David Puxley first came to Nova Scotia from Prince Edward Island directly after high school, drawn by the prospect of studying in the Foundation Year Programme (FYP) at the University of King’s College, wherein he found himself fascinated by the works of Plato, Plotinus, and St. Augustine, as explored in lectures by Drs. Dennis House, Wayne Hankey, and Colin Starnes, respectively. Having been thus awakened to this approach to intellectual life, Puxley undertook further study in Classics, a discipline that involves “the whole range of human traditions,” and earned a bachelor’s degree from King’s in 2002.
During the next few years, Puxley exercised both intellectual and physical aspects of his historical interests. He worked as a tour guide at Canadian war monuments in France and assisted in the mapping of German tunnel complexes around the village of Arras; the latter effort included a memorable forty-five minutes spent lost in the dark, which was “not too scary”, thanks in part to his contemplation of Plato’s analogy of the cave (Plato’s Republic 7.514a-517b). He also studied at the Institute of Augustinian Studies in Paris and stayed for a time at the Rosminian monastery in Rome, the physical features of which greatly attracted him. in 2003, Puxley returned to Halifax to begin a master’s degree in Classics at Dalhousie. His thesis, however, was partially written in Stresa, Italy, an idyllic setting in which he worked for a time as an assistant archivist for the Rosminians. Upon returning to Halifax and completing the MA, Puxley found that his Classics degrees helped him gain two rather different kinds of employment: a local temp agency was impressed by his facility with languages, which they correctly regarded as a sign of intelligence; he was also engaged as a teaching fellow in the Foundation Year Programme at King’s, which he found a wonderful and challenging opportunity to bring undergraduate students into contact with! the same texts that had fired his own thinking a few years earlier.
After teaching in FYP for four years, Puxley found himself changing focus. Despite his enjoyment of teaching, he had decided against a PhD and subsequent academic career in favour of a calling that would allow him to engage people on matters that were both intellectual, spiritual, and practical. He has recently begun theological study at the Atlantic School of Theology, where he is a postulant in the Anglican tradition; for this, he credits the prompting of his wife, Katie, and the encouragement of Rev. Gary Thorne and the members of the chapel community at King’s. He hopes to integrate theory and praxis in Christian ministry. “I don’t want to be an armchair theologian; I want to act on the basis of new understanding.”
Dave remains closely connected with the Classics Department, at present doing copy-editing for the departmental journal Dionysius.