Phase 12: More Interviews

One of my former NT students, Logan Hauer, who is interested in developments in both Greek grammar and NT textual criticism, interviewed me for his podcast. It is about 1.5 hours long, and begins with my recent publication but later diverges to NT interpretation and NT textual criticism. Here is the link to his podcast. It is the entry for January 15, 2023.

Logan Hauer interviewing me on my book and a few other topics. I am known as “Mr. Sed” in this interview.

Phase 12: Interviews

I was interviewed about my book that was recently published. I placed a link here to direct you to the publication of that interview. Manchester Wesley Research Centre conducted this interview to advertise the work of their fellows.

Phase 11: Getting Published

This week, I heard from the publisher (Peter Lang) that my book is finally published and going to the printers. This book represents several years of work. It is the twenty-second volume in the Studies in Biblical Greek series that Peter Lang produces. I defended my dissertation right after contracting COVID-19 and was still in isolation, so my viva was via Zoom. After contacting the acquisitions editor at Peter Lang, I began the task of converting this from a dissertation to a book. I was quite ill through most of the editing process, and am glad that this work came to fruition in spite of illness.

Front and back cover

This work offers a better explanation of what a Greek Perfect tense is than do other grammatical or linguistic works, and it couples this explanation with various uses of the Greek Perfect. It interacts with the works of other scholars that explain the Greek Perfect. It uses a linguistic concept called “grammaticalization” to analyze the Perfect and then shows supporting evidence from historical linguistics and comparative linguistics.

Phase 10: The Job Hunt Continues, While Teaching.

I have been continuing to teach in an Adjunct status for Israel Institute of Biblical Studies. At the peak of Spring, I was teaching 25 different classes. I am more than full-time busy, but not full-time employed. (25 adjunct fees are equivalent to about 1/2 of a salary). So, I am still searching for a full-time position. I have kept my search wide, including traditional New Testament posts and research fellowships where I could pursue further grammatical research. I have also applied to some positions for publishers in the editing role.  The number of applicants to each job is still massive, and I have at least heard back from most of the institutions this year.  I had one interview as well.  I have a number of applications currently in process, and am hoping one or more of them are interested, with at least one good fit. 

I attended the Midwest Regional SBL this February virtually.  I presented a paper on the infinitives in 1 Tim 2, and received some feedback.  I attended the annual Stone-Campbell Journal Conference in-person this Spring. I got to see a number of friends I have not seen in several years.  Either they didn’t attend the virtual conferences of the last couple years, or I was consistently in a different zoom room than they were. I presented two papers this Spring.  The first was a continuation paper on the pragmatics of the Greek Perfect tense-form. The second was on the complex infinitives in 1 Tim 2:12.  This paper generated a lot of feedback in the Q&A session.  This conference has been a great place for me to present a number of papers over the years. I also work for the Stone-Campbell Journal to coordinate book reviews. From the book assigning, to the reviewers receiving their books, to completed reviews coming in for me to compile, the process has been a little faster this year than last year. The pandemic affected so many work areas and people that the whole process got bogged down. As more places are getting used to the “new normal,” it seems to be returning slowly to the normal speed.

My oldest son got married last year, and my youngest son will get married this Fall. It was fun getting to know the the parents of the bride-to-be.  My wife and I got to visit our eldest and his wife in Arizona this February.  I felt pretty good the week we were out there, but this late Winter and Spring, I have had a number of health issues.  I have been struggling with being sick a fair amount of the time since last year. It seems that I will be sick frequently for several days. The only thing I can figure is that when I had Covid two years ago, it ruined my defenses to everything else and damaged a lot of me. My liver was greatly affected, but now due some excellent treatment, the numbers have returned mostly to the normal ranges, and others to nearly normal.   My heart was sending me the the hospital several times this Spring, but it has gotten better.  It seems to have been affected by the medicine I was on for the liver.  But now, the dosage on that medicine is much lower.  I cut back on my teaching hours some after March, and that helped too.  I am still learning how to cope with all this.

I managed to finish editing my thesis, and sent it in to the publisher. I have been corresponding with the editors seeing it through to publication as a book.  Several of my friends have now gotten their theses published. That made me happy. I am not planning to attend the annual ETS, and SBL/AAR this Fall although I did last Fall. I am having a harder time committing to things that cost a lot, but I plan on going next year.  The career fairs were not operational at both conferences last year, as they weren’t either the year before.  Maybe they will do some things online still.  My session moderation in New Testament went well last year, and I look forward to doing that again.  I am still contemplating what areas to become involved with in biblical theology.  These so far include the nature of humanity, the communal components of salvation and sanctification, the nature of church leadership, and biblical resources for care of the community.

Phase 9: The Job Search Continues

Since April of this year, I have been continuing to teach in an Adjunct status for a number of institutions. At the peak of Summer, I was teaching 17 different classes. I am more than full-time busy, but not full-time employed. (17 adjunct fees are equivalent to about 1/3 or 1/4 of a salary). So, I am still searching for a full-time position. I have kept my search wide, including traditional New Testament posts and research fellowships where I could pursue further grammatical research. Several positive and negative things occurred. Most of the institutions I applied to did not inform me of their decision, but a good number did this year. I received more rejection letters from jobs that had a far greater number of applicants than had been typical before Covid. I did get one interview this year, so it was not all bad. I have a number of applications currently in process, and am hoping one or more of them are interested, with at least one good fit. (2-3 of these are really sweet!) Additionally, one of the journals to which I submitted an article, also rejected my piece, so I now need to rework it for a different journal. It is important to tailor each article to the journal for which it is intended. The next journal I am sending it to looks promising. I also have a couple other articles and chapters for edited works in various stages of the publication process.

I attended the annual Stone-Campbell Journal Conference virtually this Spring. I got to see a number of friends online. I presented a paper this Spring on the pragmatics of the Greek Perfect tense-form. This conference has been a great place for me to present a number of papers over the years. I also work for the Stone-Campbell Journal to coordinate book reviews. From the book assigning, to the reviewers receiving their books, to completed reviews coming in for me to compile, the process has all been much slower this year than usual. The pandemic has affected so many work areas and people that the whole process got bogged down. As more places get used to the “new normal,” I am hoping that we can see a speedier turn-around on bits of this process.

My oldest son got married this June. The wedding was beautiful, and so is his bride! This was a time of much excitement in our household, first as we assisted with invitations, and later with booking several of the rooms and the rehearsal dinner restaurant. It was fun seeing the bride’s parents again and meeting more of the bride’s family. I felt exhausted the week or so after, but everything was great. I have been struggling with being sick a fair amount of the time this year. It seems that I will be sick frequently for several days. The only thing I can figure is that when I had Covid last year, it ruined my defenses to everything else and damaged a lot of me. I finally decided to focus on building up my immunities. It has been really hard to focus on teaching, job hunting, and writing with all the things that are ailing me.  I think we will be learning how to heal from Covid for a long time.

I am still editing my thesis, getting it ready for the publisher. I will be turning it in soon, so I am starting to get excited about that. I saw pictures online of several of my friends who got their theses published. That made me happy. I am also planning to attend the annual ETS, and SBL/AAR this Fall in-person if that is possible. I am hoping the career fairs are operational at both conferences this year, as they weren’t last year. This will hopefully give me opportunities to be interviewed and see some jobs offered that may or may not have been advertised. I will be moderating a session in New Testament this year. I am trying to think of ways to get more involved with the various societies related to my discipline.  I am also contemplating several areas to become involved with in biblical theology.  These include the nature of humanity, the communal components of salvation and sanctification, and biblical resources for care of the community.

Phase 8: The Tough First Year as a Post-Doc

This phase covers the first year after my degree completion. Yesterday marks the one-year anniversary of my PhD completion date. This year has been marked by the rising threat of Covid-19 and race to develop vaccines and get them out to the public. This year has also been heartbreaking seeing the treatment received by African Americans, followed by protests, and followed by reactions to the protests. This year has seen a lot of people completely polarized over social, political, and medical issues and unable to have conversations about the issues. Sometimes the three appear intertwined in places that are unexpected. This leaves a lot of confused people out there hurting. In the midst of all this suffering, confusion and pain, I needed to get on the job market. I needed to obtain a job that provided enough income to offset the added cost of the student loans that would be due roughly six months after graduation. This phase for me personally was a highly stressful one trying to cope with all of the above concerns along with the added stress of a depressed job market mainly caused by Covid-19. I did not realize the full extent of this pressure on my field until SBL put out the annual jobs report this March, roughly eleven months into my first year post-doc. This reports showed an overall decrease in jobs at 17.9% less than the year prior, but this number is a bit misleading relative to me. This number is a raw number and reflects many jobs I wouldn’t be eligible for. Something that this number does not show is that many of the new positions this year were in new areas to make up for the fact that these were offered in too small a number in previous years. A lot of the new positions related to various aspects of the effect of the pandemic, thus not my field. From my perspective, which focuses on New Testament, Greek Grammar, and places where Linguistics might intersect either or both, there were less than half the number of positions that the previous year. This was true for both post-doctoral research positions and teaching positions.

That being said, I began my job search. The first thing I did was warm some older applications. That is, I updated my information from “PhD Candidate” to “Doctor,” from “ABD” to “completed,” for a number of applications I had already sent in materials for that still were considered open. I only heard back from one of them, and it was an unlikely one anyway, but they let me know that they went with someone else. After that, it was a very long time before any jobs were advertised. This was in the midst of the lock-down in Europe, and the beginning of the one in the USA. Right as I had gotten home from the UK, I was asked to stay home by one of my employers due the Covid situation, until I was stronger. I was still very weak and was constantly getting sick with a number of fresh Covid symptoms (not fever though) every 4-6 days that would last anywhere from 1 day to 3 days. Many days I had a delirious sensation and could not think straight for a few days, coupled with vertigo. By June, I was able to be out and about a little bit and went back to work outside the house. I needed money and this was money. I still had to call off a number of times due to fresh symptoms which would go away in a day or two. I had been tutoring online a bit before Covid became a global situation, but I did not get any students interested on that platform most of this year. I did some contract jobs online as the work was available and as I could focus on it. In July, my youngest contracted Covid, so we all had to isolate several weeks. I re-experienced some really powerful symptoms of the virus, without any fever. He is a young man, but was very ill. His symptoms reminded me of my time in England with the sickness. He did not have as much fever as I had, but some of his symptoms were worse. His skin shed after he became well, and he had lost 25 pounds or just a bit more. His face was sunken in. After this, I applied to a Covid vaccine study for Pfizer, and was accepted in their study.

In August thru September, the annual Stone-Campbell Journal Conference was attempting to be held again after being cancelled earlier in March. As we prepared to launch the conference in Knoxville at Johnson University, it became apparent that we needed to go virtual. Johnson was prepared for this alternative, and the Conference went well. My role in the conference was a bit different, since normally I am there in person managing the displays and book-selling stations. This time I managed the gathering of logos and links, and each exhibitor had a page on the conference website instead. I got to attend a lot more of the conference itself this year, and participated in more of the groups than I usually do. This was the first fellowship with fellow academics since my defense. I was also my first fairly robust social gathering where nobody had to worry about masks, distance, or contact during the fellowship. I was contacted by Nazarene Theological College to teach New Testament Greek online via Zoom. I began teaching online in late September. This was just one course, but it was a start. Later in October I was invited to give a seminar at the Ehrhardt Seminar in Manchester, also a virtual event. I presented some material that was a development from my Thesis that I had been thinking about since the defense. This was well-received by the attendees, and the social event afterwards was also something I needed. I met some people there that I would see again later this Fall at SBL. I had an online graduation celebration via Zoom mid-October.

This November, I attended ETS annual meeting, and SBL annual meeting, both the national-level ones. These were scheduled to be in-person originally, but had now moved onto a virtual platform. Just like I had seen with SCJ Conference in September, the publishers and other exhibitors had links in the conference website. Normally there is a job fair at SBL, but this program was cancelled prior to the event. I was disappointed as my biggest need was employment. I decided to concentrate my efforts with the publishers as they might have some work needing done. Around this time Peter Lang agreed to publish my Thesis as a book. This was one of my goals to become more employable. A number of jobs also got posted near this time, so I applied to everything that made sense. My referees were busy writing letters for me. I applied to post-doctoral researcher positions that made sense based on the type of research I had done and to New Testament teaching positions. I heard back from very few of these. The few I did hear back from politely let me know that they went with someone else. One smaller place told me they had over 800 applications for the one position they had posted, saying they had never seen this many apply before. I am sure they were overwhelmed, but this was the story everywhere I heard back from. Two places let me know that my materials were top-notch, but they had gone with someone who had already published more than I had. At least now I was informed. I really needed to get a few pieces published. I updated my online profiles in anything that gave me an online presence. (I generally do this around SBL time). Soon after, someone contacted me via LinkedIn and asked me teach Hebrew. I interviewed and was accepted at Israel Institute of Biblical Studies. I began teacher training which took all of December. They wanted to have all of their professors and lecturers using the Zoom platform in the same manner.

Over the Christmas and New-Year holiday period, I worked as much as I could on some contract work and my one outside job. I also worked over some pieces that could be published in theory. I began teaching Hebrew in January. This was just one class, but I was told to expect more. I got one article submitted in February and received the notification that it was being peer-reviewed. I got some editing done on my defended Thesis to get it ready for publication. My oldest son became sick with Covid in January, but was not very ill with it. We all isolated the full time. My old symptoms reemerged in force while he had it. By February IIBS gave me two more classes to teach for Hebrew. Later they added several new ones to start in March and May. In March they also asked if I would teach Greek also. I said yes, so after some teacher training, they added 3 Greek classes to my responsibility list. Now it seems I am fully employed, but this is not the case. These classes are a blessing! I am “adjuncting” in all of these roles. I am still listed on LinkedIn as “open to work.” I am looking for a full-time position somewhere that involves New Testament, Greek Language and hopefully Linguistics. I found out that I had received placebo in the Covid study, so got the vaccine for real in March as they unblinded the study. As March drew to a close, another sad social issue raises its head, “hate crimes against Asians.” In addition to that, new strains of Covid-19 are being studied. Some of them are more spreadable than the first ones, and others can reinfect a person who previously had it. Along with this are some strains that mutated the protein spike, which is what most of the vaccines are designed to recognize. Little is known yet if these with protein spike mutations will spread like the others have as it is too soon to tell. In addition to this the numbers of sick people globally have spiked again though the last month of Winter and into Spring. I am trying to stay optimistic about job opportunities, but I think this coming year will test all of that. At any rate, I am concentrating on getting more published and teaching as much as I can as Adjunct. Up to now, as the courses I am currently teaching finish, I will have taught first-term Greek four times, second-term Greek three times, first-term Hebrew nine times, and second-term Hebrew three times. That should enhance my Curriculum Vitae nicely.

Phase 7

As I made plans to travel to Manchester to defend my PhD Thesis, I was looking at airline tickets and discovered that if I flew to Milan, Italy and then to Manchester, UK, my fare would be about a fifth of the price than to go directly.  Of course this meant taking very different airlines.  Since it was so much cheaper to fly this way, my wife decided to accompany me for the first leg and we would spend some time together in Italy.  We made travel arrangements and some lodging for the both of us in Italy.  We hoped to see several sites before I had to defend. 

As we were on the final hop from Portugal to Italy, we realized something new was happening.  We got sprayed along with all the passengers.  And then when we landed, people in white suits were taking temperatures and aiming weird lights at us.  I could hear some people talking about a viral outbreak.  We saw the news while we were getting our luggage, that indeed an outbreak of Covid-19 had emerged in 12 towns of the Italian province we were in.  We went on to our hotel near the airport, but outside Milan itself to see what to do next.  We had brought with us the allowable size of hand sanitizer and had a few face masks and bleach wipes.  We asked at the hotel, but became certain that our travel plans inside Italy would be vastly different.  On the internet, we could see closures of most of what we wished to see, and some town closures for where we had lodging.  We asked to extend our hotel for the duration of our stay, and changed plans to go see local scenery in more remote towns.  We also could not get revised departure dates, so we were stuck.

We picked up some gloves as well, but could not find more hand sanitizer.  We stayed away from people and explored away from the city.  We did get to see Lake Como, several churches, and a monastery.  All were beautiful.  Then my wife boarded her plane to go home while I boarded mine to go to defend in Manchester.  As soon as I landed I obtained my lodging, and got groceries for roughly a week.  I visited NTC campus to let others know I had arrived, but was soon chased into self-isolation since I had just arrived from Italy.  It was a good call, as by the evening I did not feel so well.  I had enough food and I needed to prepare for my defense so I stayed in my room.  After a three days of low-grade fevers and a sense of general feeling of being drained, I started having high fevers and realized I would soon run out of medications.  I had plenty of water.  Several friends dropped off more medications and food.  I had nearly 10 days of uncontrollable fevers, along with many symptoms that were consistent with others had reported with having Covid-19.  I could not get a test, though, as those were in short supply, and at that time were only being used upon entry to a hospital.  On the night of the tenth day of high fevers, I was in a fight for my life.  My heart was racing at 150, my pulse was also stronger than normal.  I could see my veins and arteries bulging.  This went on for a few hours, and I called for medical help.  Then my lungs started to work less and less, along with a feeling of  numbness in various parts of the body.  I could not get an ambulance to arrive.  I started passing out and coming to as morning drew near.  Finally the Covid squad arrived in full suits and gave me air and something to slow down everything that had been racing away.  My fevers also broke around that time.  They stayed with me about 8 hours, until my breathing and heart rate were stabilizing and headed back to normal. This was a Friday morning (Friday the 13th).  I was happy to be alive!  They told me I must remain in isolation for 7 more days.

My practice defense (mock viva) had been planned for the following Monday, and my supervisor offered to postpone this, since I had been so ill.  I was still delirious on the morning of the mock viva and was barely coherent mentally.  I was still in isolation so the meeting was over Zoom.  I knew my material in my dissertation well enough though, and did okay in my mock viva.  I prepared a bit more over the next two days.  My real viva was planned for Wednesday, March 18.  The dean offered to postpone it, but I was keen to have it happen as my mind was getting clearer late into Tuesday.  I did my best to prepare for questions designed to throw me off and rehearsed my responses to questions in my thesis.

The actual defense was also to be over Zoom.  On the morning of the defense, I discovered one of my examiners had also been ill, and had felt a recovery while reading my thesis.  Both of them were thrilled to have read my thesis.  The questions ranged from elements in my thesis to related items outside my thesis that could be impacted by the discoveries within my thesis.  I believe it went twice as long as expected, with lots of follow-on questions after each question.  At the end they put me into a break-out room, and had a discussion.  Then they pulled me back in and told me I had passed.  I was given a grade of A2, which meant I would have a few corrections to make in the thesis.  These would need to be approved by the internal examiner before my degree would be final, but my defense was complete. 

When Friday arrived, I went outside for the first time.  I went in the park outside my window.  I was happy to be alive.  I was out for a 15 minute walk and that was all my lungs could handle.  I found out that borders were about to close and the President had mentioned that all Americans needed to get home.  Also most airlines were shut down, including the ones I needed to get home.  A friend got me on a Sunday flight from London to Atlanta, on one of the few still running.  My dean got me on a train to London for Saturday along with a hotel for Saturday night.  I made both the train and plane, and got home on 22 March.

About a week later, I received the list of corrections required.  It contained several typos, and a substantive rewrite of one example I had given.  Altogether it was much less than I anticipated.  I made all the corrections in about 90 minutes.  I still waited a couple days to send them back as I wanted to be sure I had fully addressed the concerns.  Plus, I like to review whatever I write with a fresh mind.  I submitted them, and the internal examiner approved them.  My degree was complete, and I later received certificate and transcript that dated my award of PhD as April 1, 2020 (April Fool’s Day)!

Phase 6 Update

Now that my whole dissertation has been through 20 drafts, each revised from feedback on the previous, I am ready to submit it for examination.  I submitted it to the electronic thesis submission system at the University of Manchester, and received my confirmation number and a pdf of the whole file plus a standard cover sheet all in 30 seconds or so.  This was very fast.  My supervisor was standing by should any problems occur, but none did.   My examiners have been chosen and they will be notified shortly of my submission.

I next sent it to a press who would run two copies for the examiners and send them to my college for distribution.  After going through their whole process three times before I could pay, I found out that they would not bind anything as big as my document (438 pages).  I contacted them to see what was wrong, but they could only handle smaller theses.  I had already paid, so I had to apply for a reimbursment.  I contacted another press, who happened to be a little cheaper, and they assured me that they could handle the length.  I made it through the three tries before payment (something is not quite right with the online ordering service), paid for the service, and got my confirmation.

Three days later, the package still had not arrived where it needed to go, so I had to contact the press and provide more detail on the address, so that it could arrive the next day.  It did arrive and was subsequently sent out to my examiners.  I recieved word a few weeks later that I would defend my dissertation on March 18, so I began to make travel and lodging arrangements.

Phase 5 Update

After compiling the corpus, it was time to pull out the relevent instances of the Perfect tense-form and analyze where they were found, and how they were used by authors of different periods.  The research concentrated on the letters of Plato, Paul the Apostle, and Basil of Caesarea to provide temporal landmarks for the Perfect tense study.  These were then compared with several interesting results.  First that Paul’s usage of the Perfect appears generally central in its diachronic shift from a state to a past tense.  This was as expected.  More interestingly, Paul uses Perfect tenses imbedded in supplemental clauses more often than do the other writers, and uses a wider range of active lexemes in that role than do others.  Another key observation is that all writers regardless of time period used the Perfect in both stative and eventive ways, discernable by the adverbs collocated with the verbs.

The writing of the dissertation begins in earnest now with the data collected.  Much of the Pauline data is used in chapter 4, and diachronic epistolary data is used in chapter 5.  The comparison and constrast of Paul with the other letter writers is also in chapter 5.  I submitted a first draft on each new chapter and compiled a first draft of the dissertation using the feedback I recieved on each chapter.  This first whole draft was the first time I composed an Introduction or conclusion.

Phase 4 Update

Now I began to collect Greek letters for the corpus.  My goal is to collect letters from before 500 BCE up through to 500 CE.  The purpose of this range is to have a large data set that is that diachronically balanced, in the hopes of situating the New Testament letters within the history of the Greek language.  Upon a short inspection, the New Testament letters also have the features of ethical treatise and legal argumentation as well.  So, treatises and arguments from the philosophers will also be considered important for the analysis corpus.  This way, New Testament letters can be compared with a broad range of Greek letters, argumentation pieces, and ethical treatises.

The next step is to decide what should go in and what should be left out.  It would not be necessary to have every letter, legal discourse, or ethical discourse, since that would make the corpus too large to manage all the issues.  More importantly, collecting all the available pieces would unbalance the corpus by weighting it too heavily for certain centuries.

In an effort to keep the corpus balanced diachronically, and to maintain manageability, only a sample the pieces are taken from each era.  The sample would include a size of text comparable to that in the eras of least available texts.  Also, only letters of a certain size were included as many minute letters with little more than a quick note are available.  It is deemed better to exclude these as they didn’t have many special constructions due to their brevity.