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sacklunch last won the day on October 10 2014

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  1. I'd be happy to share mine, though not sure how much use it would be. I work in later antiquity as well. Shoot me a PM if you want and ill email you.
  2. I think we might be talking about different things, but fair enough. I would encourage you to look at European schools for a few reasons. One, even the 'greats' - Oxford, et al. - are comparatively easy to get into; they seem to have far more American, non-traditional students. Second, they will be receptive to you knowing, at this stage, exactly what you want to write your dissertation on (good American schools will not). Third, and most important, you have the funds.
  3. The reason I did not address the question directly, and I suspect the same for the others, is that it is too vague. "Gnostic/Pagan roots of Christianity" may strike some as nonsensical or, in light of scholarship on earliest Christianity in the past few decades, backward looking. So it's hard to recommend any scholar in particular. But, really, this forum is not terribly great for these kinds of questions--I wish it were, but most of the posters and conversations lean toward M* applicants. You are better off a) researching yourself using department websites, google books, jstor, etc. and then b) emailing current doctoral students/scholars in the subfield/s you see yourself in. Re languages, Syriac isn't going to get you very far in "gnostic studies"; there are a few wildly understudied Syriac texts with "gnostic themes" (forgive the imprecision) recovered among the magnificent remains of fourth-century Roman Kellis, but unsurprisingly these are Syriac-Coptic texts, which again brings up the importance of Coptic for studying "gnosticism." But, still again, "gnosticisim" may mean something very different to you than it does me (so you know I'm not completely full of it: I'm writing my doctoral dissertation, mostly I work in Greek papyrology, but I continue to work heavily with the earliest surviving Coptic texts). I am honestly happy to hear you are optimistic! You will without doubt face age discrimination; take some time to browse the current doctoral students at any of the schools you mentioned. I can almost guarantee that none of them will have a single student over the age of 40. The reality, then, is you will probably have to complete a doctoral degree at a lesser known school, which will likely mean no funding or very limited funds, and so on. It really does pain me to type this out, because I know how painful it is to hear you 'can't' do something because of conditions beyond your control. I hope I am wrong and I really do wish you the best of luck.
  4. For a Divinity School, the students, at least the ones I've known, are indeed open minded (as are the faculty). As for studying comparative religion there, good luck? I'm sure they have some good course offerings and obviously Yale U is a different question altogether, but I very much doubt whether YDS is 'ideal' for studying comparative religion. It's a Divinity School and as such many if not most of its classes will have a theological component and thus will be viewed as 'inappropriate' (et sim.) by many academics in the field of religious studies. But in any case, the original question relates to moral theology and for that subfield YDS is a fine choice (though ND is far better known for that subfield).
  5. Haven't read much about this program. You're using OSX I assume?
  6. Good points, both of you. My experience visiting and interviewing there was it's 'ok' if you're a Christian with more traditional social interests. Every single doctoral student I met was Christian and most of them had families. This isn't a criticism, but is only to say that this seemed to have a big impact on the overall social and academic climate there. Most people will have no problem with that climate--because they are 'those' people.
  7. I couldn't, to be fair. Though I don't think I could handle New Haven either. Both are pretty terrible.
  8. Agreed. ND has a much better reputation than Yale Div. Again, I'm speaking of the M* level. The reason: ND is simply much harder to get into than YDS, especially considering we are here talking about ND's MTS vs YDS's MDiv. Completely different ballpark.
  9. I'm not clear what you mean by 'more conservative.' Clarify a bit if you can.
  10. Me: sixth year PhD candidate, broadly ancient history, specialty papyrology (mostly Greek, lots of Coptic et al.), late ancient reading practices, scholars, Septuagint, ancient grammar, etc. I have toyed around with various word processors, but always come back to Word. My school has a paid subscription for OneDrive, which syncs remarkably well with Word, autosaves, etc., which makes it an easy choice. Bibliography. This one is hard. I use Endnote online, mostly because my Uni has a paid subscription. I mostly use it to store and organize references related to my dissertation and books/articles I need/want to read at some point. But honestly, I didn't use any kind of software before my dissertation and I never found it to be a hassle. I suppose you could start using something like Endnote now, especially if it's free for you. Resources I wish I would have known about. Hmm...A big one that comes to mind is to invest in the cheapest new ipad and ipencil (or similar stylus--the new base ipad supports ipencil now, used to be only the pro). I was one of those people who hated reading articles/books electronically. But I realized that with the pencil, it feels basically the same as the real thing. The biggest advantage for me reading this way is I can pull up the article/book on my laptop/desktop and see my notes/highlights. This helps immensely when you are returning to certain references over long spans of time (dissertation work). Another tech item is getting more than one monitor, but the benefits of this are largely contingent on the kind of work you do (or will do). For me, I spend lots of time looking at digital images of papyri alongside text documents; I have to do a lot of transcribing, etc., and with only one monitor you will make mistakes. I doubt you are/will be doing this kind of work, but the benefits are still there even if you are only looking at multiple (modern) text documents. Language upkeep - good luck. How many languages? Dead and/or spoken? You will probably have to give up competency in some over time, increase competency in others. So it goes.
  11. I don't want to discourage you, but to be blunt, your chances are not good. The biggest challenge is your age. It is perhaps unfortunate, but I think true that most academics at the schools you're after will not want to devote energy to training you when the time you would be working as a scholar in the field is limited (if you're 48 now, you are looking at something like 8-10 years from now when you would finish the PhD). Moreover, you will encounter pushback against the idea that you can turn an MTS project into a 'good' dissertation (again, thinking here of the academics at the schools you're after). Again, I'm sorry to be so negative! Others please feel free to join in and offer some more positive feedback.
  12. If you were in said program already? I doubt the school would risk kicking you out, but more importantly, I don't think anyone would care. Yes, it might impact your future career, if you want to stay in academia; for example, if one of your faculty advisers found out and cared. But overall I have found faculty to be far more liberal on these kinds of issues than the general public, so I doubt anyone would care much, if at all. Yes, there are schools that have conduct codes, of sorts, but I doubt you have much interest in attending those schools anyway (as far as I know, the only schools to have such codes are religiously conservative schools).
  13. Great questions. I don't really have any solid answers. Perhaps somewhat related, have you visited ND? When I went there for the interview (PhD) I was so turned off just by the general conservative atmosphere as well as what seemed to be an awful place to live. I recall one of the orientation events discussing things like "what your spouse can do around town for fun when she gets pregnant and you're busy with school." I promptly raised my hand and asked what South Bend had to offer for secular homosexuals with no interest in kids. They didn't have any good recommendations. Anyways, my expectations were set by liberal Jesuit schools (like Fordham) and I mistakenly assumed that ND would be similar-ish. I guess with COVID the on-site interviews are canceled?
  14. I don't doubt that it is, though I question how much of that is the PhD/ThD. I was speaking strictly about masters degrees at HDS and the fact that HDS, like all top divinity schools in the US, have relatively high acceptance rates for M* degrees. The doctoral programs do not, of course, and they mirror the low acceptance rates of other disciplines. To put it in perspective, I can't imagine any faculty member working in ancient history being more impressed with an applicant who has an MTS from HDS verses the ECS masters from ND. The latter is highly selective, the former is not. But, yes, HDS is still Harvard, so it has a 'better' ranking than ND.
  15. Well, to be fair, most admission committees won't see many applicants from Yale U, since that would mean the applicant went to Yale for college (a rather unlikely scenario, if anyone has been tracking stats at R1 schools these days [in short record low humanities majors, while non-elite schools fair much better and haven't changed much in this regard in the past decade]) or perhaps went there for some other M* degree, but I'm not sure if Yale U even offer a degree that would allow one to take advanced classes in ANE studies. Most of the applicants to the top religion (perhaps less so ANE) programs in the US come from divinity schools. My point, in part, was that because most come from divinity schools, faculty are aware of what to expect, as far as preparation goes. Regarding the MARc, yes, while the degree may allow one to take more advanced classes, opting out of intro ones, the potential problem still remains, i.e. the average advanced class is probably more akin to an advanced undergraduate course. So, e.g., if you took a Greek or Hebrew exegesis course at YDS, my guess is it would be about the same level of difficulty as an undergrad class that required 2 years of the language (so a class of juniors and seniors). The reasons for this are practical: because divinity schools don't have language prereqs, they have a lot of students who begin language study when they start their MDiv or MAR, less so MARc. But, majority wins: the courses, perhaps rightly so, are structured to allow those 'late' starting students to join. Outside of the YDS, at Yale U, things will be different; they don't have that expectation and will be full of mostly doctoral students--but don't let that scare you off! Because many of those doctoral students came from divinity schools (and recently, since they are in their first two years of coursework), their language training may be about where you are at now. The good thing about YDS, if you can take enough classes at Yale U, is that you can get a nice mix of intensity during the semester. I should also alert you, and others please speak up if you have an opinion on this, that some professors in religion prefer students with a diverse academic background, in the sense that they like people who went to more than one school. The thinking is that you will have 'proved' yourself in more than one academic environment, thereby increasing the likelihood that your polished CV is not some kind of fluke. This matters far less if you went to a known school--the assumption then is you have already been vetted, plus profs at R1's tend to know each other. They will simply email their friend and ask about you. This can work for or against you. It's hard for me to have a strong opinion about your situation, because a) I know nothing about your current school (e.g. what kind of classes can you take that you haven't) and b) I don't know enough about what you can opt out of at YDS, what classes they will have there and at Yale U when you're there.
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