Last time I wrote a little about my love for reading and the narrative of Scripture. From a young age I learned to value reading, and it’s a good thing! Doing a Master’s means that books are a very important part of my learning and development. I am especially thankful for an amazing wife who will patiently sit with me while I pore through all my required reading!
Two weeks ago during Trinity orientation, we all split into our respective majors to hear more about our program and its requirements. The OT Department Chair, Dr. Magary, spoke at length about his hope for students who go through the OT track. Old Testament graduates, he said, are given a thorough foundation (linguistic, textual, theological) that prepares them like none other for continuing study. Trinity students have a great reputation when moving on to other top institutions, because of the intensity of their Master’s level work.
A huge part of this is the outstanding faculty and integrative classroom experience. But another important aspect is the work that the student does on his/her own, namely reading.
In order to develop a holistic foundation for our area of study, the OT department has compiled a reading list that is to be completed before we are able to take our Comprehensive Exams at the close of our program. The books cover a range of topics: from biblical archaeology to biblical theology, linguistics to ancient Near Eastern history, grammar to hermeneutical interpretation. The list totals about 42 books of varying lengths (usually between 300-800 pages each).
I did the math — if I want to finish my MA in two years, I need to read ten books a semester — two books a month — in order to get through the entire list. This is in addition to all my other coursework!
I am so thankful for the ways that I am already being challenged in my program. Luckily I already own about 3 or 4 of the books on the list, and happened to have just finished reading a particularly lengthy book on Old Testament Theology (900 pages!). I am starting to make my way through, but there is still a lot of work ahead.
If you’re curious to see what I will be reading, I have compiled an Amazon Wish List to keep track of what books I still need. You will notice that I describe next to each entry what kind of material the book covers.
I thought of a fun way for you to stay connected to this whole process. As you browsed the Wish List, maybe a book caught your eye. Maybe you yourself are curious about what a particular book has to offer, and are especially excited for me to read it. Pick one! Would you consider sending me this book? It would be a huge help to my ability to work through this reading list.
Anytime I receive a book, I will put your name in the cover. Once I have finished reading, I will add your initials next to the title in the “completed book column” to the right. This will help me keep track of my progress and give you the chance to be a very important part of the process!
Here we go — good thing I love books!