November 16, 2009
What I’ll Be Doing At SBL
Later this week I’ll be traveling to New Orleans to attend the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature and the Institute for Biblical Research. I calculate this is my twenty-third consecutive trip as an editor. I have a number of appointments with authors I’m working with and hoping to work with. I’ve got a few sessions I want to go to. There will be friends old and new to meet, and no lack of schmoozing and catching up. And naturally, there are some books I want to buy from other publishers at their (mostly) generous conference discounts. But as I’ve reflected on the upcoming trip this week, there is a consistent subtext beneath this whole conference gig, and it can be summed up in one word: context.Continue reading "What I’ll Be Doing At SBL"
November 4, 2009
Someone’s Trying to Find You!
In my work I’ve spent a good number of hours looking at academic institutional websites. Why? I’m trying to track down faculty members. From the standpoint of publishers at least—and who knows who else (the media, maybe students too!)—your academic institution’s prime asset is not your campus or your facilities or your sports program or even your library. It’s your faculty. This seems so patently true that it needs no defense. So why do some educational institutions bury their faculty on their websites?Continue reading "Someone’s Trying to Find You!"
August 20, 2009
"I Read It"
Lately on a local radio station I’ve been hearing an ad for a course that will increase your reading speed and comprehension by tenfold or better. I was reminded of the Evelyn Wood program that was popular when I was a college student. I never took it but I had friends who did. This led me to think about what we mean when we say, “I read that book”?Continue reading ""I Read It""
May 8, 2009
Any Lessons from History?
A prominent evangelical theologian and apologist at a prominent evangelical seminary published a book with a prominent evangelical press proposing that abortion is ethically acceptable in certain cases, such as “mongolism,” or Down Syndrome. Among other things, he says “Artificial abortion … results in the taking of a potential [emphasis his] human life. Such abortion is not murder, because the embryo is not fully human—it is an undeveloped person… . If a life must be stopped, it is obviously better to stop it before it ever really gets started.” I am not making this up.Continue reading "Any Lessons from History?"
Posted by Dan Reid at 9:18 AM
March 24, 2009
Beware the Academic Joke
Somewhere I’ve heard Tom Wright tell the joke about the scholar who was in the habit of writing nasty critical reviews of the work of his academic colleagues at home and abroad. Then he started attending academic conferences and actually meeting some of these folks. Lo and behold, he found that he liked them. . . . So he made a very difficult choice. He decided to quit going to conferences.
Now to me that joke is hilarious. I smile every time I think of it. “So he quit going to conferences!” I can barely say the punch line without cracking up! But I’ve told that joke to a few nonacademic friends, and they don’t seem to think it’s funny at all. They look at me with that strained sort of okay-I’ll-feign-a-laugh look, but I can tell they’re wondering just what kind of bristling, asocial people I hang out with.Continue reading "Beware the Academic Joke"
February 26, 2009
The Burden of Knowledge
Life is short and the burden of knowledge is great. We academics have our ways of contending with this reality. Here are some.
Living large. With grand rhetorical gestures you point to all the mountain peaks of issues with which (so you say) you’re deeply familiar. Perhaps spike it all with a detail or two to inspire the reader’s confidence that you really do know what you’re talking about. This evokes a sense of mastery and yet does not commit you to proving it. It’s a sort of Ponzi scheme of scholarship. But as they say, when the tide goes out (or the critical reviews come in), we’ll see who has been swimming naked!Continue reading "The Burden of Knowledge"
October 14, 2008
The Theory of 10,000 Hours
A few weeks ago, David Brooks and Gali Collins, both of the New York Times, had this conversation:
David Brooks: Gail [Collins], you know one thing I didn’t get a chance to get into in that column was the theory of 10,000 hours: The idea is that it takes 10,000 hours to get really good at anything, whether it is playing tennis or playing the violin or writing journalism. I’m actually a big believer in that idea, because it underlines the way I think we learn, by subconsciously absorbing situations in our heads and melding them, again, below the level of awareness, into templates of reality. At about 4 p.m. yesterday, I was working on an entirely different column when it struck me somehow that it was a total embarrassment. So I switched gears and wrote the one I published. I have no idea why I thought the first one was so bad — I was too close to it to have an objective view. But I reread it today and I was right. It was garbage. I’m not sure I would have had that instinctive sense yesterday if I hadn’t been struggling at this line of work for a while.Continue reading "The Theory of 10,000 Hours"
April 22, 2008
Going to School at the Movies
Really, it was so nice to hear someone other than a conservative Christian concerned about academic freedom, public debate and worldview issues. I’m speaking of Ben Stein’s film, just out last week, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. It was hard to know what to expect given all the reactions to it in the blogosphere. But when my college senior nursing student daughter heartily encouraged me to go, that settled it. I went. Now, I’m recommending it, too.Continue reading "Going to School at the Movies"
Posted by Gary Deddo at 4:59 PM
February 21, 2008
On Using the Terms (Theological) Liberal and Conservative
I don’t always make a point of this with authors (and academic authors are at the forefront of my mind right now), but truthfully, I don’t like to use the terms liberal and conservative when speaking of positions or perspectives or conclusions, particularly in biblical studies. Why not? Am I just a “compromiser” who is unwilling to name things what they are?Continue reading "On Using the Terms (Theological) Liberal and Conservative"
January 16, 2008
They Won't Forgive Us
Davila draws our attention to the following piece of the article:
Department head Prof. David Schaps, who specializes in Greek and Roman history, recalls another period when classical culture was neglected. "We call it the Dark Ages. It was only 1,000 years later that the value of that knowledge was recognized again, and not all of it could be reconstructed," he said. "The same thing could happen to us. There are areas that don't interest our generation, and we are allowing them to disappear. They might interest people in the future, and they won't forgive us."Continue reading "They Won't Forgive Us"
Posted by Dan Reid at 10:28 AM
November 7, 2007
This is the week before IVP Academic editors take off for a week of annual academic conventioneering at the Evangelical Theological Society, Institute for Biblical Research and Society of Biblical Literature/American Academy of Religion (in that order). By any consistent measure, next Wednesday through Tuesday will rank as the busiest week of our editorial year.Continue reading "ETS/IBR/AAR/SBL ETC."