Here’s a link to something anybody interested in becoming an historian or an academic scholar in the humanities of any description should read – the full post requires membership of the Bart Ehrman Blog to read, but trust me, it’s worth it just for the posts Ehrman puts out over a weekend!
Before the first ‘original’ post of the day, I’d like to make use of the astonishing number of followers which HistoryJack appears to have acquired (in excess of 300 according to the hosting site!) to share and promote the work of one of my favorite historians, Professor Bart. D. Ehrman of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Being a non-classicist and previously unlearned in theology or religious history, I owe a tremendous debt to Dr. Ehrman for his popular texts which open up Biblical Studies and particularly critical scholarship in New Testament Studies to outsiders and laypeople. His New York Times bestsellers *Misquoting Jesus* and *How Jesus Became God* were two books which drew in this previously modernist-only history student into the dizzying world of modern biblical scholarship.
What makes Ehrman one of my favorite scholars – I’ll be doing a more lengthily post soon explaining why I’ve selected Ehrman and his own blog as model for my plans with HistoryJack – is that unlike other great historians and philosophers whose best work remains isolated in the walls of academe and buried in impenetrable technical prose, Ehrman has allotted vast quantities of time the past two decades to bring the findings of modern New Testament Studies to the public in accessible and enjoyable formats. His trade books and public debates have probably done more to advance biblical literacy and knowledge of the basic methods used by New Testament historians in recent years than the collective fruits of America’s vast industry of televangelism and Hollywood religious epics (I’m looking at you, Mel).
In the blog post above, Ehrman details what people should expect on the dreaded yet coveted Tenure Track at American universities. He discusses the roles new scholars are expected to play at both ‘research’ and ‘teaching’ colleges and how the system has changed during his career. For undergrads who have sought out information about graduate careers themselves, this is a vital insight from someone with decades in the field of research in a highly specialised subject (God forbid I should try to master Ancient Hebrew, Classical Greek, Koine Greek, Coptic and Aramaic to name the essentials) and who has an impressive record of communicating complex scholarly topics to the general public.
So get on over to the Bart Ehrman Blog, sign yourself up and get ready for some of the best biblical scholarship and history popularisation out there!