Saturday, March 16, 2013

One More Time

Sometimes you simply have to step back and take another look.  For me it involved my thesis proposal.  After soliciting input from my advisers it was clear that something wasn't working.  The concept had potential, but the scope seemed too broad.  I discovered I lost passion for it, in part because I no longer felt that I could do it justice.  Add to that my sense of not possessing quite enough depth of learning and understanding to adequately handle the growing number of issues I had put into the proposal.  So I stepped back, took a deep breath, cleared my head, and took another look.  Might there be something I could salvage here?  I really didn't want to start completely from scratch. In the third part of the proposed outline I found a place to begin.  Massey Shepherd's book, The Pascal Liturgy and the Apocalypse (1960), had been a key volume in my original bibliography.  As part of my original research I had planned to examine the place the liturgy played in the book of Revelation. I should have realized then that it was a topic worthy of its own thesis.  In my reading I had also discovered a more recent work by Dr. Scott Hahn (The Lamb's Supper - 1999), which I reviewed elsewhere on this blog.  He seemed to be going down the same path as Shepherd, albeit in a slightly different manner.   Feeling I had a topic I could now put my energies in with come confidence, I set about to read Shepherd's book and reread Hahn's.  I also began to reassemble a working bibliography, flesh out the outline, and write the actual proposal. Over 20 pages later it was finished. It took a few weeks, but I managed to rebuild what a month earlier seemed but a pile of ash.  With a bit a trepidation I called my primary adviser to bounce it off of him.  He felt that my new direction was better than the old one, and liked the topic.  So after having it thoroughly proofread by my wife I mailed it off and now I wait.  The new 'working title' is: "A Study of the Influence of the Church's Liturgical Forms on the Literary Structure of the Apocalypse of St. John."  I'll let you know if it passes.  After that comes the actual writing. 


Mark Henderson said...

My sense of these things is that you can never get too specific with a thesis subject, Donald. Every blessing upon the continuing process.

Donald V. Engebretson said...

Thank you, Mark. Master's theses are inherently different than doctoral dissertations, thus the specificity. It has given me a renewed appreciation of what would await me if I went further.

Anonymous said...

Hello Don,

I'm glad Dr. Hahn's book was helpful to you. I don't know if you are aware that Dr. Hahn has recently written a book on 1&2 Chronicles entitled, "The Kingdom of God as Liturgical Empire: a Theological Commentary. which I thought might include some books in its bibliography you could also check out. This one is on a more scholarly level than "The Lamb's Supper" book.

I enjoyed reading about your Chaplaincy work. I'm sure the Fire Dept there feels very blessed to have you as their Chaplain.

Marilyn Lingenfelter