I wonder how many theological Ph.D. dissertations ever get read after they're approved. Is there a mausoleum they all go to once the authors collect their coveted sheepskin? What would you say is the percentage that survive as something helpful to the Kingdom? Does it parallel the one sperm in a million that hits the ovum?
At a recent church party I met a man who is working on his Ph.D. He didn't look very excited, but it could just be that he had a headache, or didn't like talking to me. His topic is the use of sarcasm in the first eight chapters of Isaiah.
My late husband started a dissertation on some minor theological point in the thought of a minor Scottish theologian-but I could see his heart wasn't in it. We were both relieved when the seminary let him break tradition by researching a freshly dead Korean theologian (Young was Korean) rather than a long dead white man.
Sometimes I wonder if we denominational types get ingrown and are forced to scrape the bottom of the barrel for topics. I fear the academic counterpart of genetic inbreeding among the Tudors.
I've been reading Charles Finney, who was radioactive in the seminary I attended-mentioned only in passing and with a sneer. His book is changing my life. I am fantasizing that some gutsy student will write this dissertation: "How Our Denomination Should Repent for Disdaining a Godly Man Like Finney." Do you think the title is too long?
The Intelligent Man in C.S.Lewis' The Great Divorce thought it would be interesting to probe "what [Jesus'] mature views would have been." Now there's a dissertation proposal, if the Lord tarries. I don't think we have that kind of time, though.