Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A few items...

  • Amir Hussain of Loyola Marymount University will be the next editor for the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, beginning in 2011. I joined AAR just as Charles Matthewes was beginning his term as editor, so it will be interesting for me to see what the editorial turnover has in store for continuity and change in the journal.
  • A reader recently commented on an old post of mine about Sutton Courtenay Press, offering some further information and also suggesting Dust & Ashes Publications. Dust & Ashes offers second-hand books in a number of areas of Protestant theology and history, as well as reprints of some classic texts.
  • Apparently there is a philosophical equivalent of Franz Bibfeldt! Thankfully most of the Bibfeldt stories I've heard are all in good fun and haven't resulted in too much public humiliation for those who are unaware.
  • An interesting working paper is out on recent trends in the sociology of religion.

My sister sent me this picture, from my visit over Thanksgiving. As you can see, I have
the two essential tools for any decent theological research: a bottle of beer, and crayons.


  1. I don't exactly trust Leiter, certainly not for "objective reporting." The way he savages people he does not like, like Thomas Nagel for his writing on ID, is reason enough not to take his posts like the one you link to seriously.

    The news of a French philosopher making a scholarly gaffe is, um, not exactly news. One could find similar embarrasing instances, as the author's of Fashionable Nonsense did, in many other more well known French philosophers and theorists. Leiter clearly just dislikes Henri-Levy, no doubt for his politics.

    It's hardly a sufficient basis for the headline Leiter offers.


  2. I'd agree with you on Leiter, and I only linked him for the sake of attribution and to make clear that I didn't find the Times article myself. I don't know anything about Henri-Levy, so I'm not trying to dismiss his work in posting this link. I just thought it was interesting to read about a similar fictional scholar in another discipline. And as I said, I appreciate the fact that in the case of Bibfeldt, it's all in good fun and no one is trying to use him as a basis for ridiculing anyone's career. To do so strikes me as a pretty lame distraction from critique that is actually rigorous and to the point.

    I'd also agree with you that Leiter's recent criticisms of Nagel (and others) have been just ugly and not worth taking seriously.

    I continue to read Leiter because he puts a lot of information out there, but not because I always or even often find his commentary useful. So don't worry... not all RSS feeds are created equal, as far as I'm concerned. And in this case I didn't mean to link Leiter as any sort of editorial statement about Henri-Levy, but rather in order to mention Monsieur Botul, the esteemed colleague of our very own Herr Bibfeldt.

  3. Inside Higher Ed has a worthwhile article on Henri-Levy. It seems he's contributed to the Huffington Post, too... I've looked through a few of his columns and he certainly has an odd mix of commentary there.

  4. That's the same reason I return to Leiter: information.

    I don't know much about Henri-Levy myself; I watched a few interviews, debates, etc. but never read anything by him. But I do know what is politics are, and that's why I figured Leiter was going after him, as Leiter seems unbelievably shameless about using his position to advance his own personal and political agendas.

    I'll check out the links you give...