Campus Location

Abilene Campus (Residential)

Date of Award


Document Type



Graduate School of Theology

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Jeff Childers

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Frederick Aquino

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Brad East


This thesis aims to understand how the Christian virtue of detachment, understood as the proper ordering of one’s desires toward God, contributes to epistemic transformation. In order to achieve this result, I rely on the work of the Trappist monk, Thomas Merton, beginning by mapping out his conception of detachment and demonstrating how it helps one to overcome competing desires and find their true self. Following this, I offer an account of the type of epistemic transformation required to access some theistic knowledge in order to connect Merton’s views on the topic with those of modern-day philosophers and show the critical role detachment plays toward the end of accessing such epistemic goods. Finally, I conclude the project by taking up some potential objections and highlighting certain facets of Merton’s epistemology of theology that are echoed by contemporary epistemologists as a means of spotlighting the wealth of Merton’s epistemological insights that have often been overlooked by modern scholars.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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