Sarah Pessin

Eisenbaum on writing

Pam Eisenbaum

Pamela Eisenbaum is professor of Biblical studies and Christian origins at Iliff, and is associate faculty of the Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Denver. One of four Jewish New Testament scholars teaching in Christian theological schools, she is the author of The Jewish Heroes of Christian History: Hebrews 11 in Literary Context, Invitations to Romans, and most recently, Paul Was Not a Christian: The Original Message of a Misunderstood Apostle. She has published many essays on the Bible, ancient Judaism and the origins of Christianity, and is an active member of the Society of Biblical Literature.

A passion for working with ancient manuscripts has increasingly informed her research. Professor Eisenbaum has experience working with the Dead Sea Scrolls and spent time at the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin studying the oldest surviving manuscript of Paul’s Letters (dated c. 200 C.E.). She appeared in the ABC documentary, “Jesus and Paul: The Word and the Witness.”

I have two top pieces of advice: 1) If you don’t feel confident in your thesis at the start, that’s okay.  Afterall, it’s intellectually honest to proceed as if you don’t already know your results without having done significant research and thinking.  But you must have a well-articulated, manageably-sized, tangible question or problem that you believe needs an answer, and that you have the necessary skills to pursue the research required–whether that’s reading, statistical modeling, qualitative analysis, whatever it is.  2) Expect to rewrite (possibly a lot) what you write in light of your readers’ comments.  Take their comments seriously. Have a complete first draft six months before you plan to graduate, so you have time for rewriting.  Completing a dissertation always takes longer than you think it will. 

Favorite books on writing:

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