Back To Busy-ness

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 11:25 PM

Well, it itime to start running like a chicken with my head cut off again. For the last few weeks (six, actually), I've been enjoying conducting business at a leisurely rate. Yesterday, the spring semester started, which means the balancing act will begin again. Right on cue, I have web design requests and major computer system failures to fix, whereas two weeks ago I was investing all of my time in SAFARI because I did not have any work at all from clients. But you don't want to hear me whine about that, do you?

This semester is going to be interesting. I have four out of five classes on Tuesday/Thursday, with one class on Monday/Wednesday/Friday. This has the distinct advantage that I will have more flexibility on things such as when I can schedule computer repair house calls I do, but the disadvantage that Tuesdays and Thursdays are essentially booked. Four one hour and fifteen minute classes in a row isn't exactly my choice of plans, but it is just how things worked out. Next semester, I'll probably have mostly evening classes (even worse for the way I do things, but enough complaining).

At any rate, this semester I flip around. Last semester I had four literature courses and one religion course, all, of course, for the double major of English and Religion (link to my explanation of that combination, why I'm getting out of the computer industry, etc., for those of you new to asisaid and looking to kill some time). So I was mostly dabbling in the world of English. This semester I have three religion classes and two English classes, making my emphasis on the Religion major rather than English. Next semester, it'll probably be the other way again.

In case you are curious, here's what I'm taking:

Shakespeare - This is a class I've been really looking forward to. It's Shakespeare, Shakespeare and more Shakespeare. Tomorrow we'll do half of the sonnets that have been selected, then, over the next few weeks, do a half a dozen plays before returning to sonnets in the middle of the semester. We start out with Richard III, then do some of the other historical plays, going into March with my personal favorite — Hamlet. I can't recall the ordering for the second half, but we finish, appropriately, with the Tempest. Should be fun. The professor said with some irony and bewilderment that some who have taken the class have had a hard time identifying the author of a quote on the tests — I'm memorizing “all” the authors ahead of time just to be safe.

American Lit I — This is a class I probably should have taken concurrently with Brit Lit, but scheduling did not allow for it… it looks like it should be good, although I don't know what to expect. The professor was in a hurry since she couldn't find a proper parking space and didn't want her car towed. It covers 1500-1890.

New Testament Greek — I'm determined to master Koine Greek once and for all. Well, maybe not master it, but at least take my rusty knowledge of it and turn it (hopefully) into a productive skill. The professor is from Covenant Seminary in St. Louis and seemed quite knowledgeable. This course doesn't count toward anything I need, but I wanted to take it for the said reason of “de-rusting.” It's a small class that will likely have about five students once the standard amount of attrition takes place.

Religion in America — This will likely be my favorite course of the semester. It is from my aforementioned favorite Professor of all time, Dr. Alan Meyers. The class will start with the American Puritans and move all the way through the religious developments in the U.S. It is only offered every two years, so it had a lot of people sign up for it.

Religion and Culture (Anthropology) — This is a required course that I am dreading to an extent. It looks like a waste of time that includes watching nine or ten “films” (read: documentaries) during class periods. Given that there are only 32 sessions, that is, in my estimation, excessive. However, it is required, and so I'll take it. I just finished with it for the day, thus why I'm feeling a bit grumpy at the moment.

It looks like I need to write somewhere around 60-70 pages this semester, which is rather low. On the other hand, a lot of it is in small chunks, which is a bit less desirable, in my estimation, than a few bigger projects.

For anyone still with me after that list that I am sure was more information than you wanted to know, I'll provide a bit more below — an analysis of my early reactions from last semester and if they were accurate.

I have a mixed accuracy record.

Brit Lit I - I was a bit skeptical about this course, but overall pleased with it. It turned out to be a very good course rather than just an OK one. I liked it a lot. The professor turned out to be excellent and, in fact, is the one teaching Shakespeare this semester. (Better than predicted.)

Philosophy of Religion - This class was absolutely excellent. If you saw the Questions of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud TV special, you saw the material we covered in an abridged form. It ended up often taking the form of debates, just like the panel on PBS, only the debates were much better informed in the class than on TV. (Same as predicted.)

Modern Poetry - This class was disappointing. It was taught by an excellent professor, but the material was not logically ordered and things just didn't seem to flow as much as I would have hoped. (Below prediction.)

World Lit II - This class ended up taking on a lot of the elements of a religion class and was the second best class of the semester. Fascinating, engaging, etc. The material reminded me of why I'm there trying to get a lit-focused degree. (Better than predicted.)

Rennessiance Lit - This class was good, although there was simply too much material to cover and the amount covered in one period was sometimes a bit overwhelming — it would be better in a fifty minute format than a 75 minute one. As a whole, though, it was interesting and I had the opportunity to devote a paper to literary influence in Puritanism. (Same as predicted.)

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3 comments posted so far.

Re: Back To Busy-ness

Speaking of Shakespeare, My all time favorite was MacBeth.

Posted by David M. - Jan 27, 2005 | 1:47 AM- Location: Columbus Ohio

Re: Back To Busy-ness

I believe Macbeth is scheduled too. We’ve got ‘em all covered (well, not all, most noticeably missing are Twelfth Night and Merchant of Venice, perhaps because they were covered in courses last fall). :-)

Posted by Timothy R. Butler - Jan 28, 2005 | 4:48 AM- Location: MO

Re: Back To Busy-ness

The courses all look very interesting. Actually I thought it was time to do something about my fragmentary knowledge about Christian theology, so I ordered an introductory book from Amazon the other day. (I think the writer was called McGrath, or similar.) If you have any good tips on books in the subject, I’d be happy to hear them :)

Posted by Flip - Jan 29, 2005 | 10:22 PM- Location: Sweden

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