New Job: Religious Studies Teacher at TMI-The Episcopal School of Texas

Today I received my salary agreement in the mail, so I guess now is as good a time as any to announce that I will be joining TMI-The Episcopal School of Texas as the new Religious Studies Teacher for the 2016-2017 academic year. My responsibilities include teaching Hebrew Bible, New Testament, comparative religion, introduction to philosophy, and an elective. I am thrilled by this opportunity, one that seemingly appeared out of the blue. 

I have added a new page to this website where I will be including resources for the classes I'll be teaching. Feel free to recommend anything you think would be fitting!

Books Received (03/31/2016)

I want to write a quick note here acknowledging the reception of a few books in the mail or via Kindle. First, Yoram Hazony's God and the Politics of Esther. While I haven't finished it yet, I've been a big fan of his The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture. In God and the Politics of Esther Hazony is reading the text with philosophical eyes to see what it says about politics and faith when God is not named as a central character. 

Second, Mark Roncace's God's Story: The Biblical Epic from Abraham to Exile. This book is marketed as "a reader-friendly version of the core Old Testament narrative that is faithful to the original and highly enjoyable and entertaining." Roncace refers to it as "The Message Bible squared". 

Third, A.J. Swoboda's The Dusty Ones: Why Wandering Deepens Your Faith. In this book the author argues that "wandering" is not contrary to faith, but an essential part of it for "God's people". He writes for those who are "restless, doubtful, or questioning". 

While not sent to me, I did pick up the following books at the library and have begun browsing/reading them too: Nyasha Junior's An Introduction to Womanist Biblical Interpretation; Thomas A. Lewis' Why Philosophy Matters for the Study of Religion—And Vice Versa; and Soundings in Cultural Criticism: Perspective and Methods in Culture, Power, and Identity in the New Testament edited by Francisco Lozada, Jr., and Greg Carey.   

Good Friday (2016)

I have two things to say this Good Friday and only two things.

First, Good Friday is this: The day the Nietzsche on my left shoulder shakes hands with the St. Paul on my right. "God is dead," they say in unison.

Second, if you haven't already, please read James Cone's The Cross and the Lynching TreeCrucifixion is shameful. It is embarrassing. It is weak. But can it holy? Can it be powerful? 

Sheppard's The Craft of History and the Study of the New Testament

Beth M. Sheppard's The Craft of History and the Study of the New Testament (Resources for Biblical Study; Atlanta: SBL, 2012) is a helpful volume because it creates a dialogue between historians and biblical/New Testament scholars. Historians have a variety of methods that they've applied to their discipline and the same is true of biblical scholars, but often these two fields of expertise don't cross paths. Sheppard writes to an audience of biblical scholars about what historians are doing.

I found the book to be insightful, thought-provoking, even inspiring at points. Sheppard talks a lot about "theoretical underpinnings" and a philosophy of history, which are both things many biblical scholars may not take the time to consider. Her history of historiography is very helpful because it shows the reader how history-writing has morphed over the centuries and explains some of the current schools of thought in operation today. Sheppard even writes three "case-study" type chapters where she shows how the methods used by historians have been and may further be applied to the study of the New Testament. If you're searching for an introductory book of this sort I'd recommend this one. I know I'll be able to build upon reading it by studying more about the different historians, philosophies, and methods discussed in the book.