Thoughts After Fall Quarter 2006

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I realized yesterday that I haven’t blogged in quite awhile and realized I needed a little break from it. There’s so much I’ve been thinking about and I’ve needed some space to do it without trying to come up with something worth reading (as if that ever happens here anyways!). Anyways, here are some thoughts on my first quarter as a PhD student, in fact it’s been 11 weeks now since I officially began this new journey, something that continues to cause lots of reflection and prayer.

When I started 11 weeks ago I had very little idea about what I was getting into, what kinds of expectations there would be, what the amount of work would be like, whether I would be able to keep up with the rest of the students in my first seminar. Too top all those worries off, I didn’t take a light seminar for acclimation – Readings In Alasdair MacIntyre with Anabaptist Philosopher and Theologian Nancey Murphy.

Murphy has been one of my favorite professors since I first took “Philosophy of Religion” her while I was working on my Masters in Theology a couple years ago. Her philosophy of science and Anabaptist tradition have greatly shaped my thinking as a scholar. If I had to pick the two most influential people on my thinking it would be her and Ryan.

So I was extremely excited about this class and also very nervous about it. But Ryan thought that it would be good for me to get MacIntyre’s framework under my belt and I am really glad I did this class. MacIntyre’s moral philosophy has forever changed the way I frame things and I now see that his work will be the spine of all the research I do from here on out. I learned so much by reading his stuff because he is so brilliant, Murphy says he’s the most important living philosopher of the past 50 years. He not only does amazing ancient and medieval historical study but he also knows tons about Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment philosophers, theology, and church history. So for all this I look back and can’t believe how much I’ve learned already.

The Books I’ve Read This Quarter and What I think of Them

****Four stars means you’ve got to read it!

Alasdair MacIntyre


Against the self-images


After Virtue


Whose Justice


A Short History of Ethics


****Three Rival Versions


****Dependent Rational Animals

–My favorite was Dependent Rational Animals, the best place to start is Three Rival Versions if you want to get a good overview of his thought, and the most formative to my thinking on traditions was “Whose Justice”
See posts on MacIntyre here.


****Irresistible Revolution – Shane Claiborne

See Posts here and here


Fences and Windows – Naomi Klein


****Culture Jam – Kalle Lasn

See post here.


Dissident Discipleship – Augsburger


****John Howard Yoder – Nation

Reviews of these two books will are forthcoming with Quaker Life magazine.


Virtues and Practices in the Christian Tradition – Nancey Murphy

See post here.


****How not to speak of God – Peter Rollins

See post here.

Partial Reads


Transforming Powers – Gingerich


Subversion of Christaianity – Ellul

Jaques Ellul Interpretive Essays – ???

Intro to Karl Barth — Bromiley

Novels:


****Grapes of Wrath – Steinbeck

(I have about 90 pages left!)


Harry Potter and the Half Blooded Prince – Rowling

Favorite Records This Quarter

A few artists I have really enjoyed this quarter are:

1. Thom Yorke – Eraser
2. Joanna Newsome – Ys
3. Band of Horses – Everything All the Time
4. Rock Votolato – Makers
5. M.Ward – Post-War
6. Ane Brun – A Temporary Dive

Though this says differently

Where too Now?

So now I am reading and researching to figure out what on earth I will be writing my seminar paper on – more on this later.

Next quarter – I plan to do a reading tutorial with Ryan on the “Global Information Culture” and its implications for traditions – I think this will be a very interesting study to do and it’s a subject that Ryan is really excited about as well so it should be fun.

Oh and this summer, so far as the plan goes, I will be in Birmingham for 10-12 weeks. The first six I will unfortunately be without my spouse but then she’ll be coming out once she’s done with school. I will be doing a reading tutorial with Ben Pink Dandelion on the formation of virtues and practices within early Quakerism. I can hardly wait. Simon and I plan to kick it (in a pacifist since he pointed out) so if anyone else is near there let me know so we can hang out!

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Wess

...is the William R. Rogers Director of Friends Center and Quaker Studies at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC., PhD in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary, served as a "released minister" at Camas Friends Church, and father of three. He enjoys sketchnoting, sharing conversation over coffee with a friend, listening to vinyl and writing creative nonfiction.

8 thoughts on “Thoughts After Fall Quarter 2006”

  1. Oh, how well I remember those fruitful days as a Ph.D. student at Fuller (under Jim Bradley). The freedom to plow through ancient books. I hope your time in the program goes well!

  2. “…he’s the most important living philosopher of the past 50 years.”

    I’m fine with the statement as long as we add ‘moral’ before philosopher.

    After Virtue is the most important of his works, though I think Who’s…, 3RivVer, both improve upon it. I love MacIntyre’s account of how practices need institutions to sustain them, but that institutions tend to be parisitic on the practices they are supposed to sustain.

  3. @Bob – thanks for the comment, it’s great to have another Fuller Alum commenting. I’ve never taken a class with Jim but I’ve heard he’s wonderful.

    @drm – Absolutely – I should have been more specific and added ‘moral’ something I overlooked and that’s what Nancey actually did say, so thanks for the correction.

    I agree with you After Virtue is definately the most important work he did, I could easily switch WJWR as most formative to After Virtue but I was thinking in terms of traditions overcoming epistemological crises. But I love After Virtue – especially the last 8 chapters!

  4. Wow, you’ll be doing a tutorial with Pink Dandolian – very exciting.

    I know your recommendations were on readings, but I noticed the reference to Joanna Newsome and I’ve heard some of her work (“Peach, Plums, Pears” – I think that was the name of it). I love it. I also read reviews of her newest CD and they are all around raving about it.

    I tend to like music more than books. 🙂 But, thanks for the reading list anyway. 😉

  5. Hi Joe – yes I am really excited about studying with Ben!

    And about music vs. books — I would expect a podcaster to like music more than books – the fluff of this generation, for me I will take real learning!

    Anyways – All five of those albums are awesome and highly recommended.

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