Having watched for decades talented thinkers being recruited by religion and biblical studies departments only to watch those talented scholars end up being baristas or bank clerks, I’ve come up with a plan.
1- Departments should only accept as many students as they can promise jobs through retirement or reassignment.
2- Departments should encourage their brightest students to pursue employment in the church.
3- Departments should cease promising the moon and delivering a moon pie.
It is, in my view, unethical and immoral to pretend that there will be employment for graduate students in the academy when such jobs are rare and applicants are legion. It’s like telling a barely talented highschool ball player that he will play in the NFL. The truth is, he’s more likely to be killed by an elephant. Those are, it seems, the same odds as earning a PhD in Bible and teaching at a college or University.
Doctoral students used to put their learning to use in the church and only rarely seek employment in the training of ministers. That is the model to which we must return. For the sake of the church, the academy, and our brightest.