Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Not all scholars are created equal...

All the same impressions as usual of SBL:
  • Some scholars are incredibly educated incompetents. What I mean is that they know an awful lot of data but can't seem to put it all together. They know all the different plays and are brilliant at describing them, but they can't seem to cross the finish line. I heard a couple papers I would put in this category. 
  • Some scholars are incredibly bright, but their presuppositions sometimes prevent it from showing. Sometimes I feel like I can outrun some of these, even though they are way smarter than I am, just because I can smell a cop out and want to be honest with the evidence.
  • There are some scholars who are just world class masters. Most people have no idea what one of these looks like. I heard a paper by Greg Sterling today. What a master. Heard another by Jimmy Dunn--what clarity and lucidity.
If you've read me for long, you know my thinking here. God has never been limited to the original meanings in his speaking through Scripture. He certainly didn't make the NT authors stick to it. In the meantime, we can understand enough of the original meaning for life and salvation. 

But to get the nuances will often require expert knowledge of the biblical languages and the historical background. In some cases even those who know the most won't have enough information to be sure. This is the reason why it is more important for us to focus on the big picture of Scripture than on the details of individuals verses.

For example, our theology of women in ministry should not hang on the interpretation of individual verses like 1 Timothy 2:12 but should flow from the big principles of Scripture. 


Pastor Bob said...

Good thoughts, as for women in ministry, I see the house churches of the N.T. As having women pastors, Chloe. Lydia, and John Mark's mother

MarkK said...

Have you written articles/books on the 'big picture' view of scripture replacing the atomization which has been so common? I'd be very interested.

Ken Schenck said...

The notion, I think, is present in all I write. It probably underlies also an uneasy feeling I create in others, something they also can't put their finger on. As the distinction becomes clearer in my mind, it becomes more and more subversive to the normal way we are taught to read Scripture. It requires us to set aside certain verses as unclear in the light of bigger principles (e.g., the obliteration of the Canaanites), while we are taught today to linger on every word of every book.

MarkK said...

OK, thanks. It creates an *easy* feeling in me :=)

Guess I'll just have to read more of what you've written.

Ken Schenck said...

MarkK, here is a post on what I have in mind: Greatest Common Denominator Hermeneutic