18th May 2007
Gee, you turn away from the computer for a second and a firestorm breaks out! Michael Bird started the “kerfuffle” (using Chris Heard‘s description of the controversy) when he listed as one of his “pet hates” when his students cite Matthew Henry’s biblical commentary in an academic paper.
It was the ever affable Jim West, however, who really got the controversy going when he made his own list of books and people not to cite in an academic paper. The last two on his list are “anything published by InterVarsity Press” and “William Dever.” While Jim claims the latter was meant tongue firmly planted in cheek (although knowing about Jim’s membership in the “Copenhagen Fan Club” makes me wonder how truly in jest the comment was!), the former has elicited a significant amount of controversy — and rightly so. You can see the able responses by Charles Halton, Chris Heard (parts 1, 2, and 3), Mike Aubrey, Daniel Clark, James Spinti (here and here) – to name only a few.Â I won’t enter the fray except to say that I think InterVarsity Press is a fine publisher and am surprised that Jim associated it with fundamentalism. I especially think some of InterVarsity’s recent dictionaries are top notch reference works for all students of the Bible (if any InterVarsity Press representatives are reading this blog I’d be happy to point out how great and unfundamentalistic your books are in some reviews if you send me some samples!).
Jim has also made a list of who [sic] to cite; but alas I am not on his list, so you better stop reading now.
This whole brouhaha has got me thinking that what we need is an official imprimatur from Jim West for blogs which may be read with confidence. Then when coming to a blog all you have to do is look for the imprimatur and you know it is safe to read. Even though my blog hasn’t received such a stamp of approval from Jim West, I took it upon myself to design such a seal with the hope that Jim will approve my blog. Here is what I came up with:
(Some of you may recognize this as an adaption of the “biblioblogger seal of approval“; I recall Jim West thought the chap beside the seal looked kind of like him)