I resonate with Larry Hurtado’s brief statement about N.T. Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God project. Hurtado first mentions his admiration for Wright (which I would echo). But he also expresses surprise that Wright could not find a way to speak his mind, as it were, with less words and pages. I agree with this concern. I am afraid that, in fifty years when students want to read up on this “N.T. Wright” figure that the professors keep mentioning, few of them will turn to PFG. Fortunately Wright has written several shorter books on Paul, and I suspect those will become the “reader’s digest” for PFG for future students. I am enjoying the marathon of reading through PFG, but, if I weren’t especially aiming for writing a review, I am not sure that I could endure to the end (or resist the temptation to skip ahead to more central portions).
I just ran across this insightful post by Joseph Ryan Kelly over at kolhaadam. Nearly every year I have a student or two express the desire to puruse a PhD in the field of Biblical studies, and nearly every time I end up having to provide a long list of “cons” just to make sure I have covered all of the potential pitfalls. I am very passionate about what I do and I really want to encourage my students as they develop that same passion. That said, I want to err on the side of realism. Those of us who have spent any time in the job cycle know how difficult it can be to languish as an underpaid adjunct with a highly specialized terminal degree while 50 or 60 of us compete over a handful of open positions each year. Kelly writes along these lines and also offers a few helpful perspectives on the infusion of interdisciplinary interests and backgrounds in the field of Biblical studies.