Some more bizarre comments
from BW3 on Sheffield in response to Steph Fisher:
The issue isn't hiring someone on the basis of their faith especially if they do not have the credentials and the critical training for the job. The issue is deliberately avoiding hiring people of faith, and further the issue is deliberately trying to deconstruct someone else's faith.
You have misperceived the issue, and I am sure Fred Bruce, whom I knew, would entirely disagree with you. My suggestion to you is to have a talk with Ralph Martin, long connected with Sheffield. You will get a different perspective on the history of the department.
Wow! How about 'The issue is deliberately avoiding hiring people of faith'! I just don't know what to say but if it is true the Dept has done a pretty poor job (see previous posts). This is stunningly insulting now.
BUT...but...maybe Bw3 was talking about the past because he does bring up Ralph Martin being 'long connected with Sheffield'. As it happens, at least as far as I am aware, I have never met Ralph Martin and I have never had any contact with him. He doesn't seem to have been be a figure present at the British NT Conference either so it would seem I have never had the chance to meet him. I have no idea if other present full-time members of staff have met him: I'd be surprised but you never know. The point being that BW3 is not producing the strongest evidence for some supposed policy of, or direction taken by, Sheffield, at least in the past decade, because Ralph Martin retired from the Department in...1996.
BUT...but...what if this supposed anti-religious hiring mentality happened, let's say, in a time some 15 years ago and beyond...? Aside from being a little out-of-date for the contemporary debates about Sheffield (let's not forget that!), this has interesting implications because one previous Head of Dept was John Rogerson, an ordained Anglican minister. Before him, so was James Atkinson. I have taken the historical detail of the Dept from David Clines' essay
on the history of the Dept upto 1997. Clines was also a former Head. Here are his thoughts on the issue:
The Department’s two staff appointments made by Bruce, Aileen Guilding, his eventual successor to the chair, and David Payne, who had been the first student of the Department, were also not ordained. Neither, as it happens, are any of the present full-time teaching staff of the Department. But, whatever the unofficial views of the University authorities may have been, there has never been any animus within the Department against the Church and ordained ministers. Two of its Heads, James Atkinson and John Rogerson, were Anglican clergymen, and the Department has numbered among its staff several Anglican priests, ministers of the Presbyterian Church of England (now part of the United Reformed Church), of the Church of Scotland,and of the Methodist Church. Nevertheless, the Department has been perhaps somewhat unusual among departments in the field of theology in having as tenuous a connection with the institutional Church as it does. That does not mean that there is still ‘no theology’. The name of the Department was changed in 1968 to Biblical Studies precisely to reflect the fact that the ideas of the Bible—in addition to its history and its literature—are part of the central concern of the Department, even if these days the theology of the Bible is increasingly referred to as its ideology.
On hiring full time, permanent posts, I should also add that people from outside the Dept must be brought in, not least to make sure the process is fair. If BW3 is right (and this is only for the sake of argument), then this means that the corruption goes wider and higher in the University and I can't imagine such people would be overly happy if they knew about such allegations. The interviewing/hiring panels have also included biblical scholars of faith so I don't know what they would make of BW3's allegations.
And, look, the BW3 repeats this allegation: 'further the issue is deliberately
trying to deconstruct someone else's faith'. I would like to know who is deliberately
trying deconstruct someone else's faith and I would like to know what he means by 'deconstruct' (as others have pointed out, he seems to mean something like 'destroy' because it doesn't make sense much sense in the context of academic usage).
As BW3 likes suggestions, let me give him one suggestion of my own: give serious evidence (not gossip, not hear say, not idle speculation) before making such insultingly inaccurate slurs.UPDATE
: the comments have now been removed from the linked page