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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Luedemann and Academic Freedom

No doubt many people have the information about Luedmann's appeal...

The German Federal Constitutional Court has rejected Gerd Luedemann's appeal against the exclusion of him teaching in the Theology Faculty at the University of Goettingen.

Luedemann points out that this ruling makes genuinely critical work in German theological faculties impossible.

Further details are found on James Tabor's blog and Tom Verenna's blog.

What can I say? The structure of academic biblical studies is seriously problematic as I've argued plenty of times. Can anyone give me a good reason why questions surrounding belief or non-belief, or if you like any answer to the question of the historicity of the resurrection, should be off limits in a university setting?

38 Comments:

Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

"Can anyone give me a good reason why questions surrounding belief or non-belief, or if you like any answer to the question of the historicity of the resurrection, should be off limits in a university setting?"

And if you like, why not any question of historicity?

February 22, 2009

 
Anonymous Tom Verenna said...

Thanks for this James. Yes, this is a serious problem. Although, NT Wright might argue that teaching against the historicity of the resurrection may upset the raised saints living in England (and now, possibly Germany?).

February 22, 2009

 
Blogger Michael F. Bird said...

James,

1. Academic freedom is really a myth. Would a university retain someone who was a holocaust denier? What about that American chick on Israeli history? In Australia an American academic was sacked for arguing that the "White Australia Policy" (1940s -1960s immigration policy) was a good policy and the nation should limit non-white immigration. In other words, there are various forms of limitation for a variety of reasons. We don't have to like it, but certain political, religious, social, and ideological views are not tolerated in our universities depending where you are in the world.

2. Does the Gerdmeister belong in a university? I see no reason why not: he's an academic. The question is does he belong in a European Theological faculty that has the role of training ministers for the continental churches (that is their historic role whether you like it or not and continues to be so). Ecclesiastical authorites can (and do) prohibit ministry candidates from attending the classes led by certain professors so he'd pretty much be teaching empty class rooms (this happened to a friend of mine who was a former professor in Germany). What is more, since Gerdie is now such a militant atheist (I stress militant), I would have a problem working with a colleague who riduculed and belittled my beliefs (personal and professional) in academic and popular forums. I mean, if you belong to the centre for Christian and Islamic Relations and you suddently believe that either the Palestinians, Israel, or Iran should be wiped off the map, you can hardly object to people calling for your removal or transfer to another department?

I think Gerdie belongs in a religious studies dept. but not a theological studies dept. No one made him irrglaube! Does that sound fair?

February 22, 2009

 
Anonymous Tom Verenna said...

Michael,

1. I do not think that likening Gerd's extremely reliable and useful work on Early Christianity and his perspectives thereof to holocaust deniers is fair. I hope that wasn't what you implied, because if so your analogy, frankly, stinks.

2. I think there is sufficient reason to be upset that Theology has become synonymous with "indoctrination"; that is, Theology has become a parroting of dogmatic perspectives rather than a thoughtful and thorough critical examination of religious thought. I think there is a dichotomy between the two. I see no reason why universities, religious institution or otherwise, should censor data because it is their "historical role". If it does limit its curriculum, it should no longer be classified as "enlightened".

February 22, 2009

 
Blogger James Crossley said...

Mike,

1. I agree that academic freedom is a myth (well, to some extent) and there are far more subtle ways of control (see, ahem, Jesus in an Age of Terror). For what it is worth, there are the odd Holocaust deniers and other racists around universities though it is not perhaps the best parallel to, erm, an atheist putting forward a known view in biblical studies (dead people don't rise). Still, I am a radical believer in academic freedom and any view should be allowed to be debated without fear of the sack (of course, if someone started preaching racism in a maths class there would be a serious problem but that can be dismiss for not teaching the right subject). Virtually all universities claim to be open places to discuss anything and that ideal is worth it, even if there are other ways to place pressure on academics. It allows a space to challenge dominant views, even if universites have failed in many ways.

Who do you mean by the 'American chick on Israeli history'?

2. Yes I know of the historic roles of German theology dept (and certain British ones) and the legality of it is another issue in one sense. I'm thinking more in terms of the moral and ideal issue. In terms of the ideal function of the university (and GL did point out that Goettingen makes certain claims) it is a profound contradiction. Theology depts who ban certain people cannot legitimately claim to be critical. If churches do not like it then they should not have anythign to do with a university because the university is not, ideally, to preach views that CANNOT be challenged. I'm aware that the reality is far more problematic of course.

3. So what if GL is a militant atheist? That's too bad if you couldn't work with him. In the workplace we have no choice but to work with people with some crazy views. I certainly have worked with people who have some very bizarre views, not dissimilar to the ones you mention. I may not like their views but that's too bad. We could turn this on its head and ban fundies who want to convert us all because they are a pain in the arse (I would strongly object to that too, just for the record). There are codes of conduct at work - rightly or wrongly - and if people abide by them then nothing can be done.

February 22, 2009

 
Anonymous Tom Verenna said...

James, I agree with everything you said. Particularly about the university being a place for all ideas to be examined critically. If an IDer wants to propose the world was created in 7 days by Thor (or Yahweh, or El, or whatever God one wants to put here) at a university, that's fine, so long as his perspectives are open to critical science to examine them and (as happens to be the case) challenge and refute them.

Gerd may be an atheist, but so what? Bob Price is an atheist, but he still goes to church (as somebody who appreciates the mythology and culture). On the other hand, Christians have applied their own minimalism to Theology (Bultmann comes to mind). Atheists have also done a lot to contribute to our understanding of early Christian (Gerd among them). I don't think it is fair or reasonable to openly assail somebody who is religious or not--I thought this way in the past, but not anymore. What I think matters now is their scholarship, the weight of their arguments, and their conduct.

February 22, 2009

 
Blogger Michael F. Bird said...

James,
I'm not trying to compare Gerd to a holocaust denier (me genoito). My point was that academic freedom is constrained by one's ideological setting.

I'm not gonna deny Gerd's contribution to biblical studies either (esp. his chronology book and traditions in Acts) either.

With you I think that a university is where one goes to be educated about the universe so its gloves off, everybody has a voice, every opinion is worth hearing and being scrutinized.

But certain parts of a university can have a particular function in a particular culture. I gave the example of a Centre of Islamic, Jewish, and Christian Relations. If you suddenly write an article that Israel should be wiped off the map or else that all the Palestians should be displaced to the Jordan (I met an IDF office who believed the later), then you can't help but feel that you're a little out of place.

February 22, 2009

 
Anonymous steph said...

"I think Gerdie belongs in a religious studies dept. but not a theological studies dept. No one made him irrglaube! Does that sound fair?"

Not "fair" at all.

What is so special about the academic discipline of theology that it demands a belief in God? Are there comparable prequisites in other disciplines?

February 23, 2009

 
Blogger N T Wrong said...

Michael wrote:
Academic freedom is really a myth.

NTW
Is this a valid argument against academic freedom? If academic freedom is an ideal worth striving for, and I believe it is, then shouldn't we accept the outcome that there will be qualified academics who come up with some undesired conclusions? I'm with Chomsky on academic holocaust deniers. Let's have the odd Faurisson who turns up, just so we can have the greater goal of academic freedom. Let's even have Geoff Hudson in the comments section of biblioblogs (although, I'd tend to give him his own pen to muck about in).

The thing is, doesn't your objection just boil down to nothing better than a tu quoque argument? But rather than point at what is or is not done in reality, how about coming up with reasons for what should be done. You might not be as keen on freedom of academic expression as I am, but rather than point out the shortcomings of the ideal, how about an argument from principle for excluding Lüdemann from public, academic, scholarly talk about God and his supporters (theology)?

And I mean an argument other than theology departments have a role to train ministers - as this is not an academic purpose. If anything, it disqualifies theology from the public arena. It does not disqualify a critical theologian from doing academic theology. (At least not in principle; I'm well aware of the Church-State overlap in Germany - but is that institutional structure - the wolfish church in academic sheep's clothing - itself what is wrong here?)

Michael wrote:
since Gerdie is now such a militant atheist (I stress militant), I would have a problem working with a colleague who riduculed and belittled my beliefs (personal and professional) in academic and popular forums.

NTW:
What part should 'beliefs' have to do with the Academy? I can think of a good academic rationale for ridiculing (deriding, pointing out the absurdity of) absurd ideas, nonsenses which had previously been alleged as facts, awful opinions, terrible rationalisations, etc, etc (all part of the workings of the Academy). But a person's beliefs don't even form a part of the procedures of the Academy. They don't even, or rather should not, even enter into discussion.

More to the point, I am not aware of Lüdemann attacking anybody's personal beliefs. Maybe you could show me where he attacks beliefs rather than ideas. All I am aware of is his engagement with ideas, opinions, alleged facts, arguments, etc. But if his discussion of ideas has a bearing on the personal beliefs of Lüdemann's colleagues, surely that is not a matter for academic discussion in the first place?

Moreover, when did Lüdemann start packing a gun in his academic discussions? Militant? Or academically argumentative? Perhaps the latter is urgently required when it comes to biblical studies, if one has regard to its reception in the United States today?

Michael wrote:
I mean, if you belong to the centre for Christian and Islamic Relations and you suddently believe that either the Palestinians, Israel, or Iran should be wiped off the map, you can hardly object to people calling for your removal or transfer to another department?

NTW:
A very poor analogy. Lüdemann opposes some rather poor ideas, not people. Again, as for your confusion of 'belief' with 'ideas', you easily confuse the two. What is more, Lüdemann has written about the moral evil of Yahweh's herem; he certainly did not agree with it (unlike some bible-believers).

And just one last comment:

Michael wrote:
What about that American chick on Israeli history?

NTW:
I would have exclaimed something along the lines of "Well, f--- me", but I fear that bibliobloggers may have been more appalled with my gut reaction than your own comment. And that would have been a shame.

And, in respect of your substantive point about academic freedom (and ignoring your wholly inaccurate implied description of her as a 'holocaust denier'), I lastly note that the American chick in question managed to retain her position at the University. And in the United States today, that was no mean feat.

February 23, 2009

 
Anonymous steph said...

Funny what offends people: personally I find 'chick' alone more offensive than any possible reaction to it, and then there is 'Gerdie', Birdy. :-)

February 23, 2009

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

Do you think Leudemann might do an NTW and publish all the difficult things under a pseudonym? Just think of the awe in which he would be held then!

February 23, 2009

 
Blogger James Crossley said...

Mike,

NTW has answered you (and I agree with all NTW) so I would be VERY curious to see how you'd deal with NTW's arguments.

I'd add another: I have friends who are strong atheists and work in British theology depts and have worked in British theology depts. Should they be sacked?

I'm afraid, Mike, your arguments boil down to censorship and I find that extremely worrying from someone who is an academic.

February 23, 2009

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

If Luedemann knows he is upsetting folk where he works, he should get the message, clear off, and find a place where he doesn't. If his employer doesn't suit him, he should find another, instead of wasting his energies going to court, and whingeing.

As for NTW, what University does he work in? Hehe!

February 23, 2009

 
Blogger Mark Goodacre said...

James: Many thanks for posting on this. I only recently came to realize that all the fun seems to happen in the comments section of your blog. I wonder how many others are in on the secret? It's like the e-lists of old, or the early days of the blogs, with that mixture of speedy interaction, some fine arguments, some silly comments, lots of ad hominem and so on.

As one who has been unable to make up his mind on this, I find the discussion very helpful (though with diminishing returns as people get ruder to one another; that's still a general rule of internet discourse). Part of the problem is that few of us understand the German situation very well. But I am now inclining towards the position advocated here by James and by the Anti-bishop (welcome back).

I have the luxury of working in a Religion department and so don't have to worry about the kinds of issues faced by Luedemann and others. But I did all my study at the University of Oxford and many (most?) of my teachers were ordained Anglican clergymen. How would I have felt then if one of my teachers were sacked for their religious beliefs? It's easy to imagine something like that happening to some of those teachers too, e.g. the late Canon Fenton was a true radical, in large part sympathetic to a Luedemann style approach. I think I would have been protesting strongly.

Similarly now, what if one of my colleagues over in the Divinity School decided that they did not believe in God? I think I would strongly support their continued employment in a school that encourages its students to think critically. It would probably do them a lot of good.

When we talk about Strauss and his losing his chair in Zurich, we do so with a general sense of disapproval about how people were treated in those days; similarly F. D. Maurice when he lost his chair at Kings. Is the situation with Gerd Luedemann so different? (Not a rhetorical question -- those who understand the situation better than I may be able to explain).

February 23, 2009

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

O.K. Mark, suppose one of your colleagues said that he/she believed that Jesus, Paul, Peter, John the Baptist, and the twelve were fictional characters, the mission to Gentiles never occured, most of the NT has been worked-up from earlier prophetic douments, and much of the recorded history around the relevant time is the fabricated product of Flavian editors, but there was an alternative story about a real prophet who was stoned to death. What then? I'll bet you wouldn't be feeling quite so charitable.

Now suppose this colleague had kept his/her views secret, but then it became known that he/she had published an 'academic' book expressing his/her views under a pseudonym, how would you react then? I'll bet you wouldn't be too amused.

Perhaps Universities should provide retraining schemes for academics made 'redundant' by theology and biblical studies departments? Window cleaning seems quite popular.

February 23, 2009

 
Blogger John Shuck said...

I am enjoying following this thread.

As I see it, the church (and its various departments of theology) feels threatened by Luedemann not because his views are weird, wacko, or false (ie. Holocaust deniers), but because they are reasonable.

The larger issue is not so much about the right to academic freedom in contrast to the right of the church to admit members to its club, but the increasing irrelevance of the church and its creeds to the human quest for knowledge.

The church reveals its hand in this decision. It wants to be a private club rather than a place that encourages the search for truth.

February 23, 2009

 
Anonymous steph said...

Another 'silly comment' sorry Mark, but considering the situation of Luedemann, the verdict is an entirely reasonable interpretation of German law and any different verdict would have required the government to change the law. While it should be changed as it is completely unfair, personally I would rather have the job Luedemann has than the one he has lost - he is still a famous Göttingen professor who is paid more that most and has complete freedom to research and write.

February 24, 2009

 
Blogger Judy Redman said...

I think that how reasonable the Lüdemann decision is depends to a significant extent on what the position description for the job he was in is and who funds the position. If (as appears to be the case) the university is intentionally in partnership with local churches to provide training for their candidates for ministry and the job description requires that New Testament Studies be taught from a Christian perspective, then it would seem to me that anyone who is a self-professed atheist is not a suitable person to teach the subject. Students who enrol in a course also have the right to know that it will be taught from a perspective that they may or may not find helpful for their preparation for ministry.

This does not suggest that there are any problems with Lüdemann's scholarship in his area. It is simply suggesting that he may not be the best person to prepare Christian ministers. I personally think that his classes are likely to be an excellent preparation for final year students once they have been given the building blocks of their "trade", but I belong to the progressive end of a fairly liberal/progressive denomination.

See Jim West's blog for a translation of the actual decision, which seems quite reasonable to me.

February 24, 2009

 
Blogger James Crossley said...

Mark, yes, the contexts in Britain bring it in to focus for us Brits. If it happened to people we know, how would we feel? On the nature of the comments, think of it as an outworking of academic freedom or sheer laziness. I like to think both ;-)

Hello John S. You may well be right and I should have mentioned it. Indeed, would a more obscure view mean anything?

Geoff, don't worry, those of us in favour of academic freedom include you.

Steph, yes, certainly! But the moral issue is still worth developing because it is a serious problem which leads me to...

Judy, hello. But isn't the 'moral' or 'ideal' problem the role of the university? Can a university make claims to independence of mind when certain views are not allowed? Should the role of the university be to accept what the church wants?

February 24, 2009

 
Blogger Stephen C. Carlson said...

I think it is important to distinguish between (1) whether the university's conduct was lawful according to German law and (2) whether the university has lived up the ideal of academic freedom.

February 24, 2009

 
Anonymous steph said...

German law doesn't recognise academic freedom does it? Is Göttingen University's ideal academic freedom? I didn't think so.

And I think the law is morally wrong.

February 24, 2009

 
Anonymous roland said...

I've been buried, as usual, in writing, so I've just caught up to speed on this. I have a simple question: what does 'academic freedom' really mean. We seem to assume that we know ...

February 24, 2009

 
Anonymous steph said...

freedom to pursue academic enquiry honestly wherever it leads without fear of censorship?

February 24, 2009

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

Well yes, and be honest too about whose name you are pursuing your "honest academic enquiry" in, eh Steph.

But come-on, this is fairly pious talk about "honest academic enquiry" when the reality is that so many are already in entrenched positions. Are you going to instantly change your mind when proved wrong? After all, you have published numerous books and articles getting where you are, and it would be such a climb-down to revoke all that hard work you have done before when you thought you were so wright, er sorry right. Intrinsic to so-called academic freedom must be the idea that one may be wrong, eh NT? And it is very hard to adopt this attitude among other academics, isn't it?

February 24, 2009

 
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February 24, 2009

 
Anonymous steph said...

I will never be like Wright, and if they prove me wrong (and dig up a single Greek document called 'Q', or show me the zombies) I will very happily admit I'm wrong. After all, the scholar whose work I admire most, has changed his mind on various occasions.

February 25, 2009

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

If scholars change their minds, shouldn't they be pretty humble about opinions they currently hold, and therefore more tolerant of others who currently hold different opinions? I mean James and Michael haven't made too bad a job so far. Mark Goodacre seems to be very tolerant, ever the gentleman. And sometimes merely by taking a view you can subsequently realise that you are wrong.

But we all know a certain person who likes to take 10 different views all at once, so you never know where you are with such a person.

February 25, 2009

 
Blogger N T Wrong said...

Roland asked:
what does 'academic freedom' really mean[?]

NTW:
Well, the ability for a academic to publish a paper saying the resurrection is a fiction, without getting fired, for one.

What's your gig, eh Roland? What are you getting at?

February 26, 2009

 
Anonymous steph said...

Just a note on Hoffmann's misunderstanding regarding 'academic freedom' outside America. He says that the European model, including the United Kingdom, is a model in which "open criticism of doctrine and theological axioms such as the resurrection of Jesus has been deemed impermissible". I think he is wrong. Things are not the same in the UK for example, as they are in Germany. I know scholars in the UK who are free to openly criticise Christian doctrines, and do so abundantly. Hoffmann goes on to compare the lack of academic freedom in Europe with the "Arab world" which is ridiculous. Luedemann hasn't been treated like Rashdie.

February 26, 2009

 
Blogger N T Wrong said...

There's another angle to the German practice, too. The students trained at the Church-State-run theological departments at German universities have to be signed-up Prods or Catholics in order to do theology, as I understand it from discussions. What is more, if they are applying for ministry a Lutheran church, they need to sign a confession of faith.

But... due to the fact that there is a shortage in the supply of Lutheran pastors, the practical situation is that even a professed atheist Lutheran minister will not get fired. There are a few examples of atheist Lutherans about - who have lost their faith subsequent to being ordained. But, as the Government has an interest in the social/community services provided by such ministers, as long as they continue to provide good services in terms of practical community service (as opposed to Christian belief-inculcation), they are generally accepted by the wider German populace and government as 'good for the community'. So, there is no great pressure on them to resign.

Interesting results: the partnership between Church and State within a university also results in the State's social interests being furthered via the church. And although Ludemann can get fired for not retaining his belief, those ministers who he trains who do likewise are most unlikely too.

Sounds a merry muddle. As I base all of this on second-hand sources, I'd be interested in any others with intimate experience of 'the way the Germans do it.'

February 26, 2009

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

So NTW, what hostilities are you experiencing in your academic institution, that makes you so concerned about everybody else suffering discrimination? We would all love to hear about how you have been so badly treated, and where. The same goes for 'Roland' and 'Steph'. Apparently 'Steph' knows scholars in the UK. Well does 'Steph' know scholars in the UK because 'Steph' works in a UK university and has colleagues in a UK university? I think not.

NTW is an ethereal wind-bag. Someone who has to win an argument with 100 pis.... reasons doesn't seem to be the kind of person who would be too tolerant of anyone who would normally only come up with one or two reasons. The liberties NTW takes to say so much completely anonymously are abuses of others who express opinions. This is hardly a reasonable academic approach. Any academic who has to write so much anonymously should certainly be given the sack. That person can hardly be a champion of academic freedom.

But Luedemann should 'bend with the wind' and quietly go elsewhwere where he will be less trouble to others.

February 26, 2009

 
Blogger nelson moore said...

Grüße aus Deutschland,

NTW, you are entirely correct. In order to be admitted as a doctoral candidate in a protestant faculty, one is required to provide documentation of membership in a protestant church. (It is exactly the same in Catholic faculties.) You wouldn't actually have to go to church and you wouldn't necessarily have to believe anything particular, but you do have to be documented officially as a member of a legitimate church.

And I use the term “legitimate” purposefully. I get the impression that their primary concern is not that they might grant a degree to an atheist, but rather that they might grant a degree to someone who is a member of a non-traditional religious group. In Germany in general, there is a very heightened sensitivity to non-traditional beliefs. (Think Tom Cruise and Scientology.)

But as Michael already mentioned, the opportunities for a terminal degree are not limited to the department of theology. There are obviously departments of history, theology, sociology, ancient Near Eastern studies, etc. And because doctoral study is always done as independent research, it would be very easy to study "early Christian origins,” "New Testament literature" or some such topic in one of those faculties. Then you wind up receiving a Ph.D. and not a Dr.Theol., which seems very reasonable.

So to conclude regarding students, German universities have faculties in humanities that are open to all who can produce acceptable work. But the department of theology, which grants the degree Dr.Theol., accepts only those who are formally members of a recognized church.

James, you write that “Theology depts who ban certain people cannot legitimately claim to be critical.” While I find myself in great sympathy with your opinion, I think it helpful to point out that higher criticism in biblical studies was virtually invented here. And so paradoxically, the system which you declare a priori uncritical is the very one which gave birth to the critical methodologies which you employ. How can that have happened?

February 26, 2009

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

So how does Nelson Moore qualify for entry to his Dr. Theol. course? Is he a certified Catholic or a certified Protestant? Which one Nelson? Come clean. In any case protestantism covers a fairly broad spectrum of beliefs.

To claim that higher biblical criticism originated in biblical studies departments is no great shakes. One might ask, "What took them so long?" Where else would it have started but among those academics who began to have doubts about their own beliefs and understandings. But of course it is work in other areas such as archaeology, and the natural sciences that has forced the theologian's hands. And you don't even need a degree in Greek or Hebrew to realise that the logical and literary understandings of the extant texts of the NT, the DSS, and the writings attributed to Josephus, have much more to say about the history (the reality) than any traditional knit-picking textual criticism, as helpful as the latter might be on occasions.

February 26, 2009

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

Correction: 'nit-picking' (fault finding in a petty manner, or finding 100 pis.... reasons). Is NTW an acronym for NITWIT?

February 26, 2009

 
Blogger N T Wrong said...

Thank you, Nelson. It all makes me wonder why theology is carried out at the University at all, given the obvious conflict of interest with critical inquiry. As you say, there are other faculties in the university which offer critical approaches to biblical studies. But in a university, surely this should the case for every faculty? Dogmatic theology should be consigned to church seminaries. It is, ultimately, mutually exclusive of critical inquiry. The 'Theological Interpretation of Scripture Squad' go so far to admit that theological biblical interpretation can only be done (in some mystical fashion) by Christians - heck, they seem to revel in the idea - which makes it kind of odd that they are so enthusiastic about remaining unequally yoked within the university system.

higher criticism in biblical studies was virtually invented here. And so paradoxically, the system which you declare a priori uncritical is the very one which gave birth to the critical methodologies which you employ. How can that have happened?

Weren't they in other faculties? eg. Didn't Wellhausen resign from theology and join another faculty after he published his Prolegomena? And yet this mistreatment of academics within the university is still going on. I thought Germany would have sorted these shortcomings out by now!

February 26, 2009

 
Blogger James Crossley said...

Thanks as ever NTW. Saves me answering and done far better.

And thanks Nelson, that is very helpful. Again see NTW. Nelson you said,
'James, you write that “Theology depts who ban certain people cannot legitimately claim to be critical.” While I find myself in great sympathy with your opinion, I think it helpful to point out that higher criticism in biblical studies was virtually invented here. And so paradoxically, the system which you declare a priori uncritical is the very one which gave birth to the critical methodologies which you employ. How can that have happened?'

I suppose I'm thinking of a general question. I'm not sure then that the *system* I declare (I'm not sure that's quite the right word) has actually given birth to critical study. I'm thinking, as NTW pushes, of a contemporary context. I would also think there are a range of Germanic factors underlying the rise of critical scholarship in Germany (I would also say there are ancient examples but that's another question I suppose). And strands of both Protestantism and Catholicism may also feed in - but this is a massive area of analysis. We should also think of reaction. I mean once these things start getting imposed, at least in a university setting (and I'm also thinking generally, notjust Germany - there are certainly British problems just for the record), then people will react. There already is, I think, reactions to conservative tendencies in NT scholarhsip over the past 10-15 years and perhaps that is not unexpected.

I'm rambling. I think we probably agree on the general and perhaps the specifics too. And thanks again for the comments.

February 26, 2009

 
Blogger Geoff Hudson said...

Isn't it true to say, that if it wasn't for a constant supply of believing students, you would all be out of a job, anyway? So may be if you want to carry on, you can't rock the boat too much.

Window cleaning is quite a good business. You can get the family involved, that is while you hold the ladder - what else would you expect from an academic in biblical studies?

February 27, 2009

 
Anonymous Christopher Shell said...

On my only encounter with Gerd Luedemann he struck me as too ideological to hold an academic position, for which a requirement is the ability to see difeent options and their strengths and weaknesses. For example, he exclaimed incredulously to someone: 'So you reject the pseudonymity of 2 Thessalonians?'. All they were doing was not seeing sufficient reason to come down against its authenticity in the first place.

March 03, 2009

 

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