I was honored to have been invited by Women Biblical Scholars to contribute an autobiographical guest post highlighting how I became interested in biblical studies, who/what nurtured my passion and studies, and where I’m going. I was a bit squeamish about it because I don’t like writing about myself and am rather terrible at it, but I was very honored because this site is doing fantastic work highlighting the work of female biblical scholars. I regularly read the interviews they post and watch the videos they share. All who are interested in biblical studies in general should subscribe to Women Biblical Scholars (because the work they highlight is good work, period), but especially those interested in the work of women in the biblical studies guild.
I’d like to highlight something I forgot to mention in the post because it is a significant piece of my “academic” journey, and now that I’m a member of SBL and going to the annual meeting this fall it’s a bit funny and interesting. In the guest post I mention that my first brush with theology and biblical studies happened through internet searches. That is indeed true. I had had no exposure to Christianity before my “Damascus Road experience,” so I knew nothing about Christianity. Later on when I realized how much wacko stuff there was on the internet (in general, of course, but specifically in this case, related to Christianity) I marveled at how God had protected me and how it was a miracle that I had not lost my faith or become a heretic.
There was another experience, also within my first year as a Christian, that could have produced the same result. Right after I became a Christian it was time to sign up for the next semester’s courses, and I was shocked and elated that there was going to be a course on Christian Origins and New Testament. Since I was, obviously, at a secular university, I could not believe that there was going to be a course on Christianity. Of course at that time I was not aware of critical scholarship, and I assumed that everyone who studied the Bible (academically) was Christian. Well, this was the type of course that’s a bit of a boogyman among evangelicals – the kind of course that sometimes turns Christians away from the faith and/or turns them into liberals. Again, in later reflection I was profoundly grateful for the Lord preserving my faith. Not only that, but this secular NT course can in large part be credited with my bible-nerdery. Now that I’m a member of SBL, in this sense things have come full circle. What triggered this memory is that the preliminary annual meeting program recently became available online, and I saw that professor’s name under a board meeting.
Anyway, if you’d like to read more about my path from atheist to wannabe biblical scholar, check out the post on Women Biblical Scholars.