Kiting Academic Checks

Like many people of my vintage, I’ve developed the habit of drawing on (and repeating) a repertoire of slogans as shorthand expressions of points for which I can give a fuller account if an unwitting victim asks for one. For example, I often tell preachers, “Don’t write checks you can’t cover,” by which I mean that preachers oughtn’t make assertions about what a word really means, or what people used to to back in ancient times, or what Jesus was thinking at a particular moment, unless you can make a responsible case that you’re correct. (“I learn it from a book” is not a responsible case, nor is “My teacher told me.”)
 
I spent yesterday writing promissory notes for presentations at the November Society of Biblical Literature meeting (assuming I can get time off from whatever job I have). The Synoptic Gospels section will have a panel of papers on “Reading Gospels for Character Formation,” for which I’ll contribute a paper on my hermeneutical angle on scholarship and formation. The CTRF@SBL will host a session on theology and popular music, for which I’m preparing a paper on the rationale for holding such a session (to be followed by several much more interesting papers).
 
Now, all I have to do is produce the intellectual currency that will back up those notes when they come due. I wonder if President Obama will send me a few million dollars for a bailout.

3 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I first read the headline as “Knitting Academic Checks,” which seems fitting. I’m sure you’ll cast on purls of wisdom after spinning such good yarns…

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