The course is based on a Westminster Seminary course that that teaches Ph.D. students the proper methods of theological research as well as gives all of the great 'hiding places' in academia.
Dr. Beeke said that this course was of great benefit for him in that it taught him the correct way to perform scholarly research.
So far we have had book talk every class. Of course, I love it. We have discussed some of the greatest 'hiding places' to find information. Dr. Beeke is helping us to build and to organize our library as well. He says that one of the greatest tragedies of preachers is that they do not know what they have in their own libraries. One of our assignments is to have our entire library cataloged and organized under one of his approved methods.
We also have some really great assignments. We are making bibliographies and writing small scholarly papers. We have to write a 5 page biography on any Puritan and have an attached bibliography of everything on that Puritan (from books to periodicals to journal entries). We also have to make a complete bibliography on the topic for our thesis. This assignment is a 20-30 page bibliography. We also have some 'problem sets' that we have to do. Dr. Beeke gives us a series of obscure theologians and theological topics and we have to find them in any number of places. The tricky part of this assignment is that there is information that we can only find at Calvin's Heckman Library and some information that can only be found at the Puritan Resource Room at our seminary. It is a definite treasure hunt.
We will also have some guest lectures by great researchers like Richard Muller from Calvin Seminary.
I am very excited about this class. I would recommend anyone who is serious about Reformed research to purchase the mp3s from the seminary. I am sure that this will help to make better pastors as well as scholars.
Here is the book list for the course:
- Reference Works for Theological Research, Kepple and Muether
- Reader's Guide to Reformed Literature, Beeke
- Church History: Introduction to Research and Reference, Muller and Bradley
- Manual For Writers, Turabian
- Seven Laws of Teaching, Gregory
- Elements of Style, Struck and White
- Handbook for Scholars, van Luenen