This week I lectured on 1 Peter and the Book of Revelation for Trinity University's RELI-2355, The New Testament. Both talks were contextualized by how these books approach directing Christians to live under the Roman Empire. I realized that I have a lot of work to do in this area. It is not my expertise, at all, but I had fun with it. When I discussed 1 Peter I guided the students through the correspondence between Pliny the Younger and Emperor Trajan on what to do with Christians. This provided an excellent backdrop for how 1 Peter emphasized endurance in the face of perceived persecution and its advice to make sure not to suffer for legitimate crimes and evil behavior, but to embrace suffering with/for Christ. I spent the second half of the class guiding the students in their discussion groups as I broke down the body of the epistle inviting them to find certain themes (e.g., suffering, formation of Christian identity, recommended practices and behaviors, advice on how to relate to the Roman Empire). This cultivated a close reading of the text.
This morning's lecture on Revelation was exactly that—a lecture. I had a lot to introduce, including some modern misreadings (e.g., the Branch Davidians; the Left Behind novels), the genre of apocalyptic literature, how this book relates to the imperial cult (I presumed Domitian to be the evil emperor at the time of composition), and then guided them through chapters 1-11. It was fun, but tiring, and not as enjoyable as when I can invite more class participation. But sometimes lectures are necessary when there is a lot of new information. On Tuesday Prof. Dupertuis will be covering chapters 12-21, so hopefully I set the table for that class.
My internship ends in two weeks, i.e., four classes. I am not responsible for any of the remaining lectures, except in a support role. It has been a wild ride. I've learned so much under Prof. Dupertuis' mentoring. He's an exemplar educator. I have applied for an adjunct job at another local university for this fall, so we'll see if I'll have any more opportunities here in San Antonio in 2015. If not, this wasn't a bad way to end this stage of my "career" talking to a great bunch of students about a really fascinating and complex subject with much contemporary relevance.
[I'm going to Israel this summer. Are you interested in sponsoring me?]