Work in Progress

Baseball, Seminary, Wrestling, and the Dreams and Days of one Mike Work's Angeles experience

Monday, February 06, 2006

Other Historical Frustrations

Well, i'm in class, and i didn't do the rewrite. So i'll live with a B for the first paper. While attempting to rewrite, i found myself writing an entirely different paper, looking at my initial conclusions and saying 'wow,' surprised that the grade was so high given my utter disregard for the process of historical research and the existence of primary sources.

Comparing the work i'm doing right now with the last graduate paper i wrote on church history, a study of Irenaeus and Hippolytus' arguments against docetism, I wonder if my mind has atrophied over the past two years, or if i've actually become less disciplined in my studies during grad school, which is quite possible. The patristic paper was focused, well-documented, and pointed, and the professor's comments were quite flattering. I did spend the bulk of the quarter working on it, and put in quite a bit of effort, as well as rewrites, which would be a good practice to incorporate. My tendency is to submit a first draft as a final paper, and it's worked out alright up to this point. Now the bar's being raised...time to aim higher and work with something other than a deadline in mind.


  • At 6:47 AM, Blogger Scott J. Pearson said…

    As one who loves history and original sources, maybe the point of it all isn't a grade but wisdom. Anyone can write an entertaining piece; it takes real skill to say something unique. And one must know what's been done already fairly well to say something worthwhile about something. Just a thought...

  • At 12:54 PM, Blogger work said…

    Hey Scott,
    In agreement with you that there's something beyond the class. I've been thinking about history (as well as writing, life, and church) in the mold of music, where knowing what's been done before allows for truly original work. Coltrane's the best example i've heard. He put in countless hours of practice, imbibing all he could from those who came before him, yet when it came to originality, was anyone more innovative than him?

    To speak metaphorically of my current frustrations, it's like i'm standing next to a building, anxious to get onto the roof. When I leap forth, expecting to clear it, i find myself crashing facefirst into the bricks, hugging the wall on the way down, and landing at the base. When i look up to see what went wrong and how i fell so far, it becomes apparent that i was actually standing on somebody else's shoulders.

    All i had to do was ask for a little bit more of a lift, and i'd be on the roof, without this ringing headache. It feels like i'm doing the opposite with my studies, ignoring figures and issues from our past that really could prove helpful.


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