Today I continued my lecture on textual criticism. I set out to have the students put what I had covered in the previous lecture into practice in a situation where the stakes are a little higher. We discussed the ending to Mark’s gospel. I presented the textual evidence, then asked the class (of 60 freshmen) to make a case for which of the four endings to Mark is most originl. What ensued was an excellent, thoughtful, engaged discussion that occupied the entire rest of the class period (about 40 minutes). Dang, I have a great group. At the end of class, after discussing briefly the implications of 16:8 as the ending to Mark’s gospel, I asked if I had totally scandalized the group. One female student said, politely, “no, but you have given us a lot to think deeply about.” That was pretty cool.
But here’s the cool thing. After class I had two students come up and ask to do lunch with me on Wednesday. I agreed. One then proceeded to tell me that my class is the hardest out of all her classes and that I have the most reading out of any of her classes (even more, she said, than some of her friends who are in other sections of Bible intro). But then she said to me the following: “But we’re staying in your class, and the reason we’re staying in your class is because of you.” That was a very important moment for me. I thanked them for their kind words. They do mean a lot.
Seriously . . . . how cool is that?! Now THAT is why I teach!