week and Pascha, and in communicating the faith to a diverse public.

Educational Background

  • B.A. in Philosophy (Biology), University of Chicago
  • Ph.D. in Ecology (Environmental Ethics), University of California – Davis
  • M.A. St Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary
  • Th.M. St Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary

Teaching Interests

Tracy is developing courses in Theological Aesthetics and Theology and Ecology. Other teaching interests include Political Theology and Comparative Religion and Theology in Mission Context.

Current Projects and Research Interests

Tracy’s research at present focuses on paschal liturgy, theological aesthetics, and political theology. Most of her writing has been on various Church Fathers, esp. Melito, Irenaeus, Origen, Cyril of Jerusalem, Gregory the Theologian, and Maximus, but her eye is increasingly on the contemporary Church, its (in)ability to engage postmodernity in a now decadent west, and its possibility to evangelize Asia (Korea, China, Japan) as advanced civilizations decidedly different in their cultural and philosophical heritage from the west. Earlier in her life she studied ecology and environmental ethics, and she continues to ponder how to integrate that work into Orthodox theology.
Tracy is increasingly convinced that the secret to Christian theology is the experience of Beauty.

Recent Courses Taught at SVOTS

Grammar for Greek and Rhetoric
Introduction to Theological Writing
Introduction to Biblical Greek

(Additional course offerings forthcoming.)