Promises to Keep
(Btw, you will have heard it elsewhere already, but Biblical Studies Carnival 44 has erected its tents and opened for admission over at Jim West’s place.)
Every now and then, in order to keep a post under a thousand words or so, I’ve thrown out a promise to flesh some idea out more fully in the future. Here, I’m going back to try to list some of those outstanding promises.
- “Being a Student” series: I offered suggestions for students planning to ask for letters of reference, and said I would occasionally offer similar posts on “being a student.” I’ve done a bit, and may step up that series as we get into the academic year.
- I have…several…times…used…the…term “woo,” a term used by science bloggers and atheist bloggers to describe instances of pseudoscientific claims and arguments. At least once, I have promised to devote a post to justifying the term “Bible woo.” I keep deferring the post, because it calls for some fairly serious platform-building, including 1) distinguishing evidentiary “biblical studies” from devotional “Bible study”; 2) establishing how historical studies and literary criticism sit among the sciences; 3) figuring out how not to have to bring in an explanation of modernism and post-modernism if it can be avoided by any means; 4) distinguishing unsuccessful but methodologically sound “biblical studies” from fraudulently-conceived, pseudoscientific “Bible woo.”
- In a related vein, I once suggested that the dichotomy “science v. religion” might profitably be swapped out for the distinction between “literal speech and figurative speech.” That is, if religious speech would try to be more clear about whether it means to be literal (and therefore falsifiable) or figurative (and therefore subject to the different critical canons of literary art), then much of the “science v. religion” conflict is sidestepped. My one post on the topic addressed a particular news item (Obama’s nomination of Francis Collins as Director of National Institutes of Health). I would like to write a follow-up post that fills in the argument that I started there.
- These two are promises I’ve made to myself in the form of drafts or outlines: I would like to write a post about how we users decide what new technologies or platforms are for (“What is Twitter For?”); and I would like to further promote awareness of iTunes U and YouTube/Edu by featuring particular items from time to time.
- As SBL gets closer and my fall teaching progresses, I will be testing out ideas about my paper topic: How strategies in distance learning contribute to the brick-and-mortar classroom.
By writing this post, I don’t mean that I’m going to drop everything until every item is neatly scratched off with a fine point pen. In fact, August (with class preparation amping up into high gear) might not even be the most fruitful time for the careful thinking that these plans ask for. But, it puts my loose ends of yarn into one basket here at my elbow.
What of these plans, if anything, would you like to see taking shape first? What other kinds of posts would you like to see more of?