Rafael Rodriguez on “What makes a good Biblical Scholar or Theologian?”

It’s hard to give a one-word answer that doesn’t sound trite. I’ll offer a hyphenated cheat: “confident-humility.” Biblical scholarship requires a willingness to keep every question on the table and to listen to others with a humble sympathy even when we disagree with them.

But it also requires some gumption to add your own voice to a conversation that already hears from some impressively insightful voices. I find that I tend to be either (and alternately) confident or humble. In my best moments, I hope I exhibit both.

As for advice, I was once encouraged by a professor to change my mind slowly. While we need to learn from and incorporate new data and knowledge and arguments, we ought also to consider carefully the implications of abandoning previous convictions. That sounds to me like wisdom.

~Rafael Rodriguez is Professor of New Testament at Johnson University, Knoxville, Tennessee. He is the author of Structuring Early Christian Memory: Jesus in Tradition, Performance, and Text (2010), Oral Tradition and the New Testament: A Guide for the Perplexed (2014), and most recently, The So-Called Jew in Paul’s Letter to the Romans (2016).


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Tavis Bohlinger

Dr. Tavis Bohlinger is Editor-in-Chief of the Logos Academic Blog and Creative Director at Reformation Heritage Books. He holds a PhD from Durham University and writes across multiple genres, including academia, poetry, and screenwriting. He lives in Grand Rapids with his wife and three children.

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