When I Grow Up, Part 6

March 22, 2008 at 9:13 pm (Education, The Floppy Hat™)

Sometimes I wonder if I’m really cut out to do this whole Ph.D. thing. I know that I love Hebrew, I love the Old Testament, I love the Bible, and I wouldn’t want to do anything other with my career than teaching other people to love the Bible as well. Yet, sometimes I just don’t feel like a scholar.

For instance: I’d be lying if I called myself a “biblioblogger” – I hardly ever blog about the Bible anymore – I did more “biblioblogging” when I was in undergrad. To some extent that’s because I really don’t want to take the time it takes me to put together what I feel is a good post on the Bible – I have so much else to do, and when I have free time, I’ll be honest: I play video games or read a novel. I think of things to blog all the time, but I just don’t take the time. But shouldn’t I want to take that time? Another instance: there are many things that really excite me. I want to study dead languages, and the Old Testament. I have certain subjects that fascinate me and I could talk about indefinitely, but I don’t like having to read books written by scholars who are boring when they write, even on those subjects. I like engaging writing. Yet many of those books are “required reading.” Shouldn’t I want to read boring books? Isn’t that part of being a scholar? In fact, if I were a real scholar, would I really think they were boring? I feel like I’m not serious enough. I’m whimsical. Silly. Passionate. I don’t like the hoops I’m required to jump through. I don’t like the stifling mold I feel like I’m being forced into.

Maybe I just need to interact with more scholars on a personal level. Maybe my perceptions are just wrong. Maybe there’s someone kinda like me out there. Or maybe I’m just a square peg trying to fit myself into a triangle hole.



  1. Jay said,

    I highly doubt you’re the only one out there that finds some required reading boring. Unless a scholarly work is in your area of interest, the chances of it being engaging for you are small. Once you find that niche, maybe the reading will become more interesting too. For instance, while I love the languages, I can’t stand archaeology. I literally fall asleep trying to read archaeological reports–even those written for a wider audience. But archaeology is required for the field.
    Being “whimsical, silly, and passionate” are admirable traits that more scholars need to let loose in themselves–as long as you do good work, having character isn’t a bad thing.

  2. wezlo said,

    Maybe you’re just immersed in something so deeply at the moment that you’d rather take time to decompress and try and live up to an image of what you think you should be. It’s not like the MDiv students are all at home writing sermons on their blogs.
    OK, they might be writing bad theology on their blogs – but that’s the impulse of Evangelicals™ everywhere, not just wannabe pastors.

  3. Naomisu said,

    My Hebrew lecturer told me that I couldn’t just say that a lot of academic writing was rubbish, I had to say WHY it was rubbish. But rubbish it was, and I wanted to read books and articles that made sense, that increased my learning and my understanding of the Bible and deepened my knowledge of God through the ages. I majored in Classical Hebrew which certainly surprised me as I felt that the basis for understanding Christianity is the New Testament – the one that we certainly want to live and be judged by. However, I did my study in a secular university in a now defunct “Semitic Studies Department” (the death knell sounded from across the world on 9/11). It was the best place for me in my circumstances and my life. I had skirted the edges of Adventism much earlier and had consequently placed a much lesser value on the Old Testament because of what different groups make of it, often without reference to the New Testament.

    Studying at a secular university within a department which was partially funded by the local Jewish community encouraged me to show graciousness to both Jews and other more Evangelical Christians. (I don’t like being tagged and have gone from Methodist to Anglican to Pentecostal/Charismatic to Christ’s only). I learnt a lot about both Judaism and other forms of Christianity (one lecturer was Coptic). I was amazed at a lot of interpretation of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible especially that which tried to exclude Jewish beliefs and people. At one stage I liked collecting “Introduction to the Old Testament” books just to see the little differences that made the final interpretation often so radically different.

    If you really want to teach people then keep up the dream. You don’t know where God will lead both of you. If I hadn’t studied Hebrew and Greek 30 years after learning French and German at High School, I would not have looked at a lot of things the way I do now. I’m 58 and I would still like to teach both Greek and Hebrew. It may still happen for me.

    One thing that I do like is that those things I learnt about God through reading the Bible in English and striving to live a life in obedience to God over the years before I learnt Greek and Hebrew are only reinforced through the knowledge of these languages.

  4. wezlo said,

    Oh, please also understand that I went to a toys r us this past fall with a certain biblioblogger in order to download a special pokemon – don’t worry.

  5. Calvin said,

    I might also point out that a certain person also traded you an uberchoo or some such “nonsense.” 😉

    Still, I think the post brings up a good point about exactly how you want to do scholarship and what you want to be in the world of professors. That’s always a good thing.

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