This year Durham instituted a 6 Month Review for all incoming PhD students.
Candidates for the PhD are required to produce
A review of literature or history of research or similar properly annotated and relevant to the research topic (at least 5,000 words long) A thesis plan (~i.e., an outline) and indicative timetable for submission of work
I had written a couple summaries of writers on union with Christ, so John said to do a general summary of Paul’s participation/tranformation theology instead (plus John’s a big fan of doing primary source analysis first). I looked at issues of new status, agency, and transformation: dying/rising, glory/image, and others. My paper ended up being around 15,000 words. I also updated my outline according to my study and turned everything in.
I had my meeting today with Loren and John, and it was very similar to those of other friends. I had to answer a few questions about my outline, methodology, and what I’m ‘not doing’. I thought it was a good experience to try to explain what I am doing in a holistic manner. But probably the more important part was just getting my two supervisors in one room. Since John has been very formative up to this point in my thinking, there wasn’t anything that I’d have to explain to him. But I haven’t met with Loren as much, so it was good to have both he and John in the same room so that all three of us are on the same page regarding the direction of the project.
All in all, it was a relatively painless and an even encouraging process. It was nice to look back at the time since I’ve been here and to see that my project is taking on a more definite shape. I am also realizing how big the process will be. I’m not just doing a comparison of Paul and patristic views of theosis, because there isn’t enough positive consensus on the reality of union with Christ. So, I’ve first got to do some generative work on Paul and how union with Christ works for him. Then I’ll do the comparison piece. I’m having fun so far and look forward to what I eventually figure out.