All good things...
Well, today is officially the last day of my sabbatical. It’s been a great and productive experience.
It Was Productive
The agreed-upon goal with Oklahoma Christian University was to revise for publication two chapters of my dissertation, namely the theory and model chapters. This took a fair amount of time, since part of the revision required changing the formatting from one style guide to another. This may sound simple, but with hundreds of footnotes, a tremendous amount of Greek in both the body and the footnotes to change (manually) from one font family to another, and many other items of minute detail, it took a while! Of course, there was some content revision, as well. Nevertheless, I completed that. I have three more chapters to revise and then I will get it sent off for publication in the LBS series with Brill.
In addition to dissertation revisions, I managed to get a few other things done. Early on in the sabbatical, I revised and significantly bulked up an article (12,686 words) entitled "The Linguistics of Social Identity (Re-)Formation in the New Testament," and got it sent off to Bulletin for Biblical Research, the journal of the Institute for Biblical Research. It is currently "in review" (I learned recently that only one more reviewer needs to give feedback; here’s hoping it will get accepted and that revisions are minor). Second, I finished a 10,000 word chapter (well, ok, nearly 12,000 words out of 10,000) on Martin Dibelius’s interpretation of the Gospel of Luke for a book edited by Stanley E. Porter and Ron Fay for a series of books about significant modern interpreters of the New Testament (the series title is Milestones in New Testament Scholarship). This required a lot of work with primary sources written in German.
Also, I got started on one of three (at this point) entries I am contracted to write for the forthcoming Encyclopedia of Biblical Greek Language and Linguistics (Baker), namely the entry on Appraisal Theory (which is the sociolinguistic model I used in my dissertation).
So, all in all, a decent sabbatical.
What I Did Right
One thing I did right was to avoid going to campus. I think I was only on OC campus 4 or 5 times during the entire semester. At least three of those were very brief visits (a couple of times when no one was there) to pick up books from the library or my office. Another was for the retirement luncheon for one of my good friends and colleague in the College of Biblical Studies. I could have tried the "hang a sign on the door" method, but I’ve done that before and people (both students and faculty) still knocked, needing "only a few minutes" of my time. So, it was the right thing for me to move home for the semester.
Another thing I did right was to get out of town when I could. I went to the family farm in Iowa in late July and early August for a couple of weeks, and again in October. Those were very productive times for me, and I was also able to enjoy and help out my parents and see Iowa family and friends. I was also able to go to the Annual Society of Biblical Literature conference in San Diego in November just before Thanksgiving. I am co-chair of the Greek Language and Linguistics program unit, so I moderated one of the two sessions we offered.
What I Did Wrong
If I ever get approval for another sabbatical, one thing that I will do differently will be to apply for as many research grants as I can (from external granting organizations). This time around, I started applying relatively late and did not receive any awards. If I had been on the ball sooner, perhaps I would have had better luck. Had I received a grant, I would have traveled more. I would have loved to return to Hamilton, Ontario, to McMaster Divinity College, for 10 days or two weeks. I think being in that environment could have sparked even greater productivity. It would also have been fun to see old friends and to see how things are going at my PhD alma mater.
I do not plan to wait until I am eligible for another sabbatical to apply for research grants. I am under contract for several research and writing projects. In addition to the entries for the aforementioned encyclopedia, I am also to write two commentaries, one on Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon and another on 1 Corinthians. So, a research/book grant (or two) would provide funds for OC to pay an adjunct to cover my classes and for me to work on those projects.
So, I start back to teaching in January 2020, two days after my 48th birthday. I will be teaching Elementary Greek II (3 hours), Parables of Jesus (2 hours), Galatians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians (3 hours), and Story of the New Testament (2 hours). Also, as chair of the Graduate School of Theology, I will be reading 4 masters theses this term and sitting on those committees. So, it’ll be a busy term, but hey…it’s what I signed up for!
But first, before all of that, Christmas and New Year’s celebrations!