Monday, February 05, 2007
(8:21 AM) | Adam Kotsko:
A New Semester DawnsThis week the CTS semester officially starts. I have already been in class for several weeks at this point, so this isn't so much a new beginning as an added burden: some extra reading for class, plus reading 100 pages or so of Calvin and grading reflection papers each week for Systematic Theology. The nice thing is that I will finally be getting my student loans, although currently I am faced with the problem that the business office thinks I'm taking a U of C course that I am not in fact taking. Getting that erroneous notice was very discouraging for me, not because I thought it wouldn't be resolved, but because it potentially introduces another delay and I'm really tired of being broke.
Thankfully, the quarter ends mid-March, after which point I'll have so much free time I won't know what to do with myself. In the meantime, though, my three courses -- "Creaturely Life" with Eric Santner, "Derrida and the Question of Life" with Michael Naas, and a seminar on Judith Butler with Ken Stone -- exhibit a certain thematic unity. I'm more excited about the Butler class since reading her essay on "Critique of Violence" from Hent deVries' new Massive Tome. Although Butler is stereotyped as the very worst academic writer, this essay was crystal clear and extremely helpful.
As I get ready to read some Anselm for my directed reading in medieval theology, however, I am starting to have something of a crisis of faith. Wouldn't it have made more sense if, instead of reading patristic stuff during that fateful summer, I had started in on the 20th Century Theology materials and gotten really into modern theology? That would, after all, have some kind of actual connection to the stuff I'm doing with philosophy. Plus, the language factor is holding me back from doing much serious work on the Greek figures, who are more interesting to me -- presumably if I'd done modern stuff, that wouldn't have been a factor, and in fact my German might be more nearly functional by now (i.e., more consistently beyond "dictionary reading").
The benefit, of course, is that when I give my Gifford Lectures, I won't be in the embarrassing position of citing secondary works when I do my historical exposition sections. Instead of citing Étienne Gilson, I can just go straight for the Patrologia.