8157RE: [textualcriticism] Peer review (was Marcion's Gospel)
- Oct 30, 2013
Thanks. I understand now. I think David is perfectly right to seek outside help for his work. And I think it is perfectly understandable that established scholars, with a limited number of hours in a day, choose rather to attend instead to peer-reviewed scholarship. Best to all,
- Bart Ehrman
Bart D. Ehrman
James A. Gray Professor
Department of Religious Studies
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Please Join My New Blog: Christianity in Antiquity (CIA): The Bart Ehrman Blog
On Thu, 10/31/13, Ehrman, Bart D <behrman@...> wrote:
I’ve been an outsider to much of this conversation,
but I do have to say that I do not understand the reluctance
to accept the fact that peer-reviewed
research has -- through the process itself -- been awarded
its bona fides, and non-peer-reviewed research has
not. Is someone challenging that view?
Or to put it differently: if someone has a good case to make
(on any academic topic whatsoever), what is the argument
*against* making this case
available in a peer-reviewed format?
If someone has research that can *not* pass the
peer-review process, in almost every instance there is a
reason for that.
Perhaps you'll want to take a look at David's site, Bart. That would explain a lot. But in case you're not inclined to do so owing to the fact that he's not publishing his findings in peer-reviewed journals, I'll offer some crib notes. David appears to be an older gent whose main work in life has been in a field not very closely related to TC, biblical studies, or the humanities in general (he seems to have been involved in the tech field). He recently converted to Christianity after being an agnostic/atheist--sort of the opposite path to what you've taken, if I understand correctly. Through his study of Christianity in connection with that conversion, David got interested in issues surrounding the biblical text. As he researches these issues, he writes down his findings: his web site is a sort of collection of those findings. In order to push the inquiries and research he's been doing a bit further, he has now turned to this list, where he can,
presumably, find more "expert opinions" (you've already put him on the trail of some research in his area that he was apparently unaware of). Is that a fair summary, David?
The question in connection with this thread, then, should be not whether or not peer-reviewed publishing is good or bad: that's obviously not at issue in the current circumstance. It's a bit too far beyond the current state of the discussion. For someone on this list to recommend to David, on the basis of reading and assessing his work, that he submit something for peer-reviewed publication might be appropriate--presuming someone actually reads it. But even then a preliminary question like how would someone with no formal training in this field and who came to it late in life even go about submitting something for peer-reviewed publication? Or if David feels he's not ready for that, or if some "expert" here deems his work too immature for the peer review process, will he still be allowed to interact with the experts and to deepen his understanding of the issues he's researching? Those questions are more germane to the matter at hand. Depending on your
answer, Bart, David's research may or may not progress further. What say you? Or are you ready to dispense summary judgment that David's research "can *not* pass the peer-review process?"
My own guess would be that David is not, at this point, even considering peer-reviewed publishing. Rather, he's looking to interact with those better informed in order to deepen his knowledge of the topics he's been researching. In any event, as I said, the virtues of the peer-review system appear to be not terribly relevant to David's recent inquiries. Shall we blame Tommy for dragging this red herring across David's path? :)
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