Editor’s note: Crispin Fletcher-Louis has disrupted our normal series on “What makes a good Biblica Scholar or Theologian?” with a title of his own making. We’ll let it slide, because his advice is just that good. Enjoy the read, and keep an eye out for his book (below) on Logos in the coming months.
- Spend less time thinking about how to get noticed, and more time figuring out how best to serve others (students, colleagues, the academy, society, and people of faith). That book you are planning; who does it serve and to what end?
- Immerse yourself in the primary sources, in their original languages. If you have to choose (due to lack of money and bookshelf space) buy primary sources, not secondary texts.
- After you have passed your doctorate and you have secured a teaching post, think hard about all the ways your Doktorvater and the faculty at your Grad school may have given you blind spots or a skewed vision.
- Figure out where artificial boundaries in knowledge and understanding have been erected and try to transcend them.
- Figure out the art of criticizing others in a way that is gracious and incisive, kind, courteous, honoring, and desirous of real conversation.
- New insights often come from the margins; pay attention to the voices that the mainstream ignores.
- Be willing to admit you were wrong—in print.
- All research and scholarly writing is marketing: that is, trying to convince others to say yes to your offer. Successful scholars are good marketers. (This does not mean they are right or good for the rest of us. The serpent was a marketer). Think about why people say yes to some arguments, but not others (and let me know when you have the answer).
- Be suspicious; of dogmas, fads, thought-leaders with a cult-following, the personal and partisan interests that motivate particular positions, and of those who always insist on a hermeneutic of suspicion.
- There is truth in most heresies. If a viewpoint is “obviously wrong” but won’t go away it probably contains truths to which you should pay attention.
~Crispin Fletcher-Louis (https://jesusmonotheism.com/)