When it comes to getting a professorship of biblical studies: Quite simply, I have enormous respect for anyone who is brave enough just to dare to try, and I have (naturally) great respect for those who have succeeded in the same.
At the same time, I don’t view it as a standard by which one can judge whether someone is mentally fit to have a competent opinion on the subjects of concern, any more than (to draw an analogy) being an Olympic athlete is a necessary condition of being physically fit and able to play a sport competently. In each case there is the plain truth regarding the large number of people who either do not make the cut (for whatever reason) or who self-select themselves out of the running (quite rationally).
On the rationality of avoiding the race entirely (and the possible ethical ambiguity, then, of encouraging people without much means to pursue it), one could read Peter Enns’ post, are PhD programs in biblical studies ethical?
Consequently, I don’t view it as a terribly important criterion for judging whether someone is worth hearing, let alone whether an opinion is worth consideration. Asking for university credentials (demonstrating an ability to analyze material at a high level of sophistication and/or facility with languages or other specific working knowledge) seems at least germane; asking for place of employment seems tantamount to a sort of social-positional snobbery rather than any attempt to get at the truth of things. Perhaps I’m biased, since I don’t have anything relevant to say to either question. But I am hoping that the people reading this blog find some value to some of it, so perhaps you already agree with me, to some extent.
Below the fold here, in this blog post, I will mention a completely secondary issue. It is also a sensitive issue. While I have not written very much here, I am hoping that the reader will understand that I am trying to be considerate with regard to the complex nature of this issue and the various, different situations that have arisen in connection to it.
It’s not even necessary to bring it up in this connection, in this blog post, but I had some time today to compile a short list of some of the names of faculty that have resigned or were dismissed from their positions in awkward circumstances, typically arising in connection to some kind of statement of faith issue (or otherwise controversial circumstances).
Can I say again that I am not taking any joy in mentioning this, that I recognize the complexity of this issue, and that I am trying to be diplomatic in mentioning it?
Well, here is that (by no means complete) list.
John Tietjen, president, and 44 faculty – Concordia Seminary (“Seminex controversy”)
Anthony Le Donne – Lincoln Christian University
Stephen Barnett – Bryan College
Steven DeGeorge – Bryan College
Joshua Hochschild – Wheaton College
Michael Pahl – Cedarville University
Peter Enns – Westminster Seminary
Tremper Longman – Westminster Theological Seminary
Bruce Waltke – Reformed Seminary in Orlando
John Schneider – Calvin College
Daniel Harlow – Calvin College
Jamal-Dominique Hopkins – Interdenominational Theological Center
Christopher Rollston – Emmanuel Christian Seminary
James McGahey – Dallas Seminary
Ruth A. Tucker – Calvin Theological Seminary
Molly Marshall – Southern Seminary
Bill Leonard – Southwestern Seminary
Jeff Pool – Southwestern Seminary
Russell Dilday – Southwestern Seminary
Alan Brehm – Southwestern Seminary
Dan Kent – Southwestern Seminary
Bill Tillman – Southwestern Seminary
Rick Johnson – Southwestern Seminary
Jeph Holloway – Southwestern Seminary
Sheri Klouda – Southwestern Seminary
It is also worth noting the situation of Gerd Lüdemann, of the University of Göttingen, who was allowed to retain his chair, with various stipulations.
I don’t want to write much more here. Let the reader draw their own conclusions. I trust in their competence.