An hour ago I finished my time at Maynooth College by hopefully acing an exam on the Wisdom literature. It is a curiously anti-climactic feeling. I returned some books to the library. I went to the supermarket to buy food for dinner. I did another round of laundry and now I am having a cup of coffee before dispatching my massive pile of accumulated notes to the the recycling bin.
This is what a theology degree looks like:
The secrets of my success are:
– Attend lectures.
– Take notes.
– Actually read the Bible (hence a little TNIV and not the massive NRSV Study Bible that always gets recommended).
– Start essays when you get the titles.
– Don’t get caught for time in exams.
The most valuable book over the last few years in terms of college courses has definitely been Walter Brueggemann’s guide to the Old Testament: The Canon and Christian Imagination. Brueggemann is the most readable Biblical scholar I have ever encountered. His readings are simultaneously deep, challenging and devotional. The value of this book has been not just in its excellent introduction to the Hebrew Scriptures but in the bigger picture way that it represents the formation of the Canon as an imaginative act in the past that determines the shape of our theological imagination in the present. At undergraduate level, this gets you out of a lot of tight corners, especially when it comes to writing essays and contributing to tutorials.
Your Correspondent, Like a Quaker in a strip club.