A few of us have started taking out different lecturers for lunch to pick their brains about academic life in the UK and other things. Last term we had an enjoyable lunch with Prof Robert Hayward, who teaches ancient Judaism and OT. I had the pleasure of sitting in on his Genesis Rabbah midrash reading group last year.
One of our common questions is what books would one recommend for PhD students, especially for those in biblical studies. For the most part he didn’t give specific books, but he recommended specific areas of reading. These are: 1) the main Dead Sea Scroll documents, 2) something on church history, 3) something on enlightenment, 4) something on the development of scientifc thought in late 19th c. and critical methods for the Bible study, and 5) post-modernism. He thought people should understand the factors that influenced the rise of marxism and fascism in the 2oth c., particularly because their fruit has been so murderous. It wasn’t what we were expecting, but I thought it was good to have reminder that we don’t need to get so tied up into just one small area of thought and to think more widely about the faith.