Sunday, October 17, 2010

Back To School

I started classes at TAU today. I was fortunate to be able to sign up for a seminar class with Dr. Finkelstein called "Text and Archaeology". There's about 20 people in the class and most are very versed in the ins and outs of biblical texts and archaeology. What I found incredible was the amount of arguing and opposition in the class. Granted this is a masters level class and the students all have some experience, but the vehemence that the subject matter generated was certainly unexpected. Some of the arguments were clearly an attempt to illustrate the depth of knowledge of the "questioner", and not for any desire to hear the ideas of the prof. At one point I got quite annoyed as I had come to hear Dr. Finkelstein's views and not a bunch of opinionated graduate students.

Coming from the sciences (and a university in the US) I was amazed that students have so little respect for the professor that they have no trouble shouting over his statements, not allowing him time to state his position and just being plain argumentative (I have a child at home that would feel completely at home in this class). I am in two minds as to whether this is a good thing or not. On the one hand, students here feel completely empowered to voice their opinions with no filters. There certainly is a completely free exchange of ideas. On the other, I am not sure people were really listening to what was being said, rather they were waiting for an opportunity to voice their point of view.

The time passed quickly and I'm quite looking forward to the next class on Tuesday.

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