|Clement of Alexandria|
Part of writing a dissertation is learning to listen. Before I start speaking I need to hear what others have to say. And they've been saying things for a long time. Things I, and all of us, need to hear. None of them wrote in English, so I'm navigating other languages (Greek, Latin, French, German) and a variety of translations, thankful for those who have labored before me. None of them shared my cultural context, so I'm also trying to understand what was important to each of them—what made them say it that way, thankful for friends who have more experience than I do in this strange, old world. By listening I've learned new words like apophaticism (don't ask me to explain that one), found new places in the library (the 270s) and online (http://www.tlg.uci.edu/), and discovered that I could spend the rest of my life listening and never get anything written.
After another day of digging it will be time to take stock of what I've learned and make a big decision: who will I invite to be part of my first chapter? Who best articulates the various ways God's people (Jewish and Christian) have understood the name command across the ages? There won't be room at the table for everyone, so I'll need to draw up an elite guest list and decide how to moderate this discussion. I'm sure all the church fathers are on pins and needles waiting to find out if they made the cut. Meanwhile, the library workers will all give a deep sigh of relief that Carmen is done digging, for now.