The Mentor and Research Development I is designed to assist candidates over the first two semesters of their Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) program to achieve the following goals:

1. to be able to integrate more fully the practices of scholarship, ministry and personal spirituality;

2. to sharpen research, analysis and evaluation skills;

3. to engage in an assessment and planning process that culminates in a first draft of a demonstration project proposal;

4. to experience personal and professional growth in the context of the D.Min. setting, working with instructors, site team members, and fellow students as peers.

The Critical Interpretation Seminar is one of the three first-year seminars that students in all tracks of the NTSW/NYTS Doctor of Ministry are required to complete.  Among the admission requirements to the Doctor of Ministry is completion of a first professional degree (normally the Master of Divinity) or its equivalent.  At NTSW/NYTS we assume a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry will have completed at least 72 graduate hours of study prior to admission to the NYTS program.  Candidates are expected to have already completed significant work in research and methods at the graduate (master degree) level, in several disciplines of religious and theological study.

For this reason, we do not offer introductory-level courses in the Doctor of Ministry, but move immediately to multidisciplinary, integrative seminars at the advanced level.  Critical Interpretation is one such seminar.

The seminar will make use of the philosophical and religious tools of discipline of hermeneutics to organize its approach.  Hermeneutics can be broadly defined as the practice of interpretation of texts.  What is a text will be one of our initial key questions.  The seminar will start by looking at the performative dimensions of a text, with special attention to the manner in which reading, studying, and learning are performed human activities, or practices.