07
Mar
06

In the beginning…

I suppose I should begin this blog with a bit of information about myself, and some allegedly worthwhile but actually quite superfluous reasons why I felt the need to join the millions of other individuals who’ve decided that they have so many important things to say that they need to post them in some kind of public forum (where, of course, no one will ever bother to read them). I hold a Bachelor of Arts degree from Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, with a major in History and a minor in Religious Studies; I am currently a first-year student in the Master of Arts in Religion program at Yale Divinity School, with a concentration in Biblical Studies. My principal academic interests revolve around the religious and social climate in Palestine and the Roman Empire at large at the onset of the Common Era–in short, the conditions that produced the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth, and the widespread movement that evolved following his death. A few favorite topics that fall under this ridiculously large umbrella include the development of messianism in Jewish and Christian circles, early Christianity’s adaptation to the Greco-Roman political, cultural, and religious nexus, and noncanonical texts of all types (and the “heterodox” movements that produced them). Of course, given the broad scope of my program, I love lots of other things, too… if you can put the adjective “religious” in front of it, I’m interested.

I decided I couldn’t go another minute without clogging up the information superhighway because:

1) I’ve discovered that it’s fairly difficult for young graduate students in my field of study to publish and publicize their work through traditional channels such as conferences and journals. These resources are limited, and therefore are most often restricted to specialists holding terminal degrees. This is my attempt to circumvent the system and get some of my own thoughts and ideas out there.

2) I think this will help me become a better student and scholar. I’ve always felt that my own learning was most effectively stimulated through effective dialogue with others. So, in addition to this blog, I’ll attempt to blackmail most of my friends and relatives into reading it–with the hope that it will make us all more enlightened individuals.

Well, there you have it… I’ll try to update frequently. I hope that you enjoy reading these as much as I think I’ll enjoy writing them!

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© 2006-2009, Matthew Burgess. All rights reserved. Any unauthorized use of the original content of this website is strictly prohibited. Quotations or citations should include a link to this website. The views and opinions given here are my own and do not represent those of the University of Virginia (or anyone else, for that matter).

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