Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Doing Research in Egypt

Greetings from the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo. We are well into our fall term. One of the classes I am teaching is to help students identify and research the topic they will develop into a master's thesis in the last half of their second year. This involves using a book entitled: "The Craft of Research", by Wayne Booth. The course also helps to provide tips for the students as they study and write in English, a second language for each. Pictured here are some of the students and faculty who attended a recent "Scholar's Seminar", an opportunity to have faculty and students present "papers" which can be discussed and reviewed. Next week, the five students on their second year will present the "tentative" subject for their dissertations. We want them to demonstrate a knowledge of what they have learned in classes in Biblical Studies or Christianity in the Middle East, and then to make an original contribution to their field of research. This will analyse original sources and will also connect with an interest in their own lives and ministries. I will discuss these with you in a later blog.
Pictured to the right is a professor in Church History at the seminary, The Rev. Wageeb, who led the seminar on how to access resources on line from the United States. The seminary subscribes to a service called "ATLA" (the American Theological Library Association), which offers its users a way to review and download resources from hundreds on valuable periodicals produced over the last several years. It will be too costly for this or any seminary to order all of these and to store them. The Rev. Wageeb, who graduated from the master's program several years ago, is presently teaching at ETSC, and is pursuing his doctoral degree at the University of Birmingham in England. It is an important goal of the seminary to provide for the study of its Egyptian teachers aboard, so they can increase in their scholarship and teaching ability. The Presbyterian Church in America shares an objective with The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to train indigenous leaders and scholars so that they can assume more responsibility for the ministry of their churches. Missionaries from the United States seek to aid in this development and in effect want "to work themselves out of a job". We also will welcome the contributions to be made in the future by "non-western" scholars. The Rev, soon to be Doctor Wageeb, is one of these.

Hope all are well. Will write again soon.

Roger Rogahn

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