Earlier in this semester I lectured on the gospels of John and Thomas, on the historical/historian's Jesus, on Paul's letter to the Galatians in the context of Jewish identity, and yet this week is the first time I sense any real nervousness or anxiety. I've been tasked with1 Peter this morning and the first part of Revelation on Thursday. I guess it boils down to familiarity. I have far less with these two subjects than I did the previous ones. But also may have something to do with these being the last lectures I'll give during my internship. The class ends in April, and I'll continue in a support role until then, but I won't be responsible for the whole class session beginning to end anymore after Thursday.
In part, I think my nervousness has more to do with pedagogical creativity than the relaying of content. I've been studying the Bible since my late teens. Even books like 1 Peter and Revelation are familiar enough to me that I can talk about them, especially when many of my student have little to no familiarity at all. But getting students to discuss these works in class? That's a different challenge and at least for today's lecture I've set up the class so that we succeed or fail based on student participation. It is easy to pack an hour or so with information. It is far more difficult cultivating a culture of close reading and open dialogue about interpretation. So the students won't be the only ones learning today and Thursday. Wish me luck!
[I'm going to Israel this summer. Are you interested in sponsoring me?]