It has been 3-4 months since my book, Prepare, Succeed, Advance (Wipf & Stock) hit shelves and I have appreciated the positive feedback from scholars and students. Below I want to present a few words from respected scholars, again not to “toot my own horn,” but to help a book by a nobody (me!) to gain some traction. Please do check the book out if you are considering doing a PhD in Bible/theology. I wrote this book precisely because I needed something like this for myself and did not find it.
People who fancy doing a PhD as a bit of a hobby, pottering away at a topic of interest before going back into their previous occupation, might be as well giving Nijay Gupta’s book a miss. It will just frighten them, with its talk of extensive pre-course training in languages, first-century context, etc, then the demanding plans for well-executed study at the same time as presenting lots of conference papers, submitting publication proposals, and teaching. However, for anyone who is serious about attempting the long-shot that is PhD study with the hope of actually getting a decent job at the end, this book is full of wisdom born of experience. Nijay’s advantage is that he actually did all this stuff and did it very recently. Of course, the flip-side of Nijay being a recent PhD graduate is that sometimes, as a PhD supervisor, I felt that his advice on research process could have covered some other possibilities, and his programme for pre-study preparation is so extensive that some people might defer starting PhD indefinitely. At Manchester, if the key ancient languages are in good shape before starting, we do let students pick up modern ones early in PhD study time (it does, of course, slow you down). Anyway, this is a very useful book to put into the hands of the serious aspiring biblical scholar. — Peter Oakes, Greenwood Senior Lecturer in the New Testament (Manchester University)
This unique work provides detailed and helpful advice for those interested in pursuing doctoral programs and seeking positions in biblical studies, covering everything from PhD applications to writing book reviews. I cannot think of anything like it. I would have profited from it in my earlier years and even now have learned from it about the shapes of some kinds of doctoral programs that differed from my own. — Craig S. Keener, Professor of New Testament (Asbury Theological Seminary)
Prepare, Succeed, Advance is just the sort of book I would have liked to have had when I began to wonder about doing doctoral work. The information about and system of post-graduate studies is not easy to access nor to navigate. There is tremendous need for Gupta’s book. Although one might shore up items here and there, Gupta’s work fills a niche. Since finishing my doctoral work at Marquette (1999), in order to help the many student coming to me with such questions, I have co-written an article in the Asbury Journal (2008) outlining perspectives and strategies that Gupta has fully elaborated upon (and more) in this helpful book. Now, I can point them to Gupta. I have already recommended Gupta’s book to several students, and will continue to do so. — Fredrick J. Long, Associate Professor of New Testament (Asbury Theological Seminary)
Gupta has provided for students in biblical studies a succinct yet comprehensive overview and analysis of the PhD process from first to last. This is the book I needed before, during, and after my PhD in Britain. Notwithstanding the complex issues that are covered with necessary brevity, Prepare, Succeed, Advance offers not only an overview of the issues, decisions, and processes involved in doctoral studies , but also scores of practical insights and suggestions that are drenched with professional evaluation and personal experience. It is, in short, a snapshot of academic biblical studies from teaching assistant to assistant professor. This book is a must read for any student even considering a PhD in biblical studies and a handy resource for faculty and institutions who are seeking to give guidance to their students. — Edward Klink III, Assistant Professor of New Testament (Talbot School of Theology, Biola University)