Below is the list of papers and their presenters for the Durham New Testament Seminar this term. I am very thankful that here at Durham the Seminar meets every week, rather than fortnightly (which is a great British way of saying “every other week”). On the off-weeks not listed below, our NT Faculty members will be leading the doctoral candidates in translations and discussions of early Jewish and Christian texts pertaining to Scriptural interpretation (Selections from 4 Maccabees, Pseudo-Philo, and Qumran are on the roster).
I must say, I am quite pleased to see two seminars directly concerned with John’s Gospel (my field of research). As a PhD candidate with a thesis project I deem worthwhile and exciting, it is both thrilling and intimidating to see a scholar of Prof. Bauckham’s rapport writing on something similar! I am sure to learn much by Easter….
16 January: Dr Wendy Sproston-North, “The Anointing in John 12.1-8: A Tale of Two Hypotheses”
30 January: Prof Francis Watson, “Prologue” to Gospel Writing: A Canonical Perspective
13 February: Prof Richard Bauckham (Emeritus Professor, University of St Andrews), “Divine and Human Community in the Gospel of John”
27 February: Dr Rodrigo Morales (Humboldt Research Fellow, Ludwig-Maximilians Universität, Munich), “1 Corinthians 6.9-20 and Baptismal Participation in Christ”
12 March: Dr Martin Kitchen, “Reading the Transfiguration: Characters and Plot”
The New Doctoral Programme…
Another exciting bit of news to pass on is that Durham’s Department of Theology is now offering a new option for potential PhD applicants. The new “Integrated PhD” extends the traditional British doctoral program from 3 years to 4. The clearest distinction between British and American PhD programmes is that the former does not require a list of courses but directs all emphases on a thick, specialized thesis to be completed after three years of research and writing under a primary and secondary Faculty supervisor. The American program is usually 5 years long, with the first 2 years devoted to coursework and a considerable amount of time focused on taking a range of “comps,” or competency exams. The result is that the longer American route is deemed more well-rounded, and the shorter British path a bit more specialized. Here in the UK, it is assumed that British PhD candidates will have already developed the competencies tested after a couple of years in the American system. The reality for American students entering a British program is that many of us are lagging behind, especially in terms of skills in German and French.
For this reason, it has become standard for the British programmes to expect of American applicants another Masters’ degree in addition to the M.Div. Durham’s new Integrated PhD is essentially an MA + PhD program, but students who are accepted will presumably get to avoid the stressful (and costly) process of re-applying for the doctoral course (as well as for the visa). The programme makes great sense and would be ideal for U.S. students who are interested in studying in the U.K. but have yet to gain enough confidence and clarity for a proper research proposal (a, if not the, major component in the application process) and need a bit more confidence in the area of languages and background material.
If you are so compelled to torture yourself with doctoral studies (like me), then this is a great option to look into!