31 July 2008

In Retrospect: Days 2 & 3

Learning at Oxford is less like a week-long program and more like regular college as I've experienced it...during the last month where there's a sense of urgency.  As such, I haven't had the chance to update as much as I'd like.

The first three days of classes have gone extremely well.  My morning class, "The Bible and Archaeology" is interesting and engaging without being stuffy or thick.  The professor, Dom Henry, is now one of my favorite people, and I've learned a lot just from the few days I've had.  Tuesday we spoke about different theories of the historical accuracy of much of the Old Testament, and how archeology either upholds those theories or discredits them--did Joshua really "fit" the battle of Jericho and did the walls really come tumbling down on his accord?  Archeology says no.  Yesterday we discussed the Qumran site and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

My second class has actually been incredibly difficult.  At first I was a bit put off at the difficulty of the course--why assign philosophical texts that even the resident philosophy professor couldn't understand?  I've since realized that if I left Oxford without being genuinely challenged, I'd feel like I missed out.  Thus, I'm sitting through class catching every fourth idea or so and making the best of it.  The professor, Paul Fiddes, is pulling together three topics that are staggering even individually and seeing how they illuminate each other:  postmodern philosophy, Trinitarian theology, and the Biblical idea of wisdom.  His basic idea is that we can achieve wisdom by participating in a relational understanding of the Trinity.  I'm not entirely sure how postmodern philosophy fits into this yet, but things are beginning to click.

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