In the last post that I made here, I proclaimed that I had reached the end of an era constituted by coursework. It would appear as if that post also marked the end of an era in blogging, as it has now been over one month since I last posted. I have not, in fact, decided to give up blogging – I have merely been occupying myself with other tasks.
So far this summer, I have been working on bibliographies for my doctoral qualifying examinations (DQEs). At Marquette, the DQE consists of compiling five bibliographies for five different professors: three in your own area of study (in my case, Scripture), and one in each of the other areas (so, one in historical theology and one in systematics/ethics). This exercise has for me been invigorating, intimidating and exhausting.
It is invigorating because as I wade through materials on the topics that I’ve chosen, I am able to contemplate the massive amount of material that I’ve waded through over the past few years. Opportunities to stop and examine the ground that you’ve covered are few and far between. I’m thankful to have such an opportunity this summer.
The process is intimidating because, in wading through materials for my bibliographies, I am reminded of the sheer volume of work that I have yet to encounter, let alone read. Granted, I have read much, but for every book or article that I have read there are at least ten more that I have not. In the past weeks I have added books to my bibliography that I’m ashamed to have not yet read (like Günther Bornkamm’s Jesus of Nazareth, for example), and others of which I was simply not aware (I will avoid embarrassing myself further by not listing those here).
Lastly, for obvious reasons, the process is exhausting. I’m not sure how many pages are included in each of my bibliographies. Truth be told, I have no interest in counting them, as it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. I’ve heard people say that DQE bibliographies tend to be around 1,500 – 2,000 pages a piece. That’s a lot of reading, regardless of how you divide it up.
There are other words that could be used to describe the process of studying for DQEs, and I’m sure that as the process moves along, these words will become more “colorful.” Currently, the process is mostly invigorating, although intimidation and exhaustion are certainly present already.
In the coming weeks and months, I hope that this blog will become a venue where I can begin to reflect on and synthesize some of this material.
To anyone who has not already declared this blog dead, I hope this post finds you in the midst of a productive summer!