No matter how original a scholar’s imagination, . . .

“No matter how original a scholar’s imagination, no matter how penetrating and critical his judgment, society does far more of the writing of any book that lives than the author himself.”[1] However humiliating it may be formulate such a principle, its justification scarcely requires demonstration. We can no more escape the influence of our cultural climate than people at the equator or in the Arctic regions can remain unaffected by their physical conditions. This seems plain enough when pointed out, yet in theological discussion it is rarely thought necessary to take account of the environment in which ideas are formulated and the motives of their sponsors. A book is cited and a name mentioned in connection with an attractive theory; let it be endorsed by a few impressive authorities and it rapidly spreads; in due time it may be regarded as critically orthodox. But how did that theory come to be formulated? What precedents did it have in its own field, and what prompted the author to put it forward. Most significant advance in thought are the product of long processes, brought to an issue by a gifted person…(George Beasley-Murray, Jesus and the Last Days, 1998, p. 1)


[1] C. C. McCown, The Search for the Real Jesus (New York, 1940), 18.

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One thought on “No matter how original a scholar’s imagination, . . .

  1. Simon says:

    “We can no more escape the influence of our *cultural climate* than people at the equator or in the Arctic regions can remain unaffected by their physical conditions.”

    So what is your cultural climate that affects your dissertation writing?

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