About

Hazelnut Notes is the work of Dr. Benjamin Knoll, a political science professor by day and a Master’s of Divinity student at Bexley Seabury Episcopal Seminary by night, who somehow also finds time to co-parenting three daughters in between.

Along with Cammie Jo Bolin, I am the co-author of She Preached the Word: Women’s Ordination in Modern America (Oxford University Press, 2018). Along with Jana Riess, I am the co-director of the Next Mormons Survey.

Here on Hazelnut Notes I write about things related to spirituality, religion, society, science, and politics, with a specific interest in American religion, Anglicanism/the Episcopal Church, and the Mormonism/the LDS Church. Writing is how I process and organize my thoughts, express my identity, manage my anxieties, and endeavor to fulfill my vocation.

These days I practice a “multi-religious” identity, finding meaningful spiritual expression in the rituals, stories, and culture of the Episcopal Church while also drawing meaningful inspiration from those of the Latter-day Saint tradition in which I was raised. I also find meaningful expression through a postmodern-ish combination of progressive theology, contemplative Christian mysticism, secular agnosticism, and Christian Universalism.

The blog’s name is an homage to Julian of Norwich’s theology of the hazelnut. Similar to an academic “research note,” the word “notes” is to remind myself that I can publish short missives without the need to explain all of the background, context, implications, and cite every relevant thing that has ever been written on the topic, as my academic training has conditioned me to do.

My other writings can be found in a variety of places on the internet:

[ Site hazelnut image credits via Wikipedia Media Commons, Pixabay, and Francesco Meschia, Marco Verch, Fabrizio Monti, Steffen Zahn, and Bo Jorgensen via Flikr. ]