Plans for the Fall Quarter

I started the Fall quarter at UC Irvine this week, and I have an exciting announcement about my teaching assignment over the next couple months. I’ll be serving as a TA for a Religious Studies course on Western religion, focusing primarily on Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, but also Zoroastrianism and other religions West of the Indus Valley.

I’ve taught a good deal about Christian origins in courses dealing with the history of the Roman Empire, previously, but this is my first teaching assignment specifically in “Religious Studies,” as opposed to Classics. The course should offer a good opportunity to broaden my inter-disciplinary work in the Humanities.

Aside from that, I am going to continue to be busy working on my dissertation for the rest of the year. I’ve been making good progress, but it’s also intense and time-consuming work. As such, I’m not sure right now whether I will have much time for blogging over the next couple months.

I wish I could spend more time writing on other topics of history and philosophy besides my dissertation, but the next couple years of my graduate work will be crucial for developing original and technical research that is of interest to scholars, and not just a general audience. Writing on issues of counter-apologetics is very helpful for providing online secular resources, but it can also wait for a more opportune time. (My hope is that others will write on these topics, during my temporary absence.)

In the meantime, I have a couple of pending projects that I am taking a break from, but plan to resume at some point. Among these is my ongoing book review of Craig Keener’s Miracles, which I started at the end of last year, but have had to pause while working on my dissertation.

I likewise will probably not be able to do much work on my book project for a while. I haven’t forgotten about it, but it’s going to be several years in the making, due to the fact that I will be developing it as a secondary project, alongside my more pressing work in academia. In general, however, I have found that my writing has steadily improved over the last four years, and so rushing a counter-apologetics book may not be the best approach at this point. Had I published a book two years ago, it probably would not be as strong as my writing today. Giving the project more years, as I focus on career development, therefore, I think will eventually lead to an improved final product.

In better news, however, I will soon be publishing a couple of peer-reviewed articles that consist of roughly 50,000 words (approximately 200 double-spaced pages of material). In a way, that content alone already amounts to the length of a small book, and so I am excited that I can publish it while doing other work on my dissertation. I’ll post an announcement here, once the articles are published.

Recently this blog reached over 300,000 page views (not even including the traffic I got on my old blog server). I haven’t done a word count of the material on this site, but I am confident that it would span over 1,000 double-spaced pages (maybe even 2,000). I’m glad to have created so much material, during the first half of my PhD graduate studies. I plan to create much more when time permits, but even the existing material already constitutes an extensive resource.

I’m hoping to have a good Fall quarter, and am looking forward to the months ahead!

-Matthew Ferguson

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