Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Conservo-liberal-biblical-scholarship.

Bit of dissension on the Biblioblogs top 50 possibly to go back to Conservative and Liberal leanings.

Jason Staples voices his concerns, and over on The Busybody Loren Rosson puts out a call for a "political compass" for exegetes.

One thing I think Jason and Loren really nail on the head is that it's really not that simple, and there's no easy solution for the categorization. Like Loren, I've been called both "Liberal" and "Conservative" in my conclusions, and either could be right, depending on how you look at it.

Though I think it was Loren himself (rather than his comments regarding Goodacre) that really nailed the situation on the head. Some time ago on Crosstalk (I think?) Loren noted that the simple reality is that the earliest Christians were conservative, and consequently, someone with conservative leanings, or who reaches conservative conclusions, is probably better suited to recognize that than a "quaint Bultmannian." (In a hurry, I'll edit links in later).

So, while I don't have Loren's political compass drawn up, I second his wish to see one. After all, I'm an atheist who's conclusions range from the hyper-skeptical to the prima facie, where does it leave me? While I don't rank on the "Biblioblogs top 50," that doesn't change the inadequacy of the categories.

Keep watching for the Doherty series, hopefully I'll have some time to follow up tonight.

ETA
Over on Hypotyposeis Stephen Carlson raises his concerns as well.

ETA Redux
The Political Jesus Blog weighs in on the issue as well.

Rod raises a decent comparison to the question of academic elitism here. Longtime readers might remember that The Dilettante Exegete was born out of precisely that dispute (Jim West, Michael Turton, and dilettantism), and my own distaste for it.

ETA Again
And now Jim West chimes in, and doesn't seem to see an issue with it. The trouble here is that Jim misses the caveat. He rightly notes that we all categorize things, and perceive them from those categorizations all the time.

But we also already have predilections based on those categorizations. A "hub" such as the Biblioblogs Top 50 should not play into those. If anything, it should discourage us from reaching our material with preconceptions in mind.

And the Verdict is In.

The Biblioblogs Top 50 has decided against the categorization. I think they got the right answer for the wrong reason, but here it is the results that matter, I suppose.

ETA Finale

So, for posterity's sake, here's the rundown on the discussion, discounting the acknowledgements of the final decision (at least to
my knowledge, if I'm missing anyone let me know!).

The Biblioblog Top 50: Categorizing all Biblioblogs: Conservative to Liberal

Outside the Building: Conservative or Liberal? Why Biblioblogs Should Not be Labeled

Hypotyposeis: Uh-oh: Redoing the Ill-Considered Attempt to Classify Biblioblogs as Liberal/Conservative

The Busybody: "Liberal" and "Conservative" Labels

Dr Jim West: They`re All Stirred Up Now

kata ta biblia: The Conservative-Liberal Continuum of Blogging (Again)

Political Jesus: Is This a Liberal or Conservative Biblioblog?

NT/History Blog: Opinions I Got 'Em

PEJE IESOUS: If You Label Me You Negate Me

2 comments:

Loren Rosson III said...

Some time ago on Crosstalk (I think?) Loren noted that the simple reality is that the earliest Christians were conservative, and consequently, someone with conservative leanings, or who reaches conservative conclusions, is probably better suited to recognize that than a "quaint Bultmannian."

Hey, that sounds like something I'd say! I think you have it about right. Maybe I should think about taking on the project of the compass myself. Put my money where my mouth is?

Rick Sumner said...

I thought I had it right. I think you used Witherington in place of Conservative though, which works just as well.

I would be interested to see how such a compass could work, but not sure it could ever really be agreed upon. We might need something closer to a Geodesic sphere of exegesis!