Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Book Award "Interview"

Richard Middleton presenting me
with the R. B. Y. Scott Award
(Photo: Shannon Stange)
Last week I was interviewed by Dan Callaway for Prairie Radio. You're welcome to listen in on the interview as we talk about my background, how I ended up at Prairie, and what I'm working on this summer. The interview was so much fun that I decided to continue it right here on my blog...

In this post, I interview Dr. Carmen Imes on the R. B. Y. Scott Award she received from the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies for an outstanding book in Hebrew Bible. (Wait, isn't that you? Yep. So you're interviewing yourself? Um, also yes.)

Carmen, how did you feel when you learned you were receiving this award?
Genuinely shocked. If you read the list of past recipients, you'll see that I'm joining an all-star list of Canadian biblical scholars. 
Why was that so surprising?
When you go through the entire process of producing a book like this, you've seen so many drafts dripping with red ink that it can be hard to imagine that what you have to say is said well enough for others to appreciate. Don't get me wrong. I like the book. I'm convinced by my argument. But each time someone in the wider world finds it helpful I am surprised and delighted all over again.
What was the occasion, and who presented you with the award?
The award was announced at the reception of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies annual meeting. This year's meeting was held at the University of British Colombia. The incoming president of the society, J. Richard Middleton, presented the award.
Why was your book chosen?
I'll let the anonymous judges answer that question.In the words of one reviewer, It is a persuasive, careful, and enlightening book, with implications far beyond its apparently limited subject.” 
Another reviewer said the book “shows remarkable engagement of the question, displaying a breadth of scholarship and very fine command of several methodological approaches (lexical, historical, literary, and metaphorical). The thesis is argued with logic, clarity of expression, and judicious treatment of opposing views. A long-overdue reassessment of a crux interpretum. It is deft, compelling, and convincing in the presentation of its conclusions. . . . .  its expression is clear: meticulous and well argued, with creativity of expression (even some drawings!) and the amassing of supportive ANE and biblical texts and parallel metaphors. The work of a new scholar, it shows maturity of thought and expression.” 
Did you get a plaque or something you can put on your wall?
No, but I did get a check for $500, which is far more useful.
If someone wanted to buy your book, where could they do so?
Bearing YHWH's Name at Sinai is available on Amazon or directly from the publisher. Right now Eisenbrauns is offering a celebratory 30% off because of the award. Use the discount code NR18 to take advantage of the sale! 
Are you busy writing another book?
Four, actually. I'm especially excited about my next book, which is coming out in December with InterVarsity Press. It's called Bearing God's Name: Why Sinai Still Matters, and it's already available for pre-order. I've reworked all the key ideas in my (award-winning!) published dissertation so that normal people can read it. Dissertations are technical for good reason, but my goal was to make my research more accessible for a wider audience. You can read about my other projects here. I currently have two book projects in the works on the Psalms and I'll soon start another one on Exodus.
What inspires you to keep writing?
I have always enjoyed writing, even as a child. As a professor, I see writing as a way for transformational ideas to spread beyond the classroom to a much wider audience. Books have changed my thinking in so many areas and fueled my passion for biblical studies. I hope that my books do the same for others. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Academic Prayer Series

As a regular contributor for InterVarsity's blog for Women in the Academy and Professions, The Well, I've submitted several prayers tailored for academics. Here's a list for easy reference with a selection from each one, plus a bonus from my own blog:

A College Student's Back-to-School Prayer
Library at Regent College, Vancouver (Photo: C Imes)

Sharpen my mind, so that I can learn to think clearly and critically.
Melt my resistanceto new ideas that are good and right and true.

A Prayer for a New Place

Grant me patience to learn, flexibility to adapt, joy to share with others, and space to grieve the loss of what I’ve left behind.

Grant me energy to make decisions and adjust to new procedures and understand the culture of my new environment. Help me to establish healthy rhythms — spiritually, emotionally, and physically. As I settle in, let me never lose this sense that I desperately need you.

A Professor's Prayer
Grant me wisdom to manage my time well so that I can stand before my classes prepared.Grant me the grace to let go of misplaced guilt for what I cannot be or do.
Grant me discerning eyes, that I may see my students as you see them and that I may love them as you love, that I may anticipate potential mental blocks, that I may discover the key to unlock their desire to learn. Let me not get in the way.

A Scholar's Prayer
Quicken my mind, that I may discern what is right and understand more fully the complexities of the subject that is before me today. 
Grant me diligence to stay on task and ignore distraction. At the end of this day may I be able to stand before you unashamed of the work I have done and left undone.

A Prayer for Academic and Professional Conferences
Help me to choose wisely between the myriads of options available to me — papers, seminars, conversations, exhibits, work, play, rest. May I discern what is best and let go of what is not.
Above all, may I bring you glory today as I bear your name in the academy and among all those whose talents and energies make this conference possible.

A Prayer for Writers 

Help me articulate truth beautifully, precisely, and lovingly. May I not be so enamored with the sound of my words that I neglect sound content. Enable me to present these ideas in a winsome way that does justice to their importance.

In a world full of distractions, help me focus on the tasks to which you have called me.

View from University of British Colombia Campus
(Photo: C Imes)
An End-of-Semester Prayer
Lord, here I stand at the end of another term. I have poured into my students — ideas, questions, caring, comments, time.
Now I entrust them to you.
Take what I have taught them and separate wheat from chaff. Blow away what I said that was empty or worthless. Help them to treasure the truth. May it nourish them in days ahead as they move into new contexts.

I hope these prayers inspire you to embrace your vocation as a Christian professor, if you are one. If not, perhaps they'll inspire you to craft your own prayers for your own vocation.