B.A., philosophy, Cedarville University, 2008; M.Div., Corban University, 2011; M.Phil., Catholic University of America, 2016; Ph.D., historical theology, Catholic University of America, 2018; Teaching Fellow, Catholic University of America, 2015-2018; Adjunct Lecturer, Franciscan University of Steubenville, 2018-2022; Tutor, Thomas Aquinas College, 2022-present.
“I am the son of a Baptist dairy farmer, and my wife Melissa’s father works for a Baptist college — Cedarville University, where we met,” says Dr. Brett Smith, a new tutor in New England. The Christian faith, with its essential conviction that man is liberated by truth, has long been near to Dr. Smith’s heart. Through it he fell in love with Sacred Scripture, which, in turn, led him to the Catholic Church.
“Melissa and I were in the same graduating class,” recalls Dr. Smith. “She studied English, and I studied philosophy. I first noticed her during our sophomore year, but we did not meet until the spring semester of our junior year.” The couple agreed to write letters over the summer, and that was when their romance truly blossomed. “I guess you could say I fell in love with her writing,” Dr. Smith says. “By the end of the summer, I was ready to marry her.” They wed soon after their graduation in 2008 and have since been blessed with seven children, whom Mrs. Smith homeschools.
It was over the course of his graduate studies that Dr. Smith would gradually find his way to the Catholic faith. “The two keys by which I unlocked the truth of the Catholic faith were Scripture and history, in that order,” he reflects. “From Scripture I learned that the church Christ founded could never fail in its faith or disappear from the earth, and from history I learned that the faith of that church always has been the Catholic faith.”
In 2011 Dr. Smith received a Master’s in Divinity from Corban University; he then earned a Master’s in Theology and Religious Studies at The Catholic University of America in 2016. That same year, he and his family were received into the Catholic Church.
By the time he had completed his doctoral studies in theology at CUA in 2018, Dr. Smith realized he was looking to teach at a rare kind of institution. “I wanted to work at a school that would be faithful to the magisterium and that would help students to develop in the whole life of wisdom, including both its intellectual and spiritual aspects,” he says.
That desire led him to join the faculty at Immaculata Classical Academy, a Catholic high school in Louisville, Kentucky, where — trained theologian though he was — Dr. Smith taught across many disciplines. “Over time, I found that I loved teaching other subjects, not only theology,” he observes. “All truth is from God and leads us back to Him. I realized that what I most wanted in a college was an environment in which I could continue to grow in wisdom, ideally through teaching a variety of subjects. Thus,” he adds, “Thomas Aquinas College changed, in my estimation, from one good option to the ideal place to be.”
- Aspectus and Affectus in the Thought of Robert Grosseteste, IF Press (2023).
- “Scotus and Grosseteste on Phantasms and Illumination.” American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 96, no. 4 (2022): 597-617.
- “Personalist Resonances in Robert Grosseteste’s Christology.” New Blackfriars. 103, no. 1106 (July 2022): 458-469.
- “‘A Theme Song of His Life’: Aspectus and Affectus in the Writings of Robert Grosseteste.” Franciscan Studies 76 (2018): 1-22.
- “Augustine’s Natural Law Theory in De Libero Arbitrio.” Irish Theological Quarterly 80, no.2 (2015): 111–135.
- “Complex Authorial Intention in Augustine’s Hermeneutics.” Augustinian Studies 45, no. 2 (2014): 203-225.
- “The Sin of Eli and Its Consequences.” Bibliotheca Sacra 170, no. 677 (January-March 2013): 17-30.