Thursday, June 4, 2015

More from Philip Jenkins on True Scholarship



[Here is more from Philip Jenkins on how to distinguish real scholarship from mere advocacy]

The Monte Verde Principle
May 15, 2015 by Philip Jenkins

I have been discussing fringe or marginal theories that run contrary to the scholarly consensus in a given field, and why we need to be very careful about rejecting that mainstream opinion. Just because an idea seems bold or iconoclastic does not make it right. You may at this point be thinking that I am advocating unquestioning obedience to academic orthodoxies, but of course I am not. Rather, I will describe how orthodoxies are challenged over time, and how they change to accommodate new insights.

I enjoy the magazine Ancient American, although I do not necessarily agree with a word printed in any given copy. The magazine is dedicated to presenting “alternative” theories of pre-Columbian history, often emphasizing supposed evidence of early American settlement by Celts, Vikings, Hebrews, and many other peoples (“Phoenicians Sailed Lake Michigan,” “Egyptians in the Grand Canyon”). Few of those claims would stand for a moment in an academic journal.


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