Dissertation dilemmas

Some time over the next few weeks I’m supposed to come up with some ideas for my dissertation for next year. I’m really struggling to narrow things down though. I have an interest in theology, Biblical interpretation and Biblical criticism. My initial idea was to consider how a ‘reader-response’ approach to Biblical criticism is shaped by the theology a person is exposed to. That was given a general nod of encouragement but I was told to narrow it down to something in particular, but I can’t think what.

I then thought about pursuing the line of ‘how the Bible interprets itself’ – but, again, I’ll need to come up with specifics such as how Paul uses particular Hebrew scriptures for example.

But then I had another thought. I’ve been reading N.T. Wright’s ‘Surprised by Hope’ (more on that another time) and found it really fascinating. His main theme is that the western church pretty much ignores the Biblical teaching on ‘the new heavens and the new earth’ to focus on heaven as an end in itself. He discusses the whole idea of resurrection and what it means and it’s got me quite fascinated, so now I’m thinking of following this as a possible avenue of study. To be honest, I could probably still tie it in with theology and all the rest, but, again, it’s a case of narrowing it down to something manageable.

Ho! Hum! something to let stew at the back of the mind for a little while anyway.

2 responses to “Dissertation dilemmas”

  1. Hi John… well I remember the problem you face. I did mine on Biblical Interpretaion through the ages looking at Paul, Aquinas, and Calvin among others. Nothing particularly original, but it allowed me to indulge my passion for Biblical Interpretation.
    Enjoy the process of narrowing things down. You may find that something leaps out of the page at you to help !

  2. Wright is especially good on explaining the metaphors in Hebrews 1 :-

    In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth,
    and the heavens are the work of your hands.
    They will perish, but you remain;
    they will all wear out like a garment.
    You will roll them up like a robe;
    like a garment they will be changed.

    The heavens and earth will be rolled up and discarded, in the way that clothes are changed.

    The old clothes that have perished are thrown away, and replaced with new clothes.

    The old clothes are rolled up and thrown away.

    As I said, Wright is very good on explaining this ‘clothing’ metaphor, which many people cannot understand.

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