What’s your take on the matter — are things getting better or worse in seminaries?
I don’t have first-hand knowledge of enough seminaries to make a blanket statement, but the anecdotal evidence I have or that I have heard about leads me to think that the silly season is over. In April, for example, I spoke at a major seminary on the West Coast. I was impressed by the caliber of the students and by their attentiveness. My lecture included pointed opinions regarding things such as the dating of the books of the New Testament (I think they all were written prior to A.D. 70), Markan priority (unlikely to be true), and the existence of Q (purely legendary). The seminarians—and even some of the faculty—seemed to welcome the alternative viewpoint. Such a response, when coupled with the reverently celebrated (and well sung!) seminary Mass, confirms my sense that things are looking up.