A week or so ago I had my 18 Month review. As with the 12 month review, you turn in a chapter (~10k words+) and then have a meeting with your two supervisors. Loren Stuckenbruck is on research leave for the rest of the summer, so Stephen Barton took his place. I had turned in my chapter on Cyril’s view of deification, and it served as the basis of our discussion. I was most pleased since it was well received by both John and Stephen. Based on their comments, and my own opinion, it was much more clearly written and in better style than my Irenaeus chapter. I was a little worried about this because John always finds grammar mistakes and typos, and I wanted this one to be more refined so I didn’t look so lazy in that area. There were still mistakes but about 1/2 as many as other papers, so I was happy.
The majority of the meeting was spent discussing my primary research questions. We hadn’t actually re-addressed these specifically since my 6 month meeting. But, with my rearrangement of my outline, some key aspects of my work had to be redefined. I had brought some typed-up thoughts on the redefined questions to the meeting, and that prepatory work was well received. Having Stephen in the meeting was great because he asked some probing questions as a first-time participant in the project that really helped us focus on central issues.
By the end of May, I plan to have a short concluding chapter for the patristic section where I summarise the key aspects of deification that Irenaeus and Cyril describe and also what primary questions should I take from that to help focus my study of Paul. I also am doing some preliminary work on my ‘methodology’ and theological interpretation–that is, what justification do I have for reading Paul in light of his interpreters. I’m actually doing the latter first and plan to have a rough draft to throw out here later this week. It was a very encouraging meeting and I feel good about the project but realise I’ve got a lot of work left to do in Paul.