Today I’ve started the next phase on my book, How Jesus Became God, and as I was thinking about it earlier, I realized that this is probably my favorite phase. Writing a book involves a lot of different tasks, and different authors enjoy different ones of them more than others. Until just now I had never quite mapped it out like this, but now that I have, I’ve realized that I go through four main tasks (each of which is subdivided into different elements): reading, thinking, organizing, and writing.
Reading and thinking usually go on at the same time. I usually conceptualize what a project will be and then start thinking about how I will approach it and what I will need to cover. That tells me what I need to read. And so I read everything of relevance to what I want to do. This is definitely the learning phase of a project, and it gives me the chance to read tons and tons of things that I’ve known about but never had the opportunity or need to read before, a chance to read tons of things that I’ve read before and want and need to read again, and a chance to read tons and tons of other things that I didn’t know existed but that I find out about en route. New Testament/Early Christian studies is like any field of serious intellectual inquiry. The scholarship is massive – both the hard-core scholarship that is written for scholars and presupposes a deep knowledge of scholarship and the more accessible scholarship that is written for a wider audience, either a wider group of scholars/intellectuals or a wider reading public outside the realm of scholars. No one can possibly master it all.
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