On Credentials

On Credentials February 6, 2015

There’s a strange argument being made in the nether regions of the Internet that John Gee should not comment on biblical studies since he doesn’t have a degree in biblical studies.  This argument assumes that John is not able to read books.  But on the whole, I find the claim absurd: “Do you teach the orthodox biblical studies?”  Oddly, his critic, TT, seems to have no discernible degree at all.

Personally, I feel that discussions should be evaluated on the basis of evidence and analysis, not the comparative size of someone’s degree.  A person with no degree who gets it right, is better than a person with a degree who gets it wrong.

But, if one insists that credentials in a particular field are a prerequisite for commenting on that field, why don’t the critics similarly criticize David Bokovoy for teaching classes on the Book of Mormon (he has no PhD in the Book of Mormon, and if it is 19th century fiction, as he seems to believe, he is completely unqualified to teach on 19th century literature)?  And why is he teaching a course on the New Testament?  His degree is in Hebrew Bible, not the New Testament.  Why don’t the critics attack Bokovoy for not only commenting, but teaching on topics outside his credentialed expertise.

Double standards are a real bummer.

(Note: Personally, I’m fine with Bokovoy teaching those classes.)

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