Apologies for not posting much – life is busy.
I love studying divinity.
Just thought I’d let you know.
All day, every day, I get to geek out on the subject that I love the most.
My classes for this semester are Biblical Studies, History of Christianity as a World Religion (Part 1) and Christian Ethics.
Biblical Studies is really interesting but probably the one I find challenges my beliefs/preconception the most. Learning how the Bible was composed is great but challenging when they tell you it’s basically an amalgamation of different myths and legends from surrounding cultures of the time. You kind of have to separate historical document and God breathed scripture in your head. We’ve finished the Old Testament already and started New Testament this week, so it’s quite fast paced! Both lecturers that I’ve had have been great – funny and engaging, easy to take notes from. My tutorial group is good too, though less academic, more bible study at times, and I have to restrain myself from telling them that it says such and such because God did it/said it/ commanded it and we just need to get over it. It’s good stuff at 10am every morning!
History could be amazing and the information, I’m sure, is but this is the lecture it is easiest to fall asleep in! Our lecturers are lovely people but not engaging at all really. We’re at about the year 800 at the minute so this too is really fast paced. I keep getting confused between Monophysites, Chalcedonians, Nestorians and Donatists. Our tutorial group is really great and our tutor makes it all good fun – she’s writing a PhD about transvestite monks! We got to learn about Antony (earliest monk) the other week and have looked at some other really interesting people too.
Christian Ethics is probably the most difficult subject to get your head around – lots of big philosophical stuff going on there but we’ve read stuff from legends like Augustine, Luther, Neibhur, Milbank and it’s really interesting. Our lecturer is an absolute legend! So smart it’s scary – leading scholar in the field of Christian Ethics and the Environment or something. Tutorials for this can be . . . difficult – would probably be the word. There are far more non-Christians on this course and it seems to become a debate about salvation and “why shouldn’t good people go to heaven” almost every week. There are some interesting points raised though and it’s good to be able to discuss all these big ideas we’re reading. I’m always a little disappointed though because I know the amazing conversations I would have with the folks from church at home about everything I’m reading – I might just make you do that next summer!!
There’s lots of reading involved. Fair bit of writing too. But when I make the time to do it all in an orderly fashion I really enjoy it.
The other thing about divinity, particularly at Edinburgh, is the community aspect of New College. Other lectures, of a couple of hundred people, you go in, sit down, take notes, leave and don’t speak to anyone but I have made some really great friends at New College. We go to Rainy Hall between lectures for a cup of tea (when I’m not in the library obviously!) and for lunch as well. We also half attempt to keep one another awake in lectures!
Maybe I’ll get round to posting about some specific topics some time? I’m sure you’d love that!