Daniel Zimmerman '17: 'I believe that a liberal arts education can help you lead a more enriching life'

April 25, 2018

Daniel Zimmerman

Religious Studies

Austin, TX

What, if any, research projects did you participate in at Cornell?

My last two semester, I completed an honors thesis project on the final logion (or saying) of the Gospel of Thomas — a Late Antique Coptic Gnostic text. The final logion is rather odd, with Jesus saying that a woman must "make herself male" before entering the Kingdom of Heaven. My thesis aimed to understand the different frameworks (in philosophy, literature, gender dynamics, etc.) in which this line may have been understood by its original audience. The thesis provided me with invaluable experience into extensive research papers.

How did any of your beliefs or interests change during your time at Cornell?

I had lived in Central Texas my entire life before coming to Cornell, and I had limited exposure to other religions and cultures. Coming to Cornell, and by attending programs sponsored by Religious Studies and Cornell United Religious Work (CURW), I had a unique chance to interact with diverse religious communities.

What do you value about your liberal arts education?

I believe that a well-balanced and dedicated liberal arts education can help you lead a more enriching life. Over the past semester since I've graduated, I think about how valuable Plato is to understanding our society, how important the Vedas and the Gospels are for living a purpose-driven life, how significant Zen meditation is for examining one's life and interactions, and how useful Greek, Sanskrit, and Latin are for understanding fundamentals of rhetoric.


  Daniel Zimmerman