This week was the end of my first year as a Master of Theology (Th.M.) student at Western Seminary. I completed eleven of the necessary twenty-five academic hours needed for the program. In the process I was able to learn more about the debates surrounding the New Perspective on Paul, the biblical canon, extra-canonical gospels (esp. the Gospel of Thomas), and a Christian “theology of religions” (i.e. how should Christians understand the “role” of world religions?). My understanding of the theology and theologizing of the Greek/Eastern Fathers (e.g. Athanasius, Basil, the Gregories, John of Damascus, etc.) as well as the ecumenical creeds was expanded. This included a lot of studying on Trinitarian and Christological issues. Finally, I was able to do some individual research projects on Pauline Pneumatology and theological French.
The second year forthcoming promises a lot. Since my unfolding thesis will be examining the Pauline interpretation and application of Genesis 1-3 in the Book of Romans I have scheduled another individualized research project on the interpretation of Genesis 1-3. This will include a lot of commentary reading but I will also be looking at how this passage was read in Second Temple literature as well as the early church. The other class I will be taking this fall is a philosophy for theology class that will be addressing subjects like epistemology, ethics, and anthropology.
After this semester it will be (a) thesis work and (b) two final classes in the spring and summer semesters. In the spring I need to choose between a class on the apostolic fathers or another OT class exegeting one of the minor prophets. In the summer I will be doing work on the Synoptic Gospels. That will be the end of the second year.
In the fall term of 2011 the only thing remaining will be the tidying up of my thesis and my oral defense. So I am three semesters down, four to go or one year down and a little more than a year to go. It has been an amazing learning experience thus far and I only expect it to get better.
Also, if you are interested, see our Th.M. blog here.