[HJMatMeth] Here's to peanuts...
- Dominic -
Thank you for your thoughtful response, and since my concerns will be more
tangential to the current conversation as it is shaping up, I'll try not to
interrupt the conversation too often, or demand one thread of it continue
along my interests.
Along with Davidson Loehr, however, I am also interested in the
presuppositions, presumptions, judgments and values at work behind this
whole question of method, not because I think we should find a way to
transform our discipline into something that can escape them, nor because I
want to elicit a 'confession' of where you are coming from. I do not
believe we can escape the values inherent in our disciplinary efforts, nor
should we. And I do not believe we gain anything by
sociological/ideological 'confessionalism', which is an academic counterpart
to the high-school proclivity of saying, 'well, that's just your/my
What I want to ask, however, is whether it would be of any interest to you
to engage in a discussion that I know my students who are on-line are very
interested in overhearing, perhaps even participating in: when you say
something like, "I choose to develop this method/ology, because it is better
than the ones I have seen around," I am wondering if you would care to
reflect a bit on: better at doing what?
And such a question is 'intended' to elicit something more than the answer
"at doing history", because it is precisely this that I have been wondering
about in my own research: what does it mean to do history, esp. history
about Jesus? what do you hope to achieve? what are the effects of choosing
these particular methods and their goals within a disciplinary paradigm of
new testament studies as historical research? who is historical research FOR
and who is it AGAINST?
I suspect that at least part of the answer is something like: it is FOR
those interested in coming to grips, as best they can, with the best
possible reconstruction of the life of Jesus, and it is AGAINST dogma. But
then, I begin to wonder: there sure appears to be something quite dogmatic
about what we do as scholars (not just with respect to the results of
inquiry, nor particularly the methods of inquiry, but also that what we do
as historians should not be associated with or answerable to dogma).
I have been asking and wondering and searching for answers to what appears
to be a very simple questions, but ends up being quite complex: just what is
OUR 'dogma', and can we be quite sure that 1) church dogmatics do not
(should not?) enter in and 2) historical (disciplinary) dogmatics do not
(should not?) enter in?
I know I'm not being clear, and I apologize for it. And please know, I do
not have any hidden 'agenda', but am engaged in an understanding of the
ramifications of our discipline's habits. I was once very intrigued in
pursuing historical Jesus research, but started wondering about what it was
we thought we were doing? I suppose you can say that as a scholar, I
experienced a 'crisis of faith' with respect to our field, only it wasn't a
'crisis' (more an intriguing series of unasked questions) and I really
wasn't very 'faithful' to our discipline to begin with.
I am only hoping that some of these questions might be of interest to you,
Thank you so much!