A passing comment by Professor Richard Jefferson at an Open Access and Research Conference today struck me as very amusingly pertinent to today’s crop of theologians and other biblical scholars. Paraphrased, it was something like this:
The history of religion has had one constant: the clergy have fought viciously to prevent the people from having direct access to the answers.
And it continues today, though I doubt RJ was aware of what many readers of religion blogs have come to learn. But we know that even today the most venerable scholars of God and The Good Book frown severely down upon mere lay folk from daring to draw their own conclusions directly from their own readings of the sources and the scholarly pronouncements upon them. It is the lay person’s job to revere the opinions of the scholars — no matter that scholars are not agreed with one another or that they give contradictory reasons for believing or assuming what they all believe or assum
The people cannot be trusted to make tentative judgments or entertain honest questions about the fundamentals. Even the non-theological scholars of the Good Book warn the laity that they cannot handle the depths of necessary knowledge in ancient languages or sophisticated historical methodologies that require great finesse of intellectual tweaking in order to come to the “right conclusions”. Continue reading “The clergy are still fighting viciously to prevent the people from having . . . .”