Endorsements for Prepare, Succeed, Advance

It is always a humbling thing to have a friend and/or scholar support your work. I am deeply grateful to the friends below  – also great scholars! – who gave my book their endorsement.

[The book is called Prepare, Succeed, Advance: A Guidebook for Getting a PhD in Biblical Studies and Beyond]

“Getting a PhD in biblical studies ain’t a walk in the park, it’s more like running for your life through the African Serengeti at meal time! Lucky for would be PhD students is that Dr. Nijay Gupta can be your tour guide as you start this journey. Nijay himself has been tried by the ordeal of a British doctorate, he’s a successful graduate who landed a job, and an accomplished author to follow up. If you want to know about the A-Z of doing and finishing a PhD in biblical studies, this book will show you the way and save you much pain and frustration too. Anyone serious about doctoral studies in the field of Bible or Theology should consult this volume first.”
Michael Bird
Lecturer in Theology at the Bible 
College of Queensland

“This volume is full of wisdom and advice from Gupta’s own experience and countless hours of conversation about the topic. Nijay Gupta is a reliable guide for PhD studies-dispelling the myths and misunderstandings of academia. Gupta’s Guidebook is essential reading for every stage of the journey.”
Daniel M. Gurtner
Associate Professor of New Testament
Bethel Seminary

“It is hard to imagine a more insightful or practical guide to obtaining a PhD in biblical studies and beginning one’s career in the field. Many budding scholars and their mentors will be ecstatic that Nijay Gupta has put his experience and wise counsel into print. I wish I had had such a book when I was starting out.”
Michael J. Gorman
The Ecumenical Institute of Theology
St. Mary’s Seminary & University

“There is quite literally a wealth of wisdom in these pages so quite a few will no doubt echo me in lamenting, ‘If only this was published when I was writing my PhD!’ Thankfully, this wonderfully helpful guide to the rigmaroles of PhD research also offers advice for those of us taking the first steps in teaching, publishing, conference paper presentation, and job hunting. This compact and lucid book will not only inform, inspire, and encourage at all kinds of levels, it could save many from the veritable smorgasbord of potential mistakes and traps that can beleaguer those with even the best of intentions. Read this book! You will only be doing yourself a favor.”
Chris Tilling
New Testament Tutor
St Mellitus College & St Paul’s Theological Centre

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Prepare, Succeed, Advance: Why Buy the Cow?

I have recently announced that my book Prepare, Succeed, Advance: A Guidebook for Getting a PhD in Biblical Studies and Beyond (Wipf & Stock) has been published. I know that some of you know my blog from the post “Interested in a NT PhD?”

So, you might naturally be asking, “Why buy the cow [the book] when you get the milk [the blog post] for free?”

Good question! This is important, because I want to ensure that folks understand that  the differences between the book and the post are many and significant.

#1: CONTENT – the book covers three major phases of academic life, while the blog post contains just one. The book deals with preparation for a PhD (Prepare), the successful writing of a dissertation and its defense (Succeed), and getting a job and beginning a teaching career (Advance). The blog post really only covers the first area.

#2: LENGTH – the book is about 4-6x longer than the blog post. However, I have re-worked the information so much that it is about much more than length. I have many lists and bibliographic notes that are not on the blog. In terms of quality of information, it offers far more than looking at page length.

#3: RESEARCH – when I chose to write the book, I had to actually back-up some of the information that I had only known through personal experience, rumors, and anecdotes. I did research on statistics for various matters. Some of the stats were quite shocking!

#4: EDITING: My editor, Chris Spinks, pushed back on some issues and challenged several statements I made. He definitely made this a much better book because of his keen editorial eye.

#5: MATURITY: I am not saying I am a wise old scholar now, but I wrote the blog post in bits and pieces during my PhD. Now I have had some time to think more, talk with scholars, and really “sit” with the issues. Knowing it will be a book in a library gave the matter more gravitas – I invested more of myself in making the book helpful and accurate.

#6: EFFICIENCY: On my blog, whether in one post or as a whole, the information is somewhat “stream of consciousness” – for the book, I wanted there to be a very clear and simple flow. I believe it is an easy book to find the information you are looking for.

#7: REFINEMENT: If you go to the blog post, it has scores of comments from readers. I have read through them all, but unless there was a glaring error, I did not change the blog post (it is hard to keep up!). However, I was careful in the book to take account of these comments.

#8: BEST PRACTICES: One of the enduring qualities of the book, I hope, is my advice on “Best Practices” for writing and research. This is not in the blog post, but it may be the most important thing I contribute in the book.

These are some of the reasons why you might be interested in buying the book, even if you have read the blog post on which it is roughly based. If the book had a heavy price-tag, I would not be recommending it (and I would not have written it!), since the very basic information is available elsewhere. However, since it is a reasonable $15, I think having it couldn’t hurt. It’s cheaper than the SBL Handbook of Style!

My New Book: Prepare, Succeed, Advance

I am very excited to announce that Wipf & Stock has recently published my little PhD guidebook called:

Prepare, Succeed, Advance: A Guidebook for Getting a PhD in Biblical Studies and Beyond

This book is a detailed expansion of some of the work that I did on my blog regarding getting into a PhD program, surviving it, and beginning a career in academia. It comes at a very reasonable price of $19.00, with W&S selling it at $15.20. I wrote this book because I really wish I had something like this seven years ago when I was contemplating doing PhD studies. It maps out, as best as I can offer, the appropriate preparation for a PhD as well as tips on choosing a school. There are a number of other features of the book like how to publish an article and book review, how to present a paper, how to do good research in Biblical studies, how to interview at a conference, and how to publish your dissertation as a monograph. Please do check it out and recommend it to others!

If you are wondering whether it is a repeat of what I wrote in my blog post Interested in a NT PhD, it is most definitely NOT. I did not copy and paste it into a file and publish it. I started from scratch, now that I have some distance from my PhD work. I reconsidered some things, added loads of new information, and I called up a number of current and recent PhD students to offer more perspectives on what I was talking about.

I will say that it is in the same spirit as my Interested in a NT PhD post, though I have much more to say in the book. It may help you to know that that original post has been “clicked” over 15,000 times since I first wrote it.

Finally, I will say that the blog post is exclusively about preparing for a PhD (not about doing one), whereas the book seeks to be comprehensive, beginning years before entering a program, following you through one, and following up afterward. I would say you could refer to it for some time after you begin a job as it offers some early career advice.

I have decided to leave to blog post Interested in a NT PhD up even though it may detract from the book’s purpose because I want that information available to the public. However, I want to emphasize that about 75% of the info in the book cannot be found in that post and some of the overlapping content has been re-directed, clarified or even changed.

New Horizons in Biblical Theology issue – themed

I have long confessed that Horizons in Biblical Theology is one of my favorite journals – one of only a few that I keep up with on a regular basis. The most recent issue is apparently themed, on the subject of universalism. I am very excited to read Bockmuehl’s article on the “inclusive Jesus.”  (Note: I copied and pasted the titles/authors below, but the links may not work)

Subscribed Content Content loaded within last 14 days Particularities and Universalities 
pp. 3-8(6)
Author: Greene-McCreight, Kathryn

Subscribed Content Content loaded within last 14 days The Trouble with the Inclusive Jesus 
pp. 9-23(15)
Author: Bockmuehl, Markus

Subscribed Content Content loaded within last 14 days Election Theology and the Problem of Universalism 
pp. 34-44(11)
Author: Kaminsky, Joel S.