I haven’t talked much about my TCC classes lately, so here’s a quick update.
I’m about 1/3 of the way through the semester, and thus far have really enjoyed my classes but also have been surprised how much time has been involved in staying up with the classes. The Old Testament class has mostly focused on a literary/historical approach. There is some new ground being covered, but mostly it is review of what I had in my course work at ICC (now Austin Graduate School of Theology), howeve I don’t mind it since I feel like I’m getting more out of the material this second go-round, mostly because I’m more open now to exploring the Documentary Hypothesis (the idea that the Torah was written not by Moses, but rather was compiled from 4 textual traditions — for the most part, the most popular theory by Biblical scholars on the textual origins of the Torah) and the insights it sheds on understanding the Biblical text.
For the Eastern Religions survey course, we thus far have covered the Hindu and Sikh traditions, and now are moving into studying Jainism and Buddhism. The Hindu studies were very new to me (I’ve read lots on Buddhism and Taoism, but not so much on other Eastern religions) and I was struck by the monotheistic nature of Hinduism (the many Gods of Hinduism are in fact seen by Hindus as being only the manifestations of the one Godhead, much like Christians see the parts of the Trinity as being parts of the single Godhead). I also really came to understand the writings of the American Transcendentalists (Emerson, Thoreau, et. al) on a much deeper level as they were very much shaped by the Hindu ideas about the Brahman (the transcendant and divine ground of all existence, or God, depending on how you want to describe it) and the Atman (the individual soul).
Well anyway the work of the classes has been pretty consuming. So far though I’m doing ok in both classes and the first round of tests went much better than expected.
Here are some pictures I took of the neighborhood around the TCC metro campus in downtown Tulsa where I went to take my first test last weekend…