SBL Forum: Michael Fox
There is an excellent piece on the SBL forum by Michael Fox called 'Bible Scholarship and Faith-Based Study: My View' which effectively argues that faith based scholarship is something different to academic scholarship.
Faith-based study of the Bible certainly has its place — in synagogues, churches, and religious schools, where the Bible (and whatever other religious material one gives allegiance to) serves as a normative basis of moral inspiration or spiritual guidance. This kind of study is certainly important, but it is not scholarship — by which I mean Wissenschaft, a term lacking in English that can apply to the humanities as well as the hard sciences, even if the modes and possibilities of verification in each are very different. (It would be strange, I think, to speak of a "faith-based Wissenschaft.")
I'm not sure If I follow him the whole way but the point is very well made and it's great to see such views published. This is a particularly important point which has bothered me for some time:
There is an atmosphere abroad in academia (loosely associated with postmodernisms) that tolerates and even encourages ideological scholarship and advocacy instruction. Some conservative religionists have picked this up. I have heard students, and read authors, who justify their biases by the rhetoric of postmodern self-indulgence. Since no one is viewpoint neutral and every one has presuppositions, why exclude Christian presuppositions? Why allow the premise of errancy but not of inerrancy? Such sophistry can be picked apart, but the climate does favor it.
I hear this argument all the time. And those Fox (rightly) criticises are in a weird position by embracing a view which logically (though not practically) I cannot understand how it could possibly hold together.