A Modern Story with Medieval Roots: How This Alum Looks to the Future Through the Lens of the Past

by FRANKLIN NORTON

Director of Advancement

After growing up in Barboursville, a city with a population of just over 4,000, and graduating from Covenant School in 2021 with a class of six, Emma Yeager knew she was ready for a change. She first enrolled in classes at Tri-State Bible College, with an interest in pursuing further studies in Biblical Studies and Theology.

“I started classes at Tri-State Bible College right after my Covenant graduation,” Yeager said. “I took a bunch of really interesting classes in Bible and theology and I still have great connections there.”

After two semesters at Tristate, it was time for her big move. She enrolled as a full-time Theology student at Moody Bible Institute, a private evangelical Christian Bible college in Chicago, IL, the third largest city in the U.S. with a population greater than the entire state of West Virginia.

“It wasn’t a hard transition,” Yeager reflected. “I was ready for the change and the different pace of life. I love Chicago but I also love West Virginia. I love both and just learned to embrace new experiences and have an open mind.”

While at Moody, Emma fell more in love with studying Bible and Theology, especially the History of Christianity. After graduating with her bachelor’s degree in just three years, Emma will begin a master’s degree program at University of Chicago, one of the top colleges in the nation, in the fall.

Additionally, she is accepted as a House Scholar, a  residential scholarship program in conjunction with the Divinity School of the University of Chicago

“I’ve found a home in studying history,” Yeager said. “I really think that there’s something we need to reclaim there to deepen our understanding of the history of the world and the history of the faith. 

Emma is most passionate about public engagement with history and also bringing lay literacy of the history of Christianity, especially pre-Reformation, to the church.

“I was so struck by the vibrancy of faith in the Middle Ages,” she said. “It’s not the dark ages at all. It was a very bright era for history and the backdrop for the protestant reformation.”

She credits much of her interst in history to her time at Covenant School, where she delightfully recalls Lower School humanities events like the Egyptian, Greek and Medieval festivals. While these festivals instilled a deep love of learning, it was when she encountered the great books in the upper school that she truly felt compelled by the call of participating in the great conversation.

“We started to read the great texts of the middle ages and late antiquity,” Yeager recalls, “and that was really catalizing for me. When people ask, ‘what got you interested in the middle ages? Why are you studying history of Christianity?’ I say, “I went to a classical school where we would read these texts and I really fell in love with it there.”

Emma explained that the disciplines she learned in encountering hard work and complex texts, alongside the ongoing mentorship and encouragement of Covenant faculty like Dr. Hefner, Dr. Wylie, and Mrs. Artrip, really formed her both spiritually and intellectually.

 “Covenant really taught me to analyze things well, to think charitably about sources, and to write well which has all proven to be extremely helpful for my aspiring career as a historian and theologian.”

 Whether she’s in a town of 4,000 or a city of 3 million, Emma is prepared to flourish wherever she goes

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