The most obvious activity that professional scholars engage in is research, and the most obvious way research becomes known to a wider public is through publication. In some fields of inquiry (most of the sciences), the academic journal is the principal area of significant publication. In other fields (most of the humanities), academic books matter even more. But even in the humanities scholar typically publish in both venues. Books take a lot longer to write, but articles play an extremely important role both in disseminating knowledge – the results of research – and in providing grounds for a scholar’s academic tenure and promotion.

The articles that scholars write – when they are writing as research scholars – are not the sort of thing that you would find in Time Magazine or Newsweek. Every field has its own set of academic, peer-reviewed journals (there are a large number in biblical studies in the U.S. and Europe); and every scholar who is active in his or her field or research publishes in them. These are not journals that lay people would want to read or, in most cases, be able to understand. (Just as I myself would not understand the articles that appear in academic journals in unrelated fields – biology, anthropology, or philosophy, e.g.) They are, as a rule, highly technical venues of publication in which authors presuppose a great deal of background knowledge. This is not only true of the hard sciences, but of all fields. It is true in the fields of Biblical Studies and of Early Christian History. Among other things, these journals presuppose that their readers can handle the ancient languages about which scholarship is concerned (Greek, Hebrew, Latin, etc.).

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