Difficulties in Communication
This problem partly arises because I try to avoid saying things such as "bible scholar" or "NT professor." I do this for two reasons: one, my interests are wider than the discipline of biblical studies and/or its subsets (e.g., NT, OT) and, two, when you tell someone, especially here in the "bible belt", that you are studying something bible-related the response is always something to the effect of "oh, so you want to be a preacher!" And when I say no and try to explain that my interests are more academically oriented most of these people respond with blank stares. I have found that it is simply futile to try to explain to many of these people that one can pursue the bible in a purely scholarly and/or academic fashion without necessarily doing so from a devotional perspective.
However, I have tried in vain to come up with alternative explanations that I feel are adequate. I have attempted things like "historian of Late Antiquity" or "historian of ancient Mediterranean Society" but the response is usually more blank stares because the majority of these people do not know what is conveyed by these terms. Thus I have to spend lengthy amounts of time trying to explain "Late Antiquity" and "ancient Mediterranean Society".
Therefore, my questions to scholars and budding scholars of biblical studies related disciplines are:
1.) Do you have the same kinds of difficulty explaining to people what is you are doing and/or are pursuing as a career? and,
2.) How do you usually explain to people what is you are doing and/or are pursuing as a career?