A current student in the Th.M. program here at DTS posed the following question to me:
If you were contacted by someone who was looking at DTS for a PhD in NT, what would you tell them about the program and what reasons would you offer them for coming to DTS? What would you consider the strengths of the program?
Obviously a great question for a number of reasons. It's also one that is personally important to me. I am devoting my present professional life, and much of my personal one, to my seminary, thus by my actions I believe in its mission and how it implements it, but it's worthwhile every now and then to express it out loud. So here are several reasons why I would recommend people come to study at DTS for Ph.D. work in New Testament. (One caveat: Please don't take this to mean that I think DTS is perfect and all other schools rubbish. There are a lot of great places for advanced work in NT studies, and I appreciate the ministries of those schools as well. We are all in this together, so to speak!)
- In contrast to a Ph.D. in some schools, most notably those in England, we have a broader emphasis, which in my opinion is a good thing. Our Ph.D. students are exposed to the breadth of NT scholarship, which is beneficial practically upon graduation but also philosophically in that one is better trained to deal with a variety of issues that come up in academic work.
- We have widely respected faculty with important specializations. It's hard to point to some at the expense of others, but at the top of the list would be Daniel Wallace in Greek grammar and textual criticism, Darrell Bock in Jesus studies and Gospels, and Buist Fanning in Greek grammar. Our faculty continually grow and contribute to their areas of specialty. Publishing and advancing in our disciplines is a core belief and practice.
- We have a strong evangelical environment, with appropriate emphasis on core doctrines of the Christian faith.
- We have a strong academic commitment to historical-critical method as a fundamental way to investigate and dialogue about Scripture. At the same time, we discuss and teach newer methods that advance upon and beyond the historical-critical method.
- We have an exceptional library and library staff, which is absolutely imperative for doctoral work and even beyond as a professor.
- We have a great track record of graduates finding a place for service, as many Bible colleges and seminaries are staffed with DTS Ph.D. grads.
If you are considering Ph.D. work in the NT, I hope you will give us close consideration.