Dissertation Update and Realized Eschatology

I get questions all the time about the state of my PhD dissertation.  For the last year it has been more or less done, although like the coming kingdom, it is “already finished” but “not yet done.”  But this morning I handed in the “final” copy of my dissertation today to the PhD secretary.  While she savages my work with a red pen, the search for an outside reader continues.  I do not yet have a defense date, but it is looking more like early spring and a May graduation.

I am also frequently asked what my dissertation is on.  After all this time writing it, I am not even sure, so I randomly drew biblical studies buzz-words words out of a hat and entitled it “The Origin of the Eschatological Feast as a Wedding Banquet in the Synoptic Gospels: An Intertextual Study.”  I suppose I might have to change it if it turns out Eugene Peterson already used that title, but that is the title for now.

I am quite happy that the glacier-like process has finally begun to move.  I have a number of projects I want to work on which have been on the back-burner waiting to finish my up my degree.  Looks like I will be able to devote more time to a few of these writing projects soon.  Of course, the first step after graduation will be getting my dissertation published.

The “Not Yet” is looking a bit more like the “Already.”

8 thoughts on “Dissertation Update and Realized Eschatology

  1. A private posting you m,ay choose not to post publicly. First of all, Congratulationd! Second: Regarding the Escatological Feast in general (leaving aside the Bridal banquet for the moment) there is a rich corpus of material in rabbinical midrash about the Ox ans Leviathan. Granted, there is no Christological content, but it is a clear cultural parallel developing at the same time.

    • Phil – I am working the other direction, arguing that the “wedding banquet” is Jesus’ own blending of an eschatological banquet and the marriage metaphor (Hosea, etc) to describe his own ministry as a call to Israel to participate in the “end of the exile.” I read most of the Midrash / Targum material, but just could not date any of it with confidence to the first century. But I do agree, some interesting reading there!

      • Yes, it is darned impossible to date that material – a source of frustration to folks in the field. Regarding Jesus’ blending, I just had a thought. There are those who feel the Zoharic Kabbalah (which dates to late 14th century Christian Spain) contains esoteric knowledge that is ultimately Christian in origin. For example, In the Sabbath Eve hymn [from Wikipedia: “It was composed in the 16th century Ottoman Empire city of Edirne by Rabbi Shlomo Halevi Alkabetz, a Safed Kabbalist. As was common at the time, the song is also an acrostic, with the first letter of the first eight stanzas spelling the author’s name. The author draws much of his phraseology from Isaiah’s prophecy of Israel’s restoration, and six of his verses are full of the thoughts to which his vision of Israel as the bride on that great Shabbat of Messianic deliverance gives rise. It is one of the latest of the Hebrew poems regularly accepted into the liturgy, both in the southern use, which the author followed, and in the more distant northern rite.” I see in the poem the same promise, implicit in the hymn but explicit in Jesus. Your thesis is something I’d very much like to read.

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