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Catching the Tide or Missing the Boat?

When I was a cheery little theology undergraduate, I twice undertook pieces of work where I had just finished what I thought was a decent piece of (level appropriate) research when someone published something that did exactly what I'd just done, in one case in about three pages!

A good piece of primary research into how single people experienced church life was completed just as Kristin Aune published her book Single Women, Challenge to the Church (which is good stuff, just stole my thunder!).  Then my attempt to use a literary approach to explore the relationship of the fourth gospel with antisemitism turned out to have been pre-empted by Adele Reinhartz in a few pages of her stunningly insightful and eminently readable book Befriending the Beloved Disiple: A Jewish Reading of the Gospel of John.

Now, just when I want to look at how Baptists write their own history, and I dare to suggest that they have not caught up with current trends in historical methods, two people publish books to undermine me!! Mind you at £50 and £35 each, I think I'll have to wait for libraries to get copies before I read them.

So, am I missing the boat or catching the tide?  My current area of research goes far beyond historical method, and if Baptist history writing is developing, far from undermining my thesis, it gives it more relevance.  Just makes the quest for originality that bit more elusive!


  • Being a cheery little MA student who is currently looking into the experience of lone parents within churches, and so reading round the stuff on singleness and the church as part of this, did your work on single women find anything different from Aune's book which you'd like to share?

  • Hi Sally, ashamed as I am to admit it, it was almost four years ago and I cannot remember exactly what either of us said! I think I got a slightly more bleak overview though. If you like I can upload a copy of my dissertation or send you a copy if you can give me an institution address (so we don't give emails or our home addresses to the whole www). I am glad you are doing this work, even though my experience as a 'single' can be bad, the lone parents in my experience get the worst deal of anyone.

  • Catriona, thanks for that. The institution I'm at is University of Kent. However, as I am part-time (& basically distance learning) I am rarely up there, so probably not the best way to get anything.

    Not sure if entering the e-mail on here gives you the link, hopefully so. If not as you have ship of fools as a link under the fun stuff I'm not sure if you are registered on their bulletin boards. If you are please pm me via their to get my email address (user name is same as the one for my Wiblog which I've linked to)

  • Hi Sally, I am not a 'shipmate' just an occasional visitor, so not much use in that respect. Having visited your wiblog I'm not sure how much use my stuff will be, but have added it to the uploads on my blog. All I'd ask is that if it's any use you acknowledge it and are careful with copyright on Nicola Slee's stuff.

    Share some of your views about feminist writers btw. Hope the MA goes well, that you are able to get a good mark for your dissertation, and above all that you achieve something for lone parents.

  • Thank you and of course I will acknowledge all sources appropriately.

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