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RE: Review of Biblical Literature Newsletter 29 July 2013

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  • E Bruce Brooks
    Dear RBL, Your latest instalment received. PLEASE end the practice of reviewing French books in French, etc. The situation in which a sizable number of
    Message 1 of 2 , Jul 29, 2013
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      Dear RBL,



      Your latest instalment received. PLEASE end the practice of reviewing French
      books in French, etc. The situation in which a sizable number of interested
      American NT scholars do not easily read either French or German has not
      changed. If anything, it has worsened in recent years. The value of a review
      in English, for the JBL majority readership, then, is to summarize the
      points of a French (etc) work which the functionally monolingual reader will
      probably never attempt to work through in the original, but of whose content
      it is nevertheless very desirable to be aware. Rapidly aware.



      The recent "internationalization" move of SBL is to my mind all to the bad.
      I understand it, but I do not think that, as worked out in practice, it is
      better than what it replaces.



      I recommend a reconsideration of this policy.



      E Bruce Brooks
      University of Massachusetts at Amherst



      Cc: Synoptic E-list







      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Matson, Mark (Academic)
      Bruce: I suppose it would be simpler and wiser to simply ignore your blast to SBL (as I am sure the SBL RBL will). But there is an issue here that is worth
      Message 2 of 2 , Jul 29, 2013
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        Bruce:

        I suppose it would be simpler and wiser to simply ignore your blast to SBL (as I am sure the SBL RBL will).

        But there is an issue here that is worth noting.

        The SBL is a scholarly society, and it's primary audience is scholars, in this case of biblical literature. Scholarly preparation in biblical literature has long involved gaining a functional working knowledge of primary languages (often Greek and Hebrew, together with as needed Syriac, Aramaic, Coptic, Latin, Ugaritic, etc), and the major secondary languages (primarily German and French). Scholars are presumed to know these languages to a greater or lesser degree. So the RBL is well within its intended scope for its primary audience in including reviews from scholars in these languages.

        I personally would disagree that we should demand conformity only to English. If we want to function in an academic climate in biblical studies, we should be prepared to deal with other languages. Just as we should be prepared to address lexical and grammatical issues on the primary languages (how else to do exegesis?), so also we should be open to the contributions of scholars from other languages.

        Mark A. Matson
        Milligan College

        ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Bruce Brooks wrote:

        Your latest instalment received. PLEASE end the practice of reviewing French
        books in French, etc. The situation in which a sizable number of interested
        American NT scholars do not easily read either French or German has not
        changed. If anything, it has worsened in recent years. The value of a review
        in English, for the JBL majority readership, then, is to summarize the
        points of a French (etc) work which the functionally monolingual reader will
        probably never attempt to work through in the original, but of whose content
        it is nevertheless very desirable to be aware. Rapidly aware.

        The recent "internationalization" move of SBL is to my mind all to the bad.
        I understand it, but I do not think that, as worked out in practice, it is
        better than what it replaces.
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