PURPOSE

Why another blog in an already crowded blogosphere? Good question (since you asked). The three contributors here debated it for some time before we agreed to collaborate on this one. There are a lot of blogs out there that represent the singular positions of their writers. Many of them are much the same—with occasional postings, unhelpful book reviews, and other odd items.

under-a-different-light1We are going to try to do something different. We are all New Testament scholars at various points in our careers with a wide-ranging set of interests. We are going to bring our differing perspectives to talking about many of the issues that currently confront New Testament studies and any other areas that reasonably touch upon it. We have no particular set of ideas that we are going to promote, except that we think that our fellow New Testament scholars, as well as other thinkers and writers, could do a lot better than they have been doing in the work that we all undertake. We are going to try to raise the level of the status quo by commending and promoting better scholarship and commenting upon scholarship that we think falls short of what it could and should be.

We invite you to join us with your comments if you are interested in the same things. If you do respond to any of our posts, we ask that you provide your real full name (no pseudonyms, please; we are using our real names, so it’s only fair that you use yours), and email address to contact. We want this venue to be a place where we can discuss these issues, but we also want it to be a venue for dignified and productive dialogue. We don’t promise to make everyone happy, but we are going to try our best to make you think about the best in New Testament scholarship and areas that are related to it.

— Stanley E. Porter, Hughson T. Ong, and David I. Yoon

2 thoughts on “PURPOSE

  1. “We have no particular set of ideas that we are going to promote, except that we think that our fellow New Testament scholars, as well as other thinkers and writers, could do a lot better than they have been doing in the work that we all undertake. We are going to try to raise the level of the status quo by commending and promoting better scholarship and commenting upon scholarship that we think falls short of what it could and should be.”

    Hmm…that’s an interesting statement. Why not take a more constructive approach to this foray into the blogosphere? Instead of just poo-pooing on everything you don’t like personally (which sounds like the goal here), and making this an exercise in ego-stroking by only promoting Porter’s work, why not also highlight good scholarship that is being done in New Testament/biblical studies more generally? It does exist, I assure you. And furthermore–and this is just a minor point–I think I probably would be a bit more reserved when applying the term “scholar” to ones self, especially when one hasn’t yet finished, or has just finished, a Ph.D. (Porter, of course, certainly qualifies as a scholar). I know I wouldn’t feel comfortable referring to myself that way. However, that is merely a peccadillo. Cheers!

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  2. David,

    Thanks for reading and responding to this. We agree that there is some good work being done in New Testament and biblical studies. Our goal is certainly not to comment negatively on everything we do not happen to like. We want to try to encourage better scholarship through commending and promoting such scholarship, but we also think that scholarship that does not meet that level deserves some comment as well. That’s all that we have said and that’s all that we intend to do. However, you need to know that I am very happy to be working with my two fellow “scholars” on this blog. Throughout my career, I have tried to dissolve the boundaries between an idealized view of “the scholar” and the lesser beings, whether they are “students” or others. As a result, I even encourage my students at all levels to function as fellow scholars—at their individual stages as junior to me, but scholars nevertheless. But my two blogging colleagues certainly qualify as scholars by any criteria. Dave Yoon has published several articles in recognized refereed journals, including a very important work on intertextuality that I think many who like to bandy this term about would benefit from reading. Hughson Ong has also published a number of articles in a variety of refereed journals and will soon have a major monograph appear on the multilingualism of Jesus that will, in my opinion, establish him as one of the leading sociolinguists in New Testament studies. Thanks again for your comment.

    — Stanley E. Porter

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