In other news, I'm pretty sure I'm settled on both paper topics for class.
+ For Bible class (an undergrad course in which I'm taking three tests with the rest of 'em, but am required to write a paper on a topic of my choosing about anything at all from Hebrew Bible or Christian Bible): The Golden Calf, was it meant to represent/replace Moses or G-d? An idol or cultic object? And perhaps maybe my topic might evolve if I find out more about this tradition of concealment in 2nd century BCE synagogues in Israel.
Nicolas Poussan's "The Adoration of the Golden Calf"+ For Biblical interpretation (the philosophy course that blew my mind in the beginning that I've settled comfortably into): Qohelet as philosophy or theology, how is it read and by whom (I need to zero in on whether I want to do Medieval or maybe modern scholars), and tie this into whether there is even such a thing as Jewish philosophy (thank you Paul Mendes-Flohr and the long ago piece I read "Jewish Philosophy and Theology.").
The holidays have really created an awkward setup with my research and studying though, and it's frustrating. Luckily I have all day tomorrow, and all next weekend to thrust myself into research. I want to be able to create solid theses for both papers so that I feel and look more put together than I am. Then, my plan is to trek to Chicago during the first half (at least) of Thanksgiving Break maybe and devote myself to writing my papers. The idea of filling a suitcase full of books is thrilling. But who knows if that will happen. At some point I have to start writing SOMETHING. I'm a last-minute writer -- someone who sits down at the last minute, composes 15-20 pages in one sitting (no breaks) and then turns it in before reading it. That, folks, is how I roll.
On that note, I still need to compose an email to my undergraduate professor whose class prepared me for all of this (even though I can't bring myself to write an outline) ... Ethnopolitical Conflict. Man alive, that class developed the paper that got me into graduate school (here, Brandeis, U of Michigan), and it also taught me what it meant to write a literature review in the form of a paper. Several ideas on a single topic, how they approach it, and finally my take on their analyses -- a combination of thoughts or a breakdown or a completely independent assumption of the facts. That's probably how my Golden Calf paper will roll, but not my Biblical Interpretation paper. Why? Not sure. Maybe it will. Who knows.
Academia rules. Now if I could just teach myself to focus ... this lack of regiment is difficult for me.