“I confess that I am constantly appalled by the scarcity of my knowledge, and the one resentment I think I carry concerns the many pressing demands which limit the opportunity for reading.” President Gordon B. Hinckley, in The Voice of My Servants (BYU Religious Studies Center, 2010): 61.
I have the opposite problem; right now I am doing nothing but reading. Due to time and stress related to preparing for my qualifying exams and dissertation proposal, I will not be posting anything new or updating my Gospel Doctrine posts until June. If you’re looking for them, you can use the category or date selector at the bottom of the page. I’ve also cut out or blocked myself from virtually all my distractions and other activities. It’s eat, sleep, read, and study, for the next 59 days.
Here’s an idea of what I’m studying for. I have three 4-hr exams in American Religious History, Reformation History, and History of Science. Each has a list of books, articles, and questions I’m expected to be able to answer from memory at length, naming events, dates, people, schools of thought, authors arguing this or that position, etc. Here’s a short selection
- Discuss how the geological sciences of the 17th– through the nineteenth centuries interacted with the book of Genesis.
- Many mid-twentieth century scientists accepted the views of Karl Popper regarding how to tell science from non-science; but those views were seriously challenged by Thomas Kuhn. Briefly characterize Popper’s demarcation criterion and Kuhn’s revisions.
- Discuss the tensions amongst different kinds of authority which contributed to the Reformation and how different reformers (Magisterial, radical) tried to resolve those tensions.
- Discusses the major differences between reformations in Germany, Switzerland, and England.
- Trace the history and development of fundamentalism in American religion, culture, and politics, from its late nineteenth-century origins until today. Highlight major figures, trends, theological developments, and impacts.
- In what ways has religion shaped Americans’ attitudes, experiences, and perceptions of war? How did different religious groups respond to war(s) based on their particular theologies, polities, or experiences? Ground your answer by tying it to particular historical conflicts (Revolutionary War, Civil War, etc.)
I’ll propose my dissertation shortly after the oral defense of my written exams. So, I have a lot to do, but I will be back. In the meantime, you can follow my Facebook page, look up old New Testament posts, help me pay my tuition, buy books through Amazon (which lets me get MY books from Amazon), etc.
See you on the other side, I hope.