16 July 2008

Progress Report (Year One)

Well if "[i]t has been a long time since we've done just a general update of our lives," it has most certainly been even longer since I've posted something. So long in fact that I cannot remember if I have! Anyway, I have been thinking for awhile now that I should let our (really Rachel's) faithful readers know how my studies are coming along. So here goes.

A major accomplishment for this year has been determining exactly what I'm going to argue in my thesis and how it will help the "academy" and the Church understand the Bible. As to what that is, since originality is a MAJOR requirement for a PhD, I really shouldn't say specifically in such a public forum. For now, I will say that I'm looking at an aspect of the Letter to the Ephesians. If you're just dying to know, feel free to email us:-)

Since my program is all about writing a 100'000 word thesis, I will also say that thus far I've written a little over 26'000 words. That works out to a little over 70 pages. My supervisor has seen about 2/3 of this and seems to really like what I've put together so far. Hopefully I'll be able to submit something to him soon that will show him where I'll actually be going in a good portion of my thesis.

As far as what I've actually written, most of it has been an analysis of various books (mainly other dissertations/theses) that examine my research topic. I have also explained the primary methodology (something from literary criticism called "intertextuality") I will be using to examine the texts that will hopefully help me prove my argument. Finally, I am somewhere between 50%-60% through my second chapter where I will be looking at Genesis 1-2 and some other texts in the Pentateuch (the first five books in the Bible). On the one hand, I do really wish I were a little further ahead and probably would be if my German were better (way too many Germans have already written on my topic). But, I really am thankful to God for giving me the strength to be where I am at as I am still ahead of schedule!

I've also spent some time improving my German, relearning Hebrew, reading Jewish stuff like the Dead Sea Scrolls, reading stuff about Paul, and various other things. But, the vast majority of my time is spent working through my thesis and I very much make this a priority. I've also written a book review and may get the chance to present a paper at the conference in Providence Rachel mentioned in the previous post.

In short, my first year has gone pretty well overall. I have a topic that I am excited about and words cannot describe how important that is. My goal is to write 1000 words a week, which works out to about 2.5 pages of solid material. This doesn't sound like much, but it is a reasonable pace that will allow me to stay on track. I would covet your prayers in this regard.

God bless,
Mark

P.S. Glad you have the update from his side of things now. See what I mean he is cut out for this!? Rachel :)

1 comment:

Celucien L. Joseph said...

Good progress man! You're ahead of the schedule. Keep up the good work.

Lou