This week the Fall 2014 academic quarter starts up in the UC system, meaning that I am heading back to grad school. As I discussed in a previous post, this year will be especially important for my graduate career, since I will be taking the last 3 (out of 7) of my Ph.D. qualifying exams (Latin translation, Greek translation, and ancient literature). If I can pass those, then I will advance to candidacy and be cleared for starting my dissertation.
I am fortunate to have a 6-year fellowship at UC Irvine, so that, if I can pass my qualifying exams this year, I will have 3 years after that to work on my dissertation. I also plan to finish my book project during that time. All of this will hopefully take place during academic years 2015-2018.
So now I want to discuss my plans for academic year 2014-2015. Κέλσος is nearing its two year anniversary on October 1st. I’ve blogged consistently for the first two years of my Ph.D. program and worked to share a lot of what I have learned from my graduate work about ancient history and the Greco-Roman world. I am also glad that during that time Κέλσος was ranked 75th Bible blog on the web in Peter Kirby’s (Early Christian Writings) 2014 Summer Report.
This year will be the most challenging yet of my graduate career. Since I have to pass both a Latin and Greek translation exam (3 hours each), based on a list of ancient authors spanning a thousand year period (8th century BCE – 2nd century CE), with no dictionary of course, I will need to be devoting my full energy and attention to preparing my Latin and Greek language skills. Also, in Spring 2015, I plan to commute up to UC Santa Barbara to take New Testament and ancient religion seminars in their Religious Studies department, which will be another major time commitment.
So, where does blogging fit into this year? I have thought about it, and, while I think that it would be possible for me to still keep up blogging, while studying for my Ph.D. exams, I have decided that it is probably not the best use of my time year. This year I need to not only pass my Latin and Greek exams, but also to hone my skills as a philologist and professional. After all, you only get your graduate years once, and when you are a Classicist, a substantial part of that time needs to be spent, not only learning Latin and Greek, but perfecting and mastering your skills in those languages. You will need to master these languages before you can be a professor in academia.
As such, I have decided that I will not be posting continuously this academic year on Κέλσος and Civitas Humana. For the past two years I have worked to put up multiple posts each month (usually 3 on Κέλσος and 1 on Civitas Humana). My posts are often long and take a long time to write. For 2014-2015, I will not be posting on a consistent month-to-month basis. I need to be fully freed from all other commitments, so that I can devote all of my energy to my Ph.D. graduate work this year.
Does that mean I will not be posting anything? NO. I still plan to post on this blog over the next academic year, I only do not promise to post anything consistently. I am right in the middle of my metaphysics series on Civitas Humana, and I have only written the first part of my ancient biography series on Κέλσος. I will come back and finish these series whenever I find the time. I also plan to announce future publications here, and to post papers from conferences.
The main difference for 2014-2015 is that I will only be posting more sporadically rather than on a consistent month-to-month basis.
I do plan to return in 2015-2018 to continue blogging more on counter-apologetics, especially as I work on my book project and dissertation.
Thanks to everyone who has been reading the blog! I’ve written a lot over the past two years and I appreciate everyone who has been consistent readers. Already, both Κέλσος and Civitas Humana provide great databases on ancient history, counter-apologetics, naturalism, and secular humanism. It’s great to already have this information out there, even if I write less this year.
Feel free to still post comments during 2014-2015. I’ll still be around and will still be studying ancient history, the New Testament, and philosophy. I also look forward to this being a refreshing year to study the Latin and Greek languages at my most rigorous level yet!