Several weeks ago, I submitted my last seminar paper. Since then, I’ve been working on my dissertation proposal and preparing/revising my study guides for comprehensive exams this fall.
It’s overwhelming to think about taking these exams, even though they’re about five months away. I hate taking exams anyway, and the inherent importance of comps doesn’t help. The advice I’ve gotten along the way has been quite helpful and I’ll be poring over these for the next few months, so I feel I will do fine. However, that doesn’t mean there won’t be weeping, gnashing of teeth, fits of rage, more hair loss, and bouts of delirium along the way!
But as I remind myself–I signed up for this!
Αυτω η δοξα
For my birthday last week, I received gifts that were nothing if not practical. For me, this is a good thing. The older I get, the more the things I want need to be of some use. In addition to clothes, accessories, and funds (!), I got something I’ve wanted for some time–a book stand! More specifically, it’s a Witzem Rosemary Book Stand and it’s a big one–it measures at practically 2′ x 1′–it’s huge!
To give you an idea of the size, the pictures below feature BDAG, which is a behemoth of a book, and BDAG alongside BDF. How’s that for space?!
The size was part of the reason I wanted this particular one–it would have to be large enough to accommodate two books. I mean seriously, I never only have one resource open at a time, so this was a must. In addition to the size, a bookstand simply must keep the book open. I’m one who would never crack a book’s spine just so it will stay open, so this book stand appealed to me because it sports four flexible arms that swivel and can the pages at any point. The stand itself is adjustable, so if I wanted to lay a book at a different angle, I could do so easily.
It has been a frustration of mine for many years that there was no good way to have multiples books open at once for easy reference. Now, I can at least have two open and know that the pages will stay put and I can refer to them easily while typing. Maybe I should get another?
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Well, sort of. Today marks the beginning of my last seminar of coursework in route to a PhD (only exams and dissertation will remain–piece of cake, right?).
This semester we will be studying the general epistles and Revelation, so there is plenty of fodder for lively discussions! I am a tad disappointed that my research for the semester will not have much relevance for my dissertation. The last few seminars have allowed me to research and write on topics that would in some way aid my later research, a bonus for sure, but since I’m writing on Paul it would be a stretch to tie the two areas together. Despite this, however, I am excited about my topic for the next few months. Basically I’ll be examining literary monsters/creatures from Greek and Roman literature and their relevance (if any!) to John’s Apocalypse. I’ve got a good start on it, but I always have an open ear to suggestions for resources. If you know of solid works that would relevant for this topic, please feel free to send me the info.
Yesterday I attended the last meeting of my fall seminar. The seminar was focused primarily on Greco-Roman backgrounds for NT study, though we addressed Jewish backgrounds on occasion. The worlds of ancient Greece and Rome have become a primary interest of mine, so I was glad to have to opportunity to take this seminar. I also had the opportunity to teach the last class session, which was an enjoyable experience.
Now that the semester is finished, I have one more semester of coursework left before I sit for comprehensive exams next September. The spring will be intense as I not only will have seminar work to do, but will have to complete the last phase of my dissertation proposal for submission and approval before semester’s end. All the while, of course, I’ll be preparing for exams. No rest for the weary I suppose!
This first stage of my PhD is almost over and in some ways it’s hard to believe I’m already here; yet, in other respects it’s been a long road. At any rate, I’m glad for the temporary reprieve before spring semester arrives, albeit a somewhat tempered one. DVR, non-course reading, and holiday activities with the family will consume the calendar for the next few weeks and that’s fine with me!
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I am trying to track down an article and so far I have been unsuccessful. The article is by Hugo Greßman and is entitled “Mythische Reste in der Paradieserzählung.” It’s in Archiv für Religionswissenschaft 10 (1907). Anyone out there happen to have a copy/scan/pdf of it or have access to it and would be willing to traipse through six feet snow with nothing more than a cold biscuit and worn-out shoes to get it??? I would greatly appreciate it!
*UPDATE* (Boy that was fast!)
I found it here at the library. For some reason it didn’t show up on the electronic search, but I found it on the shelf. So, disregard this post if you haven’t already!
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I have only two major papers to write this semester, one for each seminar. For the NT seminar, I have to write on a particular aspect of the New Perspective on Paul. This is a subject I’ve read on and frankly, it’s a dead horse that has been beaten, resurrected, and beaten again. In fact, many would venture to say that the “new perspective” is not so new anymore. The works on this subject are legion, so I’m trying to narrow my choices based on interest and the volumes I’ll have to work with.
Interestingly enough, I am more excited about writing my OT backgrounds paper. I will be writing on the serpent in Genesis 3, namely how ANE perceptions and depictions of serpents informed how the author of Genesis would have probably understood them and why a serpent was employed in the account. I might address the question “Did the snake really talk?” but only briefly. My interest is less in the historicity of the account and more in the perception of serpents. I’ve been reading through Egyptian, Akkadian, and Babylonian texts (translations obviously!) and various historical surveys and archaeological works and its been a very interesting venture thus far. I’ve only done initial research at this point and have yet to make definite conclusions about some questions I seek to answer, but I very much anticipate where this will lead.
As always, suggested resources are always welcome.
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