Thursday, January 01, 2015

Popular Scholarship, they know about popular...

I was reading Brian Small's summary of Paul Himes' resources on Hebrews. Notice the hat tips to David Alan Black's book arguing for Paul as author of Hebrews.

A whole host of thoughts run through my head. One is that popular sells and easy sells. Tradition sells. Popular even controls colleges, universities, and seminaries. One of the things I loved about England is that it really felt like the professors had few ideological strings attached. Not so in America, where liberal strings are attached to liberal institutions, conservative strings are attached to conservative institutions, and traditional strings are attached to institutions in particular traditions.

So D. A. Carson style scholarship seems to rule the roost in most American Christian colleges, it seems. This is the neo-evangelical power block that rules ETS and produced the ESV. IMO, a scholar in this world is the person with the most creativity in supporting what everyone already wants to think. The Bible expert in this realm, the teaching pastor, is the person who is able to memorize well.

The late twentieth century saw the increasing empowerment of Christian institutions to offer their own PhDs. This allowed traditions to teach their own in a more insulated way. For all the benefits, you also could now get a PhD for being clever at justifying your own tradition without engaging the "other" on its own terms. Now, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, large churches can circumvent educational institutions altogether in deference to the great cloud of memorizers.

The Lord keep me from ever exploding with satiric wit on YouTube,.. you know, the Schenck Weekly Show. :-)


Jim said...

welcome to the blogroll

Martin LaBar said...

This sounds a lot like your January 2nd post.

Ken Schenck said...