Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Building a scholarly toolkit (or not)

A fellow could become quite the scholarly interlocuter if he or she paid close enough attention to what is posted on the internet. (Or, as a friend of mine used to say about seminary: you could teach people the buzzwords and mental processes in a weekend long workshop, and have much the same effect.)*

For example, in case you're feeling threatened and need to make sure your conversation partner feels stupid, here are some helpful tips from the creator of Dilbert, Scott Adams. The comments to this post fill out Scott's ideas nicely.

And, if you want to take it to the next level, you could peruse Gaunilo's Humble Suggestion II, although I must admit I am puzzled as to why he thinks these are bad ideas. I suppose it is just because he hasn't read Milbank's Theology and Social Theory (2d ed.). Or at least he hasn't read it closely enough.**

So there you have it, some helpful suggestions on how to interact with others when having scholarly debates or even casual conversations.

Or you could, you know, read deeply, listen carefully, and interact with others in love, humility, and a desire to come more fully in touch with the truth. But that would take more work.

*Just in case my irony isn't showing through, I think that this sort of buzzword and cliche driven 'education', found in the some bits of business and the church, is worth grieving, if not outright despairing. And my friend was making a general observation, not endorsing it: he followed up his line by saying 'I'm afraid of that, and I want to take advantage of my time here [i.e. in seminary] to make sure that doesn't happen.'

** Yes, of course this is a joke. I consider G a friend, and I am deliberately conflating and transgressing two of his excellent suggestions.


Blogger Gaunilo said...

You, sir, are no friend of mine. You clearly haven't read (um..) Symeon the New Theologian on this matter.

But seriously. I may have mentioned this in Philly, I don't recall, but I'm also convinced (apropos of the "buzzword" phenomenon) that there's usually an inverse relationship between the vehemency with which something or someone is pontificated on and the extent of that person's actually reading the source closely. E.g. how many people that are up in arms about Duns Scotus (courtesy of Milbank et al bringing up the subject) have really read him that closely?

Also: Adam recently put up what should be considered a Humble Suggestion III.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 4:35:00 PM  

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