What I’m doing these days

I’ve not posted in quite some time, so I figured it might be a good thing to post what I’ve been doing these past few months. Quite a few things have changed.

First, I got married to a wonderful woman (Brianna) on May 13 of this year. (Maybe that’s my excuse for not blogging!). We have both loved marriage thus far. I’ve learned much already, and it’s hardly been four months!

In the Spring, I began working with my Religious Studies professor, Dr William Adler, on a text called the Palaea Historica. This is a 9-10th century Greek text that retells the Old Testament from Adam up to Daniel. It’s full of extra-biblical material, and a fascinating story! Just a small example: it has a large, expanded account of Melchizedek and Abraham. Instead of a priest-king, Melchizedek is a monastic figure! A Greek edition of this work was published in 1893 by a Russian named Vasiliev under the name Anecdota Byzantina Graeca. However, Vasiliev only used 2 manuscripts, and we’ve been able to locate 12-13. Dr. Adler is currently working on a proper critical edition of the text, and I’ve been able to help some. I’ve been getting to learn how to read ancient Greek manuscripts, and also trying to put my computer skills to good use. I’ve also been working on a web-app that will show differences between manuscripts, using the collateX engine. This, of course, requires transcriptions to be done of each manuscript, which we’ve been working on slowly. I haven’t done much with this over the Summer, but I’m currently looking at ways to statistically group the manuscripts into families. So far I’ve seen some potentially helpful methods here.

Over the Summer, I didn’t do much academic. I worked full-time at IBM and spent time with my wife. We watched a lot of Star Trek: Voyager. I’ve never been a trekkie, but my wife’s a fan and we’ve enjoyed watching it together. The one academic item I did do was take the GRE. I studied for a few weeks, and I was very pleased with my scores. My wife was very helpful during the process. She helped me learn the monstrous 3000+ word list in the Barron’s GRE book! There was only one word I didn’t recognize on the GRE: hangdog. (yes, I’ve already forgotten what it means, something like guilty if I recall correctly).

This fall, I’m entering the final year of my undergraduate degree. I’m currently taking two computer science classes, a technical writing class, and two French literature classes. I’m really enjoying the French lit classes. I’m also happy that I’ll have my French minor done after this semester. Going forward, I plan to start applying to graduate schools soon. I’m hoping to do a masters at Duke (probably an MTS, maybe an MA), and then apply for PhD programs. I’d really like to do my doctorate in Europe, probably at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium. I’d be able to do a critical edition, which is not generally allowed in US programs. Plus I’d get to live in Europe and speak French! What’s not to love… ;-). I also really like the work going on at University of Birmingham. They’re doing some fantastic work developing software for editing and publishing scholarly texts. This would be a great fit for me, since I’m a software developer in addition to being a budding Patristics scholar. Unfortunately, studying in the UK is quite expensive for Americans, so I’d have to track down some pretty good scholarships!

So, in the mean time I’m trying to keep up with school, work, Chi Alpha (church), family, and then squeeze in time for languages. I’ve started studying Latin again, and am also working (a bit too slowly) through April Wilson’s German Quickly. That’s in addition to the Greek I do on almost a daily basis, and the French for my literature classes! Fortunately I like languages, but it’s still a stretch. Κυριε, ελεησον με!


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