The Old Testament Isn't Dead Yet!

On my 'must read' list this summer is Brent A. Strawn's The Old Testament is Dying: A Diagnosis and Recommended Treatment. I won't be interacting with the book here, because I haven't read it yet, obviously, but I'll recommend Prof. Strawn's interview on OnScipt for those who are interested. That's what I'm interacting with here. Strawn uses the analogy of a dying language to explain the Old Testament's increasing irrelevance in society. When I read the book this summer I'll interact with it here.

The point of this post is celebratory. Where I teach we offer OT only in the fall semester. World Religion and NT are offered in fall and spring. This shows OT is already the third wheel of religious studies (oddly). Last fall on the first day of classes I had 2 blocks for a total of 15 students. By the end of the first week, three students had dropped the course already apparently not convinced it would be enjoyable. I ended the semester with 11. Nevertheless, my PD goal was to double the initial enrollment in OT for fall 17 over fall 16.

Good news.

Presently, with a whole summer for changes, my two blocks of OT contain 20 and 15 students for a total of 35. That exceeds my goal of doubling! 

This last year I had 70 students across 5 blocks of NT (compared with 15 in 2 blocks of OT). For this fall, I have 17 NT students and 32 in the spring. So the gap between OT-NT has shrunk from 70>15 to 49>35 with many of my NT students in the spring having been my OT students in the fall!  

Dissertation/Thesis Submitted!

Well, it's done. I don't want to look at it, or even think about it, until a few weeks before I defend it in late July. As of today my dissertation/thesis has been submitted to the University of Bristol via Trinity College Bristol. If I look at it again I'll find something else that's wrong that I want to correct, but as they say: 'Perfect is the enemy of the good.' So away with thee! 

The title? Jesus the Baptizer: The Reception and Interpretation of the Baptist-Prophecy in the Synoptic Gospels and the Book of Acts

Testing a New Textbook

I've settled on a textbook I'll test-drive next semester: The Abingdon Introduction to the Bible: Understanding Jewish and Christian Scriptures edited by Joel S. Kaminsky, Joel N. Lohr, and Mark Reasoner. I'd like to thank Anthony Le Donne for the recommendation. Since my students are mostly Catholic and Protestant, with a few Jewish students, and several of various or no religious affiliation, this book was the best choice because it is written from three perspectives: Jewish, Protestant, and Catholic! Next year I'll try to document its reception by my students on this blog.