Bryce E. Rich is Visiting Assistant Professor of Theology at Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. He holds a PhD in Theology from the University of Chicago Divinity School. His specializations include historical theology of the patristic and medieval periods, queer theory and theology, and modern religious thought.
Bryce's dissertation project, Beyond Male and Female: Gender Essentialism and Orthodoxy, offers an immanent critique of gender essentialism in the stream of the contemporary Orthodox Church influenced by the "Paris School" of Russian émigré theologians and their heirs. It uses an interdisciplinary approach to bring into conversation patristic reflections on gender, personalist theological anthropology, insights from gender and queer theory, and modern biological understandings of human sexual differentiation. Though seemingly unrelated discourses, the project reveals unexpected points of convergence as each line of thought eschews the gender binary in favor of a more open-ended spectrum of possibilities. The study concludes by drawing out some theological implications of the preceding findings as they relate to the ordination of women to the priesthood, same-sex unions and sacramental understandings of marriage, definitions of family, and pastoral care for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) parishioners.
Bryce's research interests include theological anthropology, twentieth-century theologians of the Russian diaspora, and sacramentology. As a theologian, his desire is to see work in each of these areas enrich the life of the Church. As a scholar in the the Chicago tradition, he writes for multiple publics in hopes of fostering understanding and building bridges across society's many divides. As a teacher, he helps his students to explore a variety of theological viewpoints, challenging them to push the limits of their thinking and to find their own theological voices.