I’ve been concerned for the past months (among many other things, of course) about PhD’s trying to get teaching positions in colleges and universities. Even when there is not an economy-busting pandemic, it’s hard. Very hard. Many years ago when I was on the market, I had an awful time trying to find a job .

Oddly enough, I see now, I posted on this very topic, on this very date during the first year of the blog (2012). Here’s what I said then.


My students are alternatively comforted and chagrined to learn how hard it was for me to get a teaching position. It makes them feel good that they are not alone, but bad that they too might have a hard time – even harder. I was on the job market while I was writing my dissertation.. And even though there were job openings, I couldn’t get an interview to save my soul. Part of the problem was that my PhD was from a theological seminary, and a lot of the jobs were at secular institutions – state universities, private colleges, and the like. Most places simply don’t want to take a chance on someone who has been trained in a theological environment. Especially someone like me at the time. I had never set foot in a secular setting since high school! Starting when I was 17, I was at Moody Bible Institute (3 years), Wheaton College (2 years), and then Princeton Seminary (7 years). Yikes!

And even theological schools and Christian colleges were not, by and large, interested in me, in no small measure because of my area of expertise. Greek manuscripts? Patristic citations of the New Testament? Didymus the Blind??? Are you kidding? Most places wanted someone who was an expert on the letters of Paul, or the Gospel of John, or biblical hermeneutics, or – well, or anything besides what I was an expert in.

I tried my best to convince schools that I was not a typical textual critic and that I had broad range across the New Testament and related fields. I could teach Introductory courses in NT and OT, courses on Paul, on the Synoptics, on John, on … you name it! And I published articles in other areas of NT studies to prove it. But it was a tough job market, and no one saw any reason to take a chance. There were tons of other candidates who actually looked like the sort of thing they were looking for. The cards were really stacked against me.

I don’t believe in miracles, but if I did, this would be one. I was …

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