I stumbled onto a thought provoking story (via Michael Bird) about Robin Parry’s use of a pseudonym in writing The Evangelical Universalist. Parry states two reasons for his actions: (1) protect his employer and (2) refrain from overshadowing another book he wrote which he deems to cover a more important topic.
While I think his reasons are fair, I question the use of pseudonyms in biblical studies. Publishing a work anonymously hampers critique, something that serves to sharpen both sides of an argument. For example, if the book provokes an opposing response, will the author engage the matter again in a journal? Under a pseudonym? Doubtful. I also suspect that anonymity takes away from the credibility of a work. If the argument for or against something is tight, present it. Stand by your work (when you publish, not down the road). If too many other writers begin taking the same approach (using pseudonyms), scholarship will lose steam…lot’s of steam.