Tag Archives: Robert Cargill

Sunday Amens: The Difference between the American Academy of Religion and SBL

So the week began in a controversial fashion without yours truly, oddly enough, instigating the debate. Rather, the Biblioblogosphere was hit with a surprise by Ronald Hendel’s critique of the Society of Biblical Literature.

James McGrath made a round-up of the reaction on the biblioblogs. Essentially, Hendel argues that the turn to “postmodern” scholarship in biblical studies means a rejection of Enlightenment essentials such as reason being placed over experience. Hendel, in my opinion, is incapable of seeing past his modernist epistemology to see the biases he holds in his world-view. His fear that the “fundies are taking over, and with that, a supposedly less critical approach” to biblical studies” I think displays a fear of religious difference.  This is my judgment; perhaps this is too harsh, but the reaction on many evangelical blogs seem to prove my point. I have a choice of becoming a member of the Society of Biblical Literature along with the American Academy of Religion, but I have chosen the AAR for its religious diversity and the number of cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary conversations being held there. Hendel’s critique can only be considered valid for the most part if the emphasis on inter-disciplinary approaches to scholarship are looked DOWN upon.  Biblical studies is not a pure endeavor done in isolation. It is something done in community, and filtered through the reason, experience, and tradition of those communities.  [sentence has been deleted]

To keep along with my theme of staying within the academy, I really appreciated two posts this week on the call to function within the church and within theological studies circles.  Persons on both sides question what’s the point of trying to bridge the gap between the academy and congregation, but I think Dr. Thomas Oord and Robert Jimenez made a great case for why this is important. For this, they both deserve Sunday Amens.