Friday, May 28, 2010

Stage 2 Completed: I'm Registered for Class

With my formal acceptance into the Nashotah House Master of Sacred Theology program (STM) complete, I have now registered for this summer's classes. Unlike a larger seminary or university where class choices may be greater, I was somewhat limited in my selections. Nevertheless, the courses should prove to be both challenging and interesting.

The first course I will be taking is entitled The New Perspective on Paul: A Critical Engagement with Recent Trends in Pauline Scholarship. This seemed appropriate especially given its current attention within Lutheran academic circles. For example, LOGIA: A Journal of Lutheran Theology devoted its 2010 Eastertide issue to "The New Perspective on Paul." The Concordia Journal issue for Spring 2009 also gave attention to this, especially Thomas Schreiner's article "An Old Perspective on the New Perspective." Doing a little searching I discovered that this subject has been discussed for some time now, as another article in the Concordia Journal betrayed. In the July 2001 issue of the Concordia Journal you can find a helpful piece by James A. Meek entitled "The New Perspective on Paul: An Introduction for the Uninitiated." The course will be taught by Nashotah professor Dr. Gawood Anderson, who specializes in New Testament and Greek. Anderson is one of the newer professors who came to the seminary from a former teaching position at Asbury Theological Seminary (Orlando, FL campus).

The second course I selected was one I did not initially consider. At first glance it seemed a bit too "Anglican" for my use. However, after giving it more thought it occurred to me that looking at the ongoing worship struggle in the church at large through different eyes might offer a fresh perspective for me in my own tradition. The course title is: Liturgical Change in the Church of England, 1928-2008: Controversy, Conflict, and Comprehension, and is being taught by a visiting professor by the name of the Rev. Canon J M Haselock, precentor and vice dean of Norwich Cathedral in England. The course information describes him as a member of the Liturgical Commission of the Church of England from 1997 to 2008 and closely involved with the whole Common Worship project. He was a member of the International Anglican Liturgical Consultation [IALC] during this same period. The course will examine the wide differences in worship practice that have impacted the Church of England from what is described as "formless 'family' services sponsored by Evangelicals" on one side of the spectrum to "'Papistical' masses which were only slightly adapted English translations of the missal of Pius V and the Council of Trent" on the other. The Church of England has long struggled between "high church" and "low church" throughout its history from the Reformation to the present. While not completely identical to struggles within the Lutheran tradition, there is no denying our own tension between "formless" contemporary services and high church masses. I'll let you know later how valuable the class turns out to be.

So now I wait for the reading list and start in earnest my preparation for the courses. With the holiday weekend upon us I don't expect to receive anything out of Nashotah until well into next week at the earliest. I'll keep you posted on what books they end up using as texts.

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