Monday, May 28, 2007


I wanted to pass along the word that I have officially submitted my doctoral dissertation to the university. The title is: "Disloyalty and Destruction: Religion and Politics in Deuteronomy and the Modern World." Just makes you want to snap it up for some light bedtime reading, eh?

The next step is to schedule my defense, which is called a "viva" here (short for, viva voce, which means by "live voice"). I will be examined by two specialists in the Old Testament. My "internal examiner" is Dr. Stuart Weeks, who represents the department of Theology and Religion here at Durham University. My "external examiner" is Prof. Jon Levenson of Harvard Divinity School. He is a specialist in the subject area of my dissertation and is known to be very sharp indeed. In case you are interested, his books are quite accessible, and two recent ones are on topics that are of interest to a Christian audience, but taken from his own Jewish perspective: The Death and Resurrection of the Beloved Son: The Transformation of Child Sacrifice in Judaism and Christianity and Resurrection and the Restoration of Israel: The Ultimate Victory of the God of Life. Interestingly, my supervisor, Prof. Walter Moberly, is uninvolved in evaluating my work -- his job of getting me to this point is done!

My viva will likely be scheduled for July or August. I hope the outcome will be "pass with minor changes," which would mean that there are typos to be fixed, some small adjustments to the text to correct misstatements, and some footnotes to be added here or there. If major changes are required, it will mean some more work, but all in the interest of producing a better product in the end. I'll keep you posted.

(By the way, the relevant article in Wikipedia is quite informative about the process of examining a doctoral dissertation, particularly on the differences between the US and UK.)

I'm particularly appreciative of Crystal and Ellie supporting me during this final push. The past few weeks have been pretty intense in pulling it all together. Of course, they've been tremendously supportive all along, but even more so recently. I love you both!

And since I know you really come here for pictures of Ellie instead of school updates, I won't leave you disappointed.


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