Dissertation thoughts

Sometime before the end of the exam term I need to have a good idea of what my honours dissertation is going to be and also identify a possible supervisor. My big problem is narrowing things down to a manageable research area. I like the ‘big picture’ stuff. The nitty-gritty can get frustrating sometimes.

Anyway, I think I may have identified a few possible areas of study and they cover my two main areas of interest which are Biblical studies and theology.

My main inspiration has come from NT Wright’s ‘Surprised by Hope’. My earlier post on it probably didn’t do justice to just how inspiring I found the book. So, I’ve come up with a few possibilities for further research.

  • The scriptural portrayal of heaven.
  • The scriptural understanding of resurrection and the ‘new heaven and the new earth’.
  • Does a focus on heaven devalue God’s ‘very good’ creation?

They can all be approached theologically or through Biblical interpretation, although the last one has a greater theological bias. Anyway, I’ve fired off my general ideas to a couple of potential supervisors and I’ll see what they have to say.

In the meantime, I need to focus on revision for my forthcoming exams.

2 responses to “Dissertation thoughts”

  1. Here is an article by Wright pointing out the evilness of the world that God created. http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/meanings-of-christmas-in-the-new-world-there-will-be-no-more-sea-495528.html

    ‘The ancient Jewish writers saw the sea as evil. It floods and destroys the world. It stands between the Israelites and freedom. It rages horribly; monsters come out of it. There is a hint that God had to overcome the dark primal waters in order to create the world in the first place….. the final book of the Bible declares that in the new world, now already begun with his resurrection, there will be no more sea.”

    Strange, because Wright is always saying that ancient Jewish writers saw the world as good.

    One thing to write about in your dissertation could be why Paul pleads in Romans 7:24 to be rescued from his body. ‘There is nothing good in my flesh’, writes Paul elsewhere.  Try to find such clear statements about the flesh in ‘Gnostic’ writers.

  2. Steven,

    Thanks for those ideas and the link. I’m certainly not so taken with Wright that I think he’s beyond criticism and areas such as you suggest certainly help flesh out a dialogue with him.

    And, just to be pedantic, Paul pleads for a release from ‘this body of death’. It’s not the body as such, rather it is this state of ‘incomplete’ or ‘imperfect’ embodiment that he wants release from.

    Actually, that’s maybe not such a bad verse to focus on. Apparently, last year, one person did a very good dissertation based on just five words from a verse of scripture. Small, it seems, is good because it allows depth. So, Steven, you may well have just given me my dissertation subject.

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