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My major in college was History, and I minored in biology, zoology, math, and chemistry. Most of my life I have been on one side of a desk or the other. My specialty is New Testament, in particular, The Gospels.
When I lived in Chicago, I was able to audit classes in Religious Studies, at the University of Chicago's Divinity School. The Academics were in Bible History, Early Christian History, Comparative Religion. I could not enroll..... I had no BS at the time. But all the men teaching there were friend of my then husband, who had just finished all of his Ph. D work, and they at the Divinity School liked him so much that they hired him. I was always interested in why people believe as they do, so these friends---- professors and colleagues of my husband--- invited me to join their classes. I did all the work, turned in all the papers, attended all lectures, and learned lots of things all trained theologians learned. The course work was NOT devotional.... it was Historical/Critical, where one wishes to find out, "where did this story come from?" and "why was this or that important?". In the devotional style of biblical study, one searches for comforting phrases. That is never stressed at any Divinity School beyond any BA or BS. This is how Princeton's Divinity School works, how Harvard's Divinity School work...all of them. If one wishes the devotional approach, one goes to the Moody Bible Institute.
I have a BA, and an MA