Hitting the Books

Most of my days may not seem very exciting to most folks.  But I love what I do.  I spend 45-50 hours a week reviewing different works that address theological developments related to my research topic.  Every few weeks I generate a paper of at least 5,000 words to submit to my supervising professor(s).  We go over my paper and discuss new questions that the research generated for me.  I then take on another theological principle to investigate and my research goes a little deeper.  I also attend lectures and modules that help me in my pursuit of this research topic.

In the British PhD program , from day 1, we are treated as independent post-graduate researchers.  We are expected to initiate the actions needed to complete our thesis project.  We are encouraged to generate the questions and find the answers using the tools in our reach.  When the tools are not in our reach, we are expected to learn how to find them.  All of this comes in a very cooperative environment where our fellow students are encouraging and supportive.  The faculty treat us like colleagues in research.  We have all of the resources of the Durham University and the cooperating universities at our disposal.

A few week ago, I got my study space assignment.  Turns out that our building was completed in the late 18th century as an Alms House.  Durham Cathedral used it as a place for the poor, sick, and homeless.  At some point, the University acquired it.  It was the home of the Law Department for many years.  This spring they remodelled it for post graduate study spaces for those in Arts and Humanities.

There are seven us in this space.  We are all seeking PhD’s in theology and represent research areas like: Pauline Literature, 18th Century theologians, New Testament Studies, Old Testaments Studies, Intertextual Studies, and Sociology and Theology.  Our families represent seven different countries.  That proves for some wonderful talks during our (scheduled) coffee breaks.

Most of my hours are spent hitting the books, , synthesising what I’ve read, and putting it into a workable document.   I love the life.  I feel this work is important and I hope that I can soon offer what I have learned to others.

Each of us have our own desk with shelves and a locker.

Each of us have our own desk with shelves and a locker.

This is where I spend most of my days.  Some people ask me if I am tempted to day dream by looking out the window.  I call it *ahem* seeking inspiration.

This is where I spend most of my days. Some people ask me if I am tempted to day dream by looking out the window. I call it *ahem* seeking inspiration.  The Palace Green, home to the Castle and Cathedral, is about 100 yards from my desk.

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