Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Religious Studies Does It Again

Craig Blomberg buries some of his more interesting observations in footnotes:
One of the true scandals of the modern academy, apparently almost entirely unaddressed in the guild, involves the number of instructors in religious studies promoting, in their classes, Dan Brown's wholly fictitious claims about what took place at Nicaea as if they were actually based on historical fact. Yet in the past decade, one of the most recurring questions I have been asked by students on university campuses where I have spoken is how the Council of Nicaea determined the NT canon. When I explain that this wasn't what Nicaea was about, they state in disbelief or reply that one of their professors taught them that it was.
(Craig L. Blomberg, Can We Still Believe the Bible [Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2014], 240 n. 79.)
I really have no reason to doubt the veracity of Blomberg's account. This would mean that some (or perhaps many) of those who teach religious studies do not actually know what they are talking about, at least on certain subjects. Now, it is one thing to make mistakes when one is dealing with a subject outside one's specialty, but what does one say about getting basic facts wrong in one's specialty?