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New Testament Programs and Ancient Med.

Teaching graduate students in the field of Ancient Mediterranean Religions – even if one’s subfield is the New Testament and early Christianity – can be very different from teaching the same field in a divinity school, as I began to indicate last time.  At least it is very different from the field as it was taught at Princeton Theological Seminary, where I went.   New Testament faculty there principally taught courses on exegesis – that is the interpretation of Scripture.  These courses did have a strong historical component to them.   But the only real concerns were the books of the New Testament, their interpretation, and the history that they both presuppose and illuminate. At UNC, I have never taught an exegesis course.  Now it’s true, my students in New Testament (most of them actually are working outside the New Testament, as I’ll explain in a moment) do need to learn the science and art of exegesis.   But there’s only one of me, and I can teach only one seminar a semester, and I don’t have time [...]

2020-04-03T14:10:17-04:00January 16th, 2015|Teaching Christianity|

The Graduate Program in Religious Studies

QUESTION: Can you write something about the background of your PhD students, how you selected them, what makes a prospective doctoral candidate stand out against the pack, whether there is a huge academic gulf between knowledge and argumentative skills of your undergraduates and research students. RESPONSE:  Ah, this is an interesting question, and as I’ve thought about it I’ve realized that there are lots of things that I take for granted about the process of admitting students into our graduate program what would not be “common sense” at all to someone who is not deeply involved in the process.   I’ve been admitting graduate students for 25 years now.   (Occasionally I realize that I’ve never been out of school.   After high school I went straight to college, which took me five full years; after college – in fact the next month, because I had to finish courses over the summer – I went into my MDiv program; after my MDiv program I went directly into my PhD program; and I started teaching at Rutgers while I [...]

2020-04-03T14:10:43-04:00January 12th, 2015|Reader’s Questions, Teaching Christianity|
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