NT Greek and Careers

Anything related to Biblical Greek that doesn't fit into the other forums.

NT Greek and Careers

Postby Drusilla Sawyer » July 20th, 2013, 10:36 pm

I can't seem to find anywhere else to put this so I am sticking it here. I see that a lot of "degree'd" individuals frequent and post on this forum. This is going to be sort of long but I'm hoping that (unlike everywhere else I've been) someone can provide me with some answers (or hopefully, places I can go to to get answers).

We are all here because we like NT Greek and the Bible right? I would hope so, at least. Here is my general background: Bachelor of Science degree (geology, with anthropology minor). and am currently working a contract job that is not degree-related (but science-related). Exciting? I know, it certainly is! I guess my question is: if I wanted to go to graduate school what could I do that combines geology, archaeology, and NT Greek? I have now developed an interest in learning some ancient languages (NT Greek, Biblical Hebrew, and Latin) but I also believe in the "hard sciences." I still like my rocks and I guess....dead people(?). :| But I also like my NT Greek. I feel like I'm being picky and too specialized, but I also realize that geology is fairly important to archaeology. Too many times when I was an undergrad student I always heard how "poor" the anthropology department was (it's true, they were). Most of the anthro students had poor knowledge of geological principles and had no training in how to use seismological equipment (which is, believe it or not, used for finding archaeological artifacts, ecofacts, etc. though not in the ways that you would think).

Obviously, there is this thing called "geoarchaeology" and "archaeological stratigraphy" but I have not found graduate programs (in US universities) in either. My anthropology background is rather small but I always tried emphasizing my huge interest in archaeology. I took a few courses in Mediterranean archaeology (an actual course on Mediterranean archaeology) and Egyptian archaeology. I was quite saddened that I didn't do actual archaeology in either of these classes. I am looking perhaps more toward a specialization(?) in Mediterranean archaeology, preferably Early Christianity. I know there is "Biblical archaeology" but that has a stronger emphasis on Old Testament times, Israel, strictly Hebrew language, etc. even though that area is technically "Mediterranean." Even though I am a "hard sciences" person I also have a strong interest in NT Greek and early biblical texts/translation.

I have contacted a few professors in the past year but usually their responses are "good luck kid, you'll need it." In other words, no real way to help lead me in the right direction. I contacted the one professor who taught my archaeology classes but he never replied back to any of my emails. So pretty much, I'm on my own. I have researched a few universities that offer biblical archaeology graduate programs, not so much "classical archaeology" programs yet (if they exist). Note that I would prefer to stick with an orthodox Christian university-preferably a Catholic one (I am Catholic afterall; I do not think I would be treated well at a non-Catholic but Christian university); I have had quite enough with secular universities. Have had professors state all kinds of wacky things that just make me sad. :(

So, advice? Comments? Or is this just me ranting about this out loud?
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Re: NT Greek and Careers

Postby Stephen Carlson » July 21st, 2013, 7:14 am

In the current economy, it looks like it would be hard to pull off an academic career in the humanities. Even people graduating from top schools are having a hard time finding jobs. Because jobs are few and there is much work to do, many digs ask for volunteers and the like. I think that Biblical Archaeology Review usually has an annual issue listing digs in Israel and contact information for joining them.

That being said, if you're interested in programs that deal with archeology of the ancient near east, you should also consider state schools. For example, UNC Chapel Hill has a good one, according to my colleagues there.
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D. (Duke)
Post-Doctoral Fellow, Faculty of Theology, Uppsala
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Re: NT Greek and Careers

Postby Jesse Goulet » July 21st, 2013, 2:04 pm

Schoolwise, you're best bet sounds like a either a Classical Studies program that gives you the option to specialize or at least offer a lot of courses on the archaeology of Greece and Rome, and NT Greek although they will want you to do Classical Greek instead probably. So you might consider a New Testament studies program instead where you will HAVE to take NT Greek but might b hard to find archaeological courses. As you said most archaeology is geared towards the OT (which makes sense given that the OT covers far more geographical territory and time than the NT). I know some schools will have you or give you the option of being part of a dig during the summer break. Trinity Evangelical Divinity offers an OT background program where the final capstone course is a dig.

You might also be interested in Jerusalem University College's Biblical Geography and History program: http://www.juc.edu/pdf/M.A.%20in%20Bibl ... graphy.pdf
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Re: NT Greek and Careers

Postby Stirling Bartholomew » July 21st, 2013, 3:46 pm

Drusilla Sawyer wrote:We are all here because we like NT Greek and the Bible right? ...

Obviously, there is this thing called "geoarchaeology" and "archaeological stratigraphy" ... I know there is "Biblical archaeology" but that has a stronger emphasis on Old Testament times, Israel, strictly Hebrew language, etc. even though that area is technically "Mediterranean." Even though I am a "hard sciences" person I also have a strong interest in NT Greek and early biblical texts/translation.

I have contacted a few professors in the past year but usually their responses are "good luck kid, you'll need it." ...


Note that I would prefer to stick with an orthodox Christian university-preferably a Catholic one (I am Catholic afterall; I do not think I would be treated well at a non-Catholic but Christian university); I have had quite enough with secular universities. Have had professors state all kinds of wacky things that just make me sad. :(



There seems to be a thread here of trying to work in multiple disciplines. Some aspects of Biblical archaeology would presuppose a professional level of competence in the biblical languages. You can't read inscriptions or papyri without it. I know bible translation professionals who have a keen interest in archaeology but they are biblical linguists by profession. They visit digs and take photos and read the archaeological literature but make their living managing translation projects.

People with biblical studies PhDs from respectable or even famous schools are often found teaching as adjunct professors and are compelled to earn their living elsewhere. This is not such a bad scenario for people who feel called to teach. But working two jobs isn't for everyone.

I think the people who told you "good luck" were probably responding to a slightly utopian flavor in the expression of your educational and occupational objectives.
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Re: NT Greek and Careers

Postby Shirley Rollinson » July 22nd, 2013, 10:47 pm

Drusilla Sawyer wrote: Here is my general background: Bachelor of Science degree (geology, with anthropology minor). and am currently working a contract job that is not degree-related (but science-related). Exciting? I know, it certainly is! I guess my question is: if I wanted to go to graduate school what could I do that combines geology, archaeology, and NT Greek? I have now developed an interest in learning some ancient languages (NT Greek, Biblical Hebrew, and Latin) but I also believe in the "hard sciences." I still like my rocks and I guess....dead people(?). :| But I also like my NT Greek. I feel like I'm being picky and too specialized, but I also realize that geology is fairly important to archaeology.
- - - snip snip - - -
I took a few courses in Mediterranean archaeology (an actual course on Mediterranean archaeology) and Egyptian archaeology. I was quite saddened that I didn't do actual archaeology in either of these classes. I am looking perhaps more toward a specialization(?) in Mediterranean archaeology, preferably Early Christianity. I know there is "Biblical archaeology" but that has a stronger emphasis on Old Testament times, Israel, strictly Hebrew language, etc. even though that area is technically "Mediterranean." Even though I am a "hard sciences" person I also have a strong interest in NT Greek and early biblical texts/translation.

- - - snip snip - - -
Note that I would prefer to stick with an orthodox Christian university-preferably a Catholic one (I am Catholic afterall; I do not think I would be treated well at a non-Catholic but Christian university); I have had quite enough with secular universities. Have had professors state all kinds of wacky things that just make me sad. :(

So, advice? Comments? Or is this just me ranting about this out loud?


You might consider a "Biblical Studies - Education" mix, and put the geology on hold for a few years.
My first degree is Maths-Physics-Chemistry, with a Ph.D. in Chemistry, then an M.Div. (and assorted other things such as a Cert. Ed. - an old British teaching qualification, probably no longer given)
Then you could get into the academic teaching field. One of my colleagues who teaches Hebrew has a Master's in "Mediterranean Studies" - but she also has to teach assorted other Humanities courses.
BTW - I teach at a State Univeristy - ENMU - with a Religion Program (but only to the Bachelor's level) including Bib. Arch, Greek, Hebrew, and Latin. Until this semester the program included a Roman Catholic professor (his archbishop is moving him, and so far hasn't sent us a replacement). So there are some secular universities where Catholics are a welcome part of the student mix.
I think as far as a "paying job" goes, your best bet is to aim for qualifications which would enable you to get an academic teaching post (University or Seminary) where you would probably be called upon to teach a range of humanities subjects (or, given your background, "Science and Religion" type courses), and use the summers for archaeological digs and get the experience and a toe in the field.
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Re: NT Greek and Careers

Postby ed krentz » July 23rd, 2013, 2:56 pm

I taught NT for 60 years in 6 different seminaries. And I was the associate director of the excavations at Caesarea Maritima, Israel from 1976 to 1987. So let me say a bit about what it takes to do and teach the archaeology that might be related to the interpretation of the New Testament.

If one is interested in Biblical archaeology, let me assure you there really is no such discipline. If you are interested in archaeology related to the NT then you need to 1) study the archaeolorgy of the Greco-Roman world. You need experience in field archaeology in Palestine, Turkey or Greece--and need to be familiar with archaeological sites in Rome, France, Spain and North Africa.

You need to become familiar with the methods of stratigraphic excavation, with recording excavation activity, and with the interpretation of published reports. You will learn about Munsell soil color charts and how to distinguish different strata of soil. One needs to know ceramic chronology, the different wares and their provenances in the Mediterranean world. And you need to know methods of construciton of stone and daub-and-wattle or mud brick construction.

Ideally you will also know the epigraphic styles of stonecutters in the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods. In short, archaeologyis a demanding discipline that takes some years to master. Don't enter it liightly,, expecting to master it in a year or two. And the bibliography is massive.

Ed Kerentz
Edgar Krentz
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Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
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Re: NT Greek and Careers

Postby ed krentz » July 23rd, 2013, 7:30 pm

I taught NT for 60 years in 6 different seminaries. And I was the associate director of the excavations at Caesarea Maritima, Israel from 1976 to 1987. So let me say a bit about what it takes to do and teach the archaeology that might be related to the interpretation of the New Testament.

If one is interested in Biblical archaeology, let me assure you there really is no such discipline. If you are interested in archaeology related to the NT then you need to study the archaeology of the Greco-Roman world. You need experience in field archaeology in Palestine, Turkey or Greece--and need to be familiar with archaeological sites in Rome, France, Spain and North Africa.

You need to become familiar with the methods of stratigraphic excavation, with recording excavation activity, and with the interpretation of published reports. You will learn about Munsell soil color charts and how to distinguish different strata of soil. One needs to know ceramic chronology, the different wares and their provenances in the Mediterranean world. And you need to know methods of construction of stone and daub-and-wattle or mud brick construction.

Ideally you will also know the epigraphic styles stone-cutters used in the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods. In short, archaeology is a demanding discipline that takes some years to master. Don't enter it liightly, expecting to master it in a year or two. And the bibliography is massive.

Ed Krentz
Edgar Krentz
Prof. Emeritus of NT
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
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