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Re: [Synoptic-L] Re: [XTalk] Again on Michael Goulder

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  • Rikk Watts
    I remember meeting Michael at the British SNTS OT in NT seminar at Hawarden back in the late eighties when I was doing my doc at Cambs. There were only a
    Message 1 of 6 , Jul 22, 2010
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      I remember meeting Michael at the British SNTS OT in NT seminar at Hawarden
      back in the late eighties when I was doing my doc at Cambs. There were only
      a handful of us and the weekend provided many opportunities to get to know
      people a bit better. We had a long chat one afternoon for several hours
      about his journey, through some severe personal difficulties, from his
      youthful evangelicalism (of a kind) to his then more skeptical position. I
      learnt a great deal from our time, not least how important it was to hear
      about the personal story behind the scholar. I found him warm and engaging,
      and once the conversation turned to more personal and intimate matters
      transparent, open, and even vulnerable. I will always have very fond
      memories of Michael the man.

      Rikk Watts


      > From: Mark Goodacre <Goodacre@...>
      > Reply-To: xtalk <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
      > Date: Wed, 21 Jul 2010 06:21:22 -0400
      > To: E Bruce Brooks <brooks@...>
      > Cc: Synoptic <Synoptic@yahoogroups.com>, xtalk <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
      > Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] Re: [XTalk] Again on Michael Goulder
      >
      > Thanks, Bruce. Yes, the memoir came out last September; it may be
      > that you missed the date stamp on that post. All best, Mark
      >
      > On 20 July 2010 23:18, E Bruce Brooks <brooks@...> wrote:
      >> Mark,
      >>
      >> Thanks for the reference, and perhaps especially the pictures. It all helps.
      >> One correction, though: Michael's memoir Five Stones has been published, and
      >> is available through the usual channels.
      >>
      >> Bruce
      >>
      >> E Bruce Brooks
      >> Warring States Project
      >> University of Massachusetts at Amherst
      >>
      >>
      >
      >
      >
      > --
      > Mark Goodacre
      > Duke University
      > Department of Religion
      > Gray Building / Box 90964
      > Durham, NC 27708-0964    USA
      > Phone: 919-660-3503        Fax: 919-660-3530
      >
      > http://www.markgoodacre.org
      >
      >
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    • E Bruce Brooks
      To: Crosstalk Cc: Synoptic, GPG, WSW On: Auch Kleine Dinge: In Memoriam Michael Goulder Date: 25 July 2010 Time: A little past midnight From: Bruce In my
      Message 2 of 6 , Jul 24, 2010
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        To: Crosstalk
        Cc: Synoptic, GPG, WSW
        On: Auch Kleine Dinge: In Memoriam Michael Goulder
        Date: 25 July 2010
        Time: A little past midnight
        From: Bruce

        In my latitude, 25 July has just begun; formerly St Christopher's Day,
        now the day appointed for the recollection of the person and notable
        achievements of Michael Goulder, at one time Rector of St
        Christopher's, Withington.

        What form of recollection would be most suitable, for a scholarly
        discoverer of the first magnitude? As I have elsewhere said of the
        Sinologist George Kennedy, perhaps the most suitable way to honor a
        discoverer is to keep on discovering. I would thus take this memorial
        day as a time for reminding ourselves of our obligation to improve and
        extend, and not merely to appreciate, what has been given to us by
        previous scholarly achievement.

        This does not mean writing another five books on the Psalms, or
        another two volumes on Luke, to match Michael in shelf inches. The
        point is not to match, but to continue, and for most of us, unsituated
        as we are for continuous scholarly investigation, the continuity must
        necessarily be in small modules. But the small modules should do more
        than talk to themselves. How then shall they get into the continuing
        stream of scholarly discourse?

        One traditional method is not the book, but the chapter: the small
        contribution bundled with others to make a larger contribution. The
        academic Festschrift is a not wholly functional example of this mode.
        I have before me an interesting variation. It is W K Lowther Clarke's
        book New Testament Problems (Macmillan 1929), written before 7 July
        1937 and thus while philology was still more or less alive. It was
        dedicated to Clarke's teacher Foakes-Jackson, in lieu of the 70th
        birthday Festschrift which never happened. Clarke himself had no time
        to be a scholar; as he says in his dedicatory epistle, by getting him
        an editorial position in the field, "You prevented me from writing the
        theological books I had planned." Clarke was the Editorial Secretary
        of SPCK, a reviewer of other people's stuff, reading, as he says,
        about 1000 books a year, and with no time to do anything but distil
        his impressions of them and pass selected impressions on to the
        qualified general reader. His book is a further selection of those
        impressions, developed as topical essays originally printed in such
        church magazines as Church Quarterly Review, Expository Times, and
        Review of the Churches. There are 23 essays in 217 pages, or about 9
        pages each. They show him acting on what he has read, not merely
        taking it in. They show a commendable balance of mind and concision of
        style. I recommend them.

        Still more do I recommend this medium: the short piece shown to others
        as a contribution to the general flow of collective knowledge of the
        subject. Books these days run to the hundreds of pages, and they
        increasingly retail in the hundreds of dollars. That is a path of
        self-extinction, and I need say no more of it, save that the typical
        book is also overdeveloped to the point of self-refutation, in its
        push (while the author is typically in his twenties, and green behind
        the ears) to be "definitive." The shorter note, by contrast, is more
        often content to be suggestive; to leave something for others to
        develop. The attempt (of which the tragic figure of Einstein should be
        a sufficiently minatory example) to finish the work, to do more than,
        under present conditions of knowledge, can be well done, is to spoil
        the work.

        The journal is maybe a little better. True, articles in journals (such
        is the page-count pressure of the obsolete yet persistent tenure
        system) tend to be ever longer: monographs in all but binding. The day
        when a half-page note was regularly seen in the Journal of the
        American Oriental Society is long gone. But there are other journals
        (the one I am currently launching has a median length of 4 pages, and
        we routinely refuse articles which reach the lower threshold of
        alternate journals, namely 20 pages). And the tendency to gigantism
        and to gigantistic pricing can also be resisted by societies or other
        journal proprietors who decline to sell out to Cambridge and Company,
        simply by declining. Forbearance is among the cardinal scholarly
        virtues; the seed and mother of the other virtues. I recommend that too.

        A more recent possibility is the electronic forum. These die more
        rapidly than journals, they silt up with nonlookers, they turn trivial
        or fall silent. But again, in the nature of things, this need not be
        the case. It is merely (it seems to me) that the art of managing such
        a conversation is still in its infancy, whereas the editorship of
        paper media has a more developed tradition of procedure to rely on. We
        might thus withhold a judgement of perdition on the attempts, so far,
        to get something of the sort going on the airwaves.

        As I have elsewhere observed of the Warring States (classical Chinese)
        texts, things like this need institutional continuity in order to
        survive and maintain ongoing vitality. They can't be too individual or
        too circumstantial; or if they start so, they need to be able to
        outgrow themselves and get onto a longer track. They need to enter,
        and then to survive, their adolescence.

        Probably no focus of intellectual exchange has ever been more
        productive, per pint consumed, than the coffeehouses of London, in
        which the Royal Society would continue its meetings, and the merchants
        would get together to balance risks, and Richard Steele would edit the
        Guardian, and the gamblers would summon de Moivre from his chess game
        to calculate odds for them, thus creating (together with the work of
        Bernoulli in Switzerland) the science of statistics.

        So another thing we could perhaps use in the current century is a
        counterpart to Slaughter's Coffee House. At what commercial but
        welcoming venue could the heirs and assigns of Goulder conveniently
        meet, this afternoon, to exchange individual observations and develop
        collective hypotheses?

        Papa Gino, anyone?

        Bruce

        E Bruce Brooks
        Warring States Project
        University of Massachusetts at Amherst
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