There is an interesting debate on the necessary tools of the trade by Larry Hurtado and BW16 (also here, here), between a traditional textual analysis with emphasis on language acquisition versus more interdisciplinary approaches and engagement with capital “T” Theory (cf. Pat McCullough’s post explaining the need for biblical scholars to engage theory). My background is a BA in a Christian Liberal Arts University College where I was introduced to most major theories of biblical studies from the Documentary Hypothesis to the New Perspective on Paul and to Hermeneutics (from the ‘hermeneutical circle to author, text or reader-based criticism). My MA at the University of Alberta was very interdisciplinary (I took classes in other religions, Anthropology, History of Historiography and Literary Study of the HB) and my advisor introduced me to the field of secular “Religious Studies” (especially social scientific approaches from Emile Durkheim to JZ Smith, Burton Mack). Now at Sheffield, since the concentration is focussed on “biblical studies,” doctoral students have the option to apply a variety of methods to the biblical text from traditional exegetical ones to newer developments in cultural studies and reception history. However, while I have posted on historical-critical effort to get behind the text (source, form, redaction), I wish I was more conversant in theory and hesitate to post on newer approaches lest I misrepresent them. A useful introduction to them as they relate to NT Mark, from narrative, reader, deconstructive, feminist or post-colonial criticism, is found in Janice Capel Anderson and Stephen D. Moore, eds., Mark and Method: New Approaches in Biblical Studies (2nd ed., Minneapolis: Fortress, 2008).