Recently Review of Biblical Literature published a review of my 2011 book, Prepare, Succeed, Advance: A Guidebook for Getting a PhD in Biblical Studies and Beyond (Wipf & Stock). The reviewer was Michael Suh, a doctoral student at Emory.
Mike made a number of encouraging, positive comments, for which I am thankful. He also had some minor suggestions, which are all worthwhile considerations. He notes that American schools may require an interview with the candidate and that there is some prep work involved. I do not mention this, so hopefully there are resources online to give students some guidance in that area. Mike also offers the reminder that smaller projects (articles, reviews) should not get in the way of finishing the dissertation – he is right and he notes that that is implicit in my discussion. In my own experience, I tried to publish condensed versions of chapters or extraneous research from my dissertation that would not end up in the final text. These are ways to maximize efficiency, but each person must decide what is feasible for him or her. To be honest, sometimes I needed a distraction from slogging through with the dissertation, so a short article (even if it takes up a rabbit trial) was a welcome diversion. I wouldn’t recommend to others getting off-track, but it worked out fine for me.
Interestingly, my first article published was on 2 Thessalonians (JSNT) and it had nothing to do with my dissertation whatsoever. Now, 8 years after I wrote that article, I am writing two books (and maybe 3) on 1-2 Thessalonians. So, it was a distraction then, but happy now that I did it anyway!
Thanks again Mike for being a careful (and kind!) reviewer!