About Providence, Divine Action and the Church

In this blog, Terry J. Wright posts thoughts and shares research on the Christian doctrine of providence. This doctrine testifies to God’s provision for all things through creation’s high priest, the man Christ Jesus. However, the precise meaning and manner of this provision is a perpetually open question, and this blog is a forum for discussion of the many issues relating to providence and the place of the Church within God’s action.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Being an Independent Scholar [1]

Rowan Williams and Margaret Barker DD
When I was reading for my doctorate a few years ago, my intention was somehow to find a tutor post in systematic theology. Life hasn’t worked out as I planned. I do do some teaching, but it’s voluntary and for the diocese in which I live. And I preach and lead the occasional short course in my local church. To be honest, I’m quite happy with this. Such teaching has its own peculiar demands, but it also means I can carry on with my research on providence, etc., as time and responsibilities allow, without having the pressure of needing to publish. So, all in all, while I could always do with a bit more cash to help ends meet, the fact that I’m not in a tenured teaching post is not something that concerns me at the moment.

But I’m aware of a number of people working on or completing doctorates who probably want to establish themselves by taking on a teaching post in an institution. No doubt, some of them will find opportunity; but others won’t. And so I’ve asked Margaret Barker, former President of the Society for Old Testament Study and a well-published independent scholar in Biblical Studies, to produce an article for this blog outlining how life works for someone who’s convinced of his or her calling as a scholar, but is unsure about how to proceed when the job market isn’t favourable. I shall be serialising her article on this blog over the next few days, and I hope that you’ll find it interesting and helpful.

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