Today is my second “official” day of research since moving to Cambridge to begin reading for the PhD in Hebrew Bible. My research will be done as a reader at Tyndale House during the next three years or so. Tyndale is a Biblical Studies research library that has a strong reputation as a facilitator of Biblical scholarship set in the context of Christian community.
This being only my second day here, I easily see these two themes. Everyday at 11:00am and 4:00pm readers emerge from their desks and gather for tea and coffee, taking a break from the workload to chat and get to know one another. Some of the readers, like myself, are here at Tyndale to conduct long term research, such as for their PhD, but there are also others who may be here for shorter amounts of time – from a single day to a sabbatical. This provides great opportunities to chat with scholars about your research and hear some feedback on your ideas.
In addition to daily tea and coffee, once a week the staff and readers at Tyndale gather for chapel to pray, sing, and listen to Scripture. Today’s chapel, being the first of the new term, was particularly focused on setting our scholarship within the larger context of worship and service to the Church.
During lunch today, George Guthrie (Benjamin W. Perry Professor of Bible at Union University), who is on sabbatical, gave an hour long presentation on “Technology & the Research Workflow.” This was a valuable time to hear from George on the tools that he uses and continues to refine for his own work. These include scanning, Google books, databases, and bibliographic software. It was a beneficial time for me especially as I am at the beginning of my project.
Today represents one of the largest reasons for wanting to do my research at Tyndale. Not only does it house one of the best research libraries for Biblical Studies but it also has a wonderful Christian ethos among its staff and readers that encourages one another to do the best work he or she can do. I am excited to see what the next 3+ years hold for me here.