Tag Archives: registration

The Hour of Decision

It’s decision time again, or nearing it. One of the pleasures of school life is selecting next year’s classes and perusing their syllabi. It’s also a pain trying to make the classes I want to take work with the classes I need to take as part of the program.

Decision A — Last fall I had decided to take the month-long intensive Greek course in May. Getting this introductory class out of the way will open up my choices for next year.  However, I had been warned by several people that when you take a month-long intensive language course you give up your life. I was dubious. They are morning classes. Surely I would be able to study in the afternoon and spend the evening at home with my family. And then last Friday a professor actually confirmed what had been told to me by students: with the intensive courses, you sell your soul to the language for that month.  I’m not sure I want to do that.

An additional quandary is that in May there will also be a couple of interesting modules taught by scholars from outside the school. Most notably, perhaps, is Tremper Longman III’s class on Proverbs, but there’s also Grant R. Osborne’s class on Hebrews.  Both Proverbs and Hebrews tend to be regarded as somewhat mysterious books which people are unsure of how to use. There is also a third, core course available at the end of May.

So many angles to consider: the subject matter; program requirements; unusual professors (e.g. scholars from the outside); which faculty members will be teaching the languages (they alternate from year to year); which courses will fit within the parameters of my program; which courses should be taken before which; which courses will require fewer other courses in the same semester; etc.

One of the frustrations is being “forced” by my program into not taking classes that I would like to.  Of course, I can take any course I want to, but at some point they will fall outside of my program requirements (credit and/or subject-wise). $1,000 a pop for courses which will not apply towards my degree is a bit steep. And auditing isn’t always a realistic choice. This semester, for instance, I had hoped to take 3 classes from a professor who will be leaving at the end of the semester, but because of scheduling conflicts and program requirements, I could only take one.

I want to make this decision soon, but unfortunately next year’s class schedule will not be available until mid-April. And next year’s class schedule will have a bearing on my choices for May’s classes.

Decision B — A fellow student alerted me to this once-in-a-lifetime deal on Karl Barth’s 14-volume Church Dogmaticsa savings of 90%–or NINE HUNDRED DOLLARS! ($100 for a $1,000 set)–on a foundational work of theology. My first impulse was to jump on the bandwagon and purchase the volumes (this is a pre-release special).  But then I realized from a short-term monetary perspective I could not justify the purchase. Plus there is the monument to impulse buys which is much of our property, including a number of our books. Plus there is the fact that I’m not likely to read them all.  So I had put that thought off for a while.

I mentioned it to my theology professor today–admittedly a Barthian–and he said that this was a price I’d never get again and that it is a reference work, essentially a set of commentaries which would be extremely useful to me (he also noted that he–a Barthian–had only read about 60% of it). He said that he wasn’t just suggesting that I buy it–he implored me to get these books. And when you consider the long-term monetary perspective, it does make some sense.

Registration, etc.

Not much to say these days, I’ll be honest.  The semester is winding down, which is reflected in my Busy-ness to Inspiration ratio.  I have two short papers left to write, as well as one final exam, and I’m done.  Hard to believe, actually. I’m already gearing up mentally for next semester.  I’m hoping to read a book or two for next semester’s over Christmas.

I registered for next semester’s classes today.  I’m registered for four, but I might bring it down to three.  We shall see.  My course lineup was pre-set for the most part, partly because two of the courses I’m in right now are actually year-long courses.  Also, my program doesn’t have many electives and there are two courses I need to take in my first year, one of which is offered in the winter semester.  Right now I’m registered for:

  • Theological Foundations II (I’m currently in TF I)
  • Introductory Hebrew II (I’m currently in Hebrew I)
  • Hermeneutics
  • Theology and Practice of Christian Spirituality and Formation

I’m not fully convinced of my winter line-up.  It will be my Theological Foundations professor’s last semester at the seminary before moving to New Zealand to take up a new academic post there.  I’ve enjoyed his classes immensely and hoped to take an extra class from him.  But given my program requirements, it looks like I’ll just have to go with the one.  I could take it instead of Hermeneutics, but I’ve been advised that Hermeneutics would be a useful class to have under my belt for more advanced courses.

I had a look at the Hermeneutics syllabus. It’s a bit confusing, but from what I can make out, it looks a little scary. One of the textbooks is this 600-page tome: The Hermeneutical Spiral. It looks interesting, but I’m a little nervous about reading the whole book in one semester (if that’s required). The text is pretty small. And it’s a big book.

Two of the texts for Theological Foundations II are Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Life Together and Lauren Winner’s Girl Meets God.  I know we own both of these books already, but I can’t find them.  Of course not.

That is all.