Placing the New Testament in Its Own Historical Context

In my previous post I began to discuss how I chose, back in the mid 1990s, to conceptualize my New Testament textbook, not as a theological/interpretive introduction to the NT, or as a literary introduction, but as a rigorously historical introduction.  Among other things, that meant treating the books of the New Testament as *some* of the early Christian wriitngs, which needed to be discussed in relation to other early Christian writings produced at about the same time.   In this ...

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A Historical Approach to the New Testament

In my previous posts I talked about how I came to be convinced to write my textbook on the New Testament, back in the early to mid 1990s.   Once I agreed to do it, the first step was to decide exactly what *kind* of Introduction to the New Testament I wanted it to be.  This was a problem, because I was pretty sure that the kind of introduction that I would like to write would not be the kind of ...

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Agreeing to Do the Textbook

In my previous post I indicated that I was not at all inclined to write a textbook on the New Testament.   In fact, before the editor at Oxford University Press asked me to do it, I had never given it a moment’s thought – except for that moment when I thought (some years before), that whatever I did with my publishing career, I did *not* want to write such a thing.  Looking back on it, I’m not sure why I ...

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My New Testament Textbook

I thought I would take a few posts to talk about what I’m working on these days – for the past month or so, with another month or so to go.  As many of you know, I spent almost the entire summer doing nothing but reading books and articles about “memory” and related topics (such as the telling of stories in oral cultures) from a variety of perspectives: cognitive psychology, neurology (very low level!), anthropology (oral cultures and how they ...

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Why We Need Tenure

I’ve been discussing what a university professor does with his or her time, and have devoted a couple of posts to the question of what it takes to receive tenure.  In doing so I  have indicated that tenure is a guarantee of life-long employment by the academic institution, barring such extraordinary circumstances as moral turpitude on the part of the professor (it happens!) and financial exigency of the institution (it too, alas, happens).

I should say as well, though, that once ...

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What Counts for Tenure?

I have one more post to make on this thread, which has taken me off onto a tangent, away from early Christianity per se and onto what it means to be a university professor at a research institution such as UNC.  That other post – hopefully tomorrow – will be about why tenure is absolutely essential for this kind of job, even if it is highly unusual anywhere else (unheard of, of course, in the business world).  But before then, ...

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The Academic Tenure Situation

In my previous post I discussed what a professor at a research university does with his or her time.   I did not go into detail about a lot of the really time consuming obligations, which I may at some point devote a post to.   For now I want to deal with one other thing that I mentioned in yesterday’s post:  the question of tenure.   Most people in the rest of the working world have trouble getting their mind around what ...

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A Day In the Life of a Research Professor

I sometimes get asked what it is that professors in universities actually do.   The question is usually raised when someone realizes that at a major research university, most professors teach two classes a semester.  Classes tend to involve three hours of class time per week.   But that means a professor is in the classroom only six hours a week.  Is this a full time job?  Are you serious??  And on top of that you have tenure so that you can, ...

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My Apostolic Fathers Seminar/Syllabus

I am preparing for classes, now as we speak.  In the Fall term, which begins (moan and groan) in next week, I’ll be teaching two classes, my “first-year seminar” called “Jesus in Scholarship and Film,” and my PhD seminar on “The Apostolic Fathers.”   My Jesus course will be pretty much like last year’s, with a few tweaks (including a full showing of the Life of Brian!); if you’re interested in the basic layout, I posted my syllabus from last year ...

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Hiatus: A New Teaching Company Course

Another brief hiatus as we near the end of my thread on the burial traditions of Jesus, occasioned by the inquiries of several members of the blog, and others not on the blog, about my new course for the Teaching Company (the company is also called The Great Courses).

A couple of days ago my new course on “How Jesus Became God” came out.  It is obviously based (roughly) on the book of the same title.   The Course consists of twenty-four ...

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