Tuesday, February 20, 2007
This week the conference of the Nigerian Association of Biblical Studies (NABIS) is being held here in Jos. This will be the first conference organized by the local chapter, which is based in Jos and includes the northern part of Nigeria. Two IICS colleagues, Danny McCain and Yoilah Yilpet, are contributing lead papers on the theme of the conference “Biblical Understanding of Politics and Leadership,” a highly appropriate theme for this election year in Nigeria. Wendy is presenting a paper on the concept of exousia or power. Adrian is teaching elsewhere this week, but he hopes to present a paper on the accountability of leaders at the national meeting of NABIS, which will be held here in Jos as well in July. Is there a fog? Or mist? No, its harmattan! A find dust is blowing down from the Sahara; but this is not unusual throughout the dry season (October to April). These are the buildings of the University of Jos (Unijos), of ‘Permanent Site,’ the new campus of university, on the northern outskirts of Jos where we teach and have our offices. The buildings are seen from the northeast, across the fields, only a ten minute walk from our house. When harmattan is this thick the weather turns cooler, since the sand blocks the sun. But the dust gets into everything, and students typically carry small towels to wipe tables and chairs as they go to classes. Wendy began teaching the day after our return to Jos (Jan.18), finishing a course in ancient philosophy at St. Augustine’s Seminary. Although there is a real desire within our Religious Studies department to add philosophy courses, at present Unijos provides little opportunity for the study of philosophy beyond some basic courses in logic, ethics and philosophy of religion. At St. Augustine’s young men are given a thorough three-year program in philosophy before they study theology. For the last few years both of us have taught courses in the history of philosophy. Adrian has taught medieval and contemporary philosophy. This semester Wendy is working with eight students in Advanced New Testament Greek. The course is challenging for these are mature students. Most of them began studying Greek years ago, and need to begin with a thorough review of the basics of grammar and syntax. We use the Greek New Testament, but it has been very difficult to import them into Nigeria for the last years. There are also no adequate textbooks covering this material, so we are presently preparing a new text to address the specific needs of this a group.