Archives of Reception of the Bible

Past blogging in more ways than one.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Hoping to attain my level of incompetency

Perhaps I am just being complacent, but I have just two responses to Alan Bandy's latest interviewee, Thomas Thompson.

The first is that the academy simply won't change into being what he wants it to be. Secular theology is still theology (or ideology as some might insist), and while many, if not most, academic disciplines have adopted it as a working premise, that does not make it correct in some absolute sense. An institution that is supposed to be open to any discussion should not be happy to adopt wholesale this essentially liberal premise. To adopt it for the sake of certain projects is no doubt pragmatically fruitful (a Lakatosian Research Project model?) but to try to insist on its adoption as the 'universal truth' of the academy amounts to an illegitimate and imperialistic quest for domination--when God's non-existence been decisively proven by the academy, it can claim legitimacy, but not before. Despite Thompson and Philip Davies' rhetorical attempts to distinguish Science from Religion, it still seems to me that the differences that do exist are not those that they would need to achieve a pristine academy.

The second is that I am slightly upset that Thompson sets the bar of achievement so high. If I am to attain the level of being 'incompetent' (all I can achieve apparently), then all I need to do is equal the achievements of scholars like John Rogerson, Richard Bauckham, George Brooke, and so on.

Jacques Berlinerblau suggests that secular scholars can add to the academy. I certainly agree. But let us hope their contribution goes way beyond such hopeless attempts to annex the discipline.

Why so serious? Let's just have some fun, guys.


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