Today marks the beginning of reading week at DTS. No classes at all are held this week; students are free to read and work as they see fit. The next week is Thanksgiving break, so we actually have a nice, two-week vacation late in the semester. (Yet another reason DTS rocks, O prospective student!)
Reading week serves two very practical purposes, one much more important than the other. First, it allows professors the opportunity to travel to the annual Evangelical Theological Society and Society of Biblical Literature conferences without canceling classes. We used to have classes this week, but a lot of professors would simply cancel them, messing up the course schedule. Finally the administration caught on and developed reading week to allow for this.
Second, and more important, it gives students time late in the semester to catch up on reading and coursework. I really like the emphasis on reading for this time because of the important connection between reading and exegesis. If you want to be a good exegete, you have to be a good reader. You have to read the text, understanding what it says as a prerequisite to understanding what it means. You have to read about the text, so you can fellowship with others who have thought about the same issues. You have to read around the text, so you can know the biblical and contemporary worlds in which exegesis works. And you have to read to continually grow as an individual, which makes you a better exegete.
I'd love to hear what you are reading this week, and why that's on your docket. Please let me know in the comments.