Re: [XTalk] "How they do it"
- Reply to : Jeffrey Gibson (et al)
>Can I ask a supplementary question, which (as a non-scholar) I have
> I'm thinking of surveying scholars whose production of articles and
> books is enviable and whose research and knowledge of the filed is
> prodigious, to find out how they "do it".
> What sort of questions about reading and writing habits etc. etc. do
> list members think I should ask?
> What sort of habits are yours?
often wondered : How on Earth do you fill in all those references ? For
example, when Darrell Bock, in Jesus According to Scripture, refers to a
specific page of a specific edition of Jesus and the Gospels by Craig
Blomberg in support of the incipient trinitarianism in the story of
Jesus' Baptism, how does he know where to find that reference ? If I
look at the books on my shelf, I can't even remember reading some of them.
Eaton Bray, Dunstable
South Beds. UK
- To: Crosstalk
In Response To: Richard Mallett
On: How They Do It
RICHARD: How on Earth do you fill in all those references? For example,
when Darrell Bock, in Jesus According to Scripture, refers to a specific
page of a specific edition of Jesus and the Gospels by Craig
Blomberg in support of the incipient trinitarianism in the story of Jesus'
Baptism, how does he know where to find that reference?
BRUCE: NT books often don't have subject indexes (as distinct from Authors
Quoted and the Index Locorum), or when they do, they are not very complete.
So something else is indeed needed. As far as I know, people do it different
ways. Some are: (1) You have the book on your shelf, and you reach out and
grab it. It helps a lot if you have made your own select subject index on
the endpaper, at the time you first read the book. (2) Photographic memory.
The catalogue of Manchu language books in the Tôyô Bunko Library (Tôkyô) was
compiled, not on site, but in Seattle, and in part (as I understand) from
the memory of Okada Hidehiro. Remarkable guy. But even the least of us can
sometimes recall, Well, it was on the upper left corner of an opening toward
the front of that medium-sized book with the burgundy cover. This cuts down
the back-search time considerably. Use what memory you have. (3) My teacher
had the habit of recording locations of reviews of a book on the TP of his
copy of that book. Of course, this involves owning the book; it doesn't work
if you are dependent on some library located outside your house. (4) Some
people keep copies of articles, or sections of books, in 3-ring binders
labeled and arranged by subject for future reference. With stick-on notes
protruding above the top margin at points especially likely to be required
later. (5) The classic method is cards, traditionally 5x8 rather than 3x5,
with one quote plus source per card, and the topic as a heading at the top.
They teach this in history methods courses, or used to. It works best when
you are researching one very particular subject at a time. If two at a time,
you keep two little files of cards, and so on. (6) As a more compact version
of this, I have found that a large Rolodex has its merits.
Whatever works. What *doesn't* work very well is trying to think, eighteen
months or years later, Now where did I read that? And having no visual or
lexical clue to help you.
As to what books to consult in the first place, there are many very good
guides to the NT literature, or to certain segments of it. One general
source worth mentioning is New Testament Abstracts, very complete (it
includes both journal articles and books). It is put out by the Weston
Jesuit School of Theology. I should suppose that the real libraries can be
distinguished from the others by the fact that the former subscribe to it.
There is now, I understand, an online version, produced in collaboration
with ATLA, and available to libraries through EBSCO.
E Bruce Brooks
Warring States Project
University of Massachusetts at Amherst