Beginning August 1st, 2014, I have officially been the brand new professor of Biblical Studies at Baptist College of Ministry in Menomonee Falls, WI, for which I thank the Lord. Fortunately, I do not actually teach a class until late September (a 9-week block), but at that point I will be teaching Jewish History (junior-level college), Beginning Biblical Hebrew (seminary) and Composition and Rhetoric (college freshman level class, focusing on research and writing). [A Bible college prof has to be flexible J All this is somewhat ironic since I’m a New Testament guy, but I’m just happy to be teaching the Bible! All these will be fun classes, but I’m really, really looking forward to Hermeneutics, which I’ve been promised for Spring 2014]
Already, since moving up here, my father and I have attended an multiple-school faculty summit and presented papers, and I have also submitted said paper to a journal for publication (first time in about 3 years I’ve submitted a paper; we’ll see what comes of it). Here, however, are my priorities now that I’m preparing to teach: first tier, second tier, and third tier
First Tier Responsibilities: Those directly related to classes and the church
1. My very first action as professor, which occurred technically before I was officially staff, was to choose a textbook for Beginning Biblical Hebrew (I went with Pratico/Van Pelt’s Basics of Biblical Hebrew after consulting with some esteemed Hebrew teachers). This was important because, although I made some minor changes to Jewish History, adding the Zondervan Bible Atlas (but still kept last year’s textbook, Merrill’s Kingdom of Priests), in Hebrew I was making some more substantial changes.
2. Begin putting together syllabi: Jewish History has been a huge priority here, because laying out the class schedule and content is less intuitive than working off of the textbook in Beginning Biblical Hebrew. Also, the textbook does not go as far as AD 70, which is where the class is supposed to go. I’ve also begun putting together new syllabi for Hebrew and Comp/Rhetoric, but Jewish History definitely takes priority.
3. Begin personal research for classes: once again, Jewish History takes priority here, since I’m starting from scratch; Hebrew will be fairly easy to construct a syllabus, figure out the content (although starting next week I intend to start my own program of Hebrew review; I’ve already started daily readings out of my Hebrew OT). For Jewish History, I’ve purchased a number of books at my own expense, especially benefitting from John Sailhamer’s short but handy Old Testament History and also Rooker/Merrill/Grisanti’s OT Intro The World and the Word, also K. A. Kitchen’s On the Reliability of the Old Testament.
4. Become integrated with my local church: while this should be a high priority for any professor, it’s especially important for me since BCM is a ministry of a local church. As an employee of the college, I am also an employee of the church. I am looking forward to being plugged in to ministry here and contributing to the overall mission.
Second Tier Responsibilities: Personal Research, part 1; thinking of Spring ‘14
1. I am extremely grateful that by this point my book is done, in the final stages of production, and I look ahead to my next publishing endeavors. First of all, though, I really, really need to get back into Theological German so I am going to try to start a nightly program of studying German and reading the German Bible. This is essential if I want to continue contributing to Biblical scholarship.
2. Next two articles, next book: at this point I’ve started laying the groundwork for two more articles, ideally (and maybe naively) that I hope to finish by the end of the year and submit to publications. My next book has also started to coalesce in my mind, but it will be a simpler, less-academic and more practical book for which I have already started doing research.
3. Looking ahead to next semester: I already have ideas for Hermeneutics. I need to start formulating what I want to do with that and the other classes.
4. By the way, a really important note: in the fantastic book Those Who Can, Teach: Teaching as a Christian Vocation, ed. Porter, there’s an essay in there called “From Doctoral Program to Classroom” by Steven Studebaker which talks about how, even when you’re not teaching classes that necessarily tied directly in with your dissertation, you can still benefit from researching for those classes (both by broadening your horizons and figuring out how they can tie in with your research goals).
Third Tier Responsibilities: Personal Research, part 2
1. Once I start fulfilling my other responsibilities and goals at a satisfactory clip, I can start to think of my next truly academic book (hint: something to do with Peter again . . .)
2. And, I also have some other articles that I want to get off the carrier, at least, though they may be shot down by the SAM missiles of peer-review, but enough with this silly analogy, full-afterburners ahead!
And, always a 1st-tier, 2nd-tier, and 3rd-tier responsibility simultaneously, be thanking the Lord that I’m actually in such a position to be blogging on this topic as a teacher!