Classes are over. The semester is winding up. Last assignments to grade continue to flow in. But the end is not merely in sight, not merely nigh in some vague apocalyptic sense that might force later reinterpretations to justify it not materializing even millennia later. It is only days away, and nothing can stop it. There is still frantic work to do in the time remaining. But hope for what comes after can often help sustain us through a final crunch of this sort.
This has been one of the roughest academic years on record (one that was far worse for many others than it was for me, I would add). Now that it is essentially done, it is time to allow myself to turn my thoughts to the summer. Summers are refreshing for academics like myself, not because (despite widespread misconceptions) we “don’t work” or “have the summer off,” but because we can shift gears from teaching to writing and research. For those of us who really love and relish that part of our work, however much we may also love classroom teaching, this PHD Comic sums things up nicely:
So what will this summer’s work be for me? Here are the things that are in view:
I will be continuing to be have podcast conversations and in other ways do what I can to spread the word about what I genuinely consider my most important contribution in writing to my field of New Testament scholarship, my book What Jesus Learned from Women. It is thrilling to see that there are so many books related to this topic that have come out recently. I do think mine is distinctive in a number of ways, including the focus on Jesus learning and how others influenced him; the fact that I don’t spend lots of time trying to persuade readers to accept gender equity and so can focus in detail on what the story of Jesus and the women he knew looks like when one does so; and this approach has significant ramifications for how we do history more generally.
In May, I will finish writing an encyclopedia entry on monotheism and a short book chapter on women in the New Testament.
I will be working on a book proposal for my next major New Testament monograph on the historical John the Baptist. I plan to get it written during a sabbatical I have in the 2022-2023 academic year. I would love to take a full year to work on this project and so will be looking for visiting fellow opportunities that might allow me to do so.
I will turn my attention again to the book on Theology and Progressive Rock that I am writing with Frank Felice, and continue work on my Bible and Music textbook. I also now have another book project aimed at a general audience which I expect to write this summer. And presumably I will continue blogging!
At the end of the summer there will also be not only a lot of work preparing to make sure classes get off to a good start in an academic year that will differ dramatically (we hope) from the one before it, but also work related to conferences coming up during the next academic year in October and November.
Still think academics take the summer off?