Not many months ago I purged my blog subscription list keeping up with only a handful of blogs now (mostly for the sake of time). One blog I really do enjoy is Larry Hurtado‘s. Earlier this morning he addressed the issue of how one’s religious stance (including faith or lack thereof) affects his or her scholarship:
Critical study, however, which rightfully means self-critical study requires scholars to try to avoid their own personal faith and commitments from influencing unduly their conclusions.
. . . But surely a moment’s reflection should indicate that there is no really neutral ground, and that those in negative reacion against their own faith are in danger of being unduly influenced (skewed?) in their work as any apologist for a given religious stance.
Have a look at the rest of the post.
I would highlight two phrases in the first line: (1) “self-critical study”–we all have blind spots, assumptions, biases, etc.; and (2) “influencing unduly their conclusions”–unduly is the key here because, to some degree, influence is inevitable and, I think, helpful. While I have strong personal faith commitments, one advantage of such diverse perspectives in the larger realm of biblical scholarship is that an individual is able to see his or her own positions in relation to a number of other very different positions which is a great help in “self-critical study.”