Monday, October 10, 2011

Couple hours of research...

A normal morning:
  • up at 6am 
  • left flat for the subway just before 7am with Tom and Soph
  • finished math homework (in German) sitting at a subway platform (ok, that part isn't normal)
  • dropped them off by 8am at Gisela Gymnasium (I love that they call them gymnasia like the ancient Greeks)
  • had coffee and pastry
  • set up in the room they've allotted me and a couple others
  • spent over an hour looking up things I want to quote in the library (most of which I have in my library at home but couldn't bring with me)
While Munich's library isn't as good as Tübingen's, it is so nice to have a research library at your disposal.  In Marion you have to use inter-library loan extensively to do scholarly work of any kind, which means the time factor is greatly multiplied.  Of course one day soon it will all be electronic.  The downside then will be the serendipity of finding books you didn't know about that happen to be next to the book you're looking for.

Those who know me well know that I am an intuitive thinker.  Scholarship is thus tedious because you have to spend significant amounts of time 1) enlisting primary sources in support of your ideas and 2) engaging the thoughts both of those who agree and disagree with you (secondary sources).  This is all highly appropriate.

From the primary sources, you sometimes find that your intuitions were wrong.  From the secondary sources you sometimes realize other ways of looking at the evidence that you didn't think of and you sometimes find that someone suggested your big idea 100 years ago.  I'm at the stage of my scholarly career that my intuitions at least seem more reliable than they were twenty years ago.  I'm less surprised and intimidated by the big guns than I used to be.

This morning I was plowing the land for quotes from Philo and Josephus on the temple, as well as tidbits from Shmuel Safrai and E. P. Sanders.  Here's a couple from Philo with which to close.  He is talking about the incident around AD39 when the Roman emperor Caligula tried to set up a statue of himself in the temple.  It is interesting to realize that this event took place less than ten years after the resurrection and Paul's believing that Jesus was the Christ.

"Still more abounding and peculiar is the zeal of them [Jews] for the temple...  Heaven forbid indeed that the Jews in every quarter should come by common agreement to the defense.  The result would be something too stupendous to be combated" (Leg. 212, 215, Loeb).

1 comment:

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Are you suggesting that the "spiritual Kingdom" was "born" on the heels of devastating political power? Isn't this what happened when Augustine wrote "The City of God"?