August 12, 2012

My long shift towards academia

In a whole different context, the other day, Larry Hurtado just happened to sum up why I've felt increasingly certain (more and more, the past few years) that it's more important to present my historical arguments to an academic arena than it is to just 'write my version' of NT History and 'put it out there' with some apologetic appendices, and then hope for the best. Nope. I'm now aiming to write books and articles directly for the SBL audience.

As Hurtado just said:
serious scholarly work won’t get done in blog-comments.  The way things work is that those who seek to influence scholarly/informed opinion (1) do the hard work involved in mastering the evidence and scholarly procedures, (2) produce sufficiently informed and well-argued cases that are directed to those competent to judge matters, (3) these are reviewed and assessed by fellow scholars (and, as anyone who has been so assessed can vouch, it isn’t an easy ride), and (4) if found persuasive, or at least a cogent alternative view, the work gets recognized and its views treated as worth the time of scholars.
In personal terms, for my book projects, this means I'm no longer as driven to portray the final vision I reached, so much as the process which led me there. I'm no longer as eager to push my version of the NT timeline, so much as to point out the boundaries and discuss all the options, while freely inviting enthusiasts to try the task for themselves. Yes, I began feeling strongly this way about two or three years ago. What's recently changed is that I've become fully convinced of the tactical necessity.

The only alternative is to out-do everyone else in dogmatic assertions. Even if I were going to do well at that, my persuasion would most likely die when I do. What I have to share is a lot more important than me.

At any rate, since all of this remains easier said than done, the blogging will remain sporadic. The academic work I pursue in my spare time may increase if my new career arc keeps improving. Time shall tell... as it always does. Keep on listening...

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