As I was pointing out, scholars in most fields often have problems with colleagues who write trade books. It may seem weird to outsiders, but I explained one of the major reasons in the last post. Another is related: it is widely known that some scholars who start writing trade books never ned up doing anything else. That is, they become popularizers of knowledge rather than producers of knowledge, putting all their efforts into reaching the masses instead of doing any research themselves.
Over the past thirty years or so this has certainly been true in the fields of New Testament and Early Christian studies. Scholars who had very promising careers as researchers making advances in their fields have written a trade book, enjoyed the success of it and, especially, relished being in the limelight, and have more or less (often completely) given up any serious scholarly agenda. They no longer write scholarly books, or scholarly articles, or review scholarly books for scholarly journals, or deliver hard-hitting scholarly papers that advance knowledge to scholarly conferences. It’s all about popular books and lectures to lay people, who are not positioned to be able to evaluate what they are reading and hearing, to see if it passes muster or not. An expert says it, good enough.
And so the scholar can more or less coast along, saying pretty much …
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