Wednesday, October 1, 2008

First week of school

Greetings again from the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo. We have just completed our first week of the Fall term. The first picture shows most of the first and second year students in the master's program, and the teacher from the Netherlands, Professor Jan deWit. The woman with blond hair (as you can imagine) is the visiting student from Norway. The stairs are at the front entrance of the administrative and classroom building of the seminary. The
classes will run until late December. Professor deWit is teaching a course on Isaiah, and I am teaching two classes, Christianity in the Middle East - III (1800 to the present) and a course which helps students with their research and in writing a dissertation during their second year. I will let you know soon what their topics will be.

In November and December we will welcome back a professor from Norway, Dr. Jan Opsal. He will bring some students with him and teach a course entitled: "Sharing the Same Prophets, Men in the Muslim and Christian Scriptures". It will examine the ways that five men, Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus, are portrayed in the Qur'an and Hadith, and in the Christian Bible. It should be as interesting and stimulating as the one he taught last January on the women of our traditions. I am also looking forward to teaching a class in January entitled: "Principles of Biblical Interpretation (Hermeneutics) in the 20th century". This will include a study of feminist interpretations, interpretations from Latin America "liberation" scholars, and what has come to be called: "Post-Colonial Hermeneutics", the writings of Middle Eastern, African and Asian Biblical scholars, who, while acknowledging their debt to European and American teachers, are developing their own "contextual" interpretations. Should be quite a challenge to teach.

The second picture shows the participants in the seminary retreat, which was held the week before school started. Its purposes were: to welcome new students, to renew friendship with the 2nd, 3rd and 4th year students, and to hear
about the summer practical experiences they had. In addition to the 4 years of study, divinity students at ETSC work each summer in a field assignment, and are also required to do one year of internship after graduation before being eligible for ordination in the Presbyterian Synod of the Nile. There is a great need here for pastor/developers, particularly in the rural ares where the Synod has land and buildings and small communities of faith, but no ordained leaders. I hope to be able to visit some of these ministry sites during this school year.

That is all for now. Hope you are well. Blessings, Roger Rogahn

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