Back in the Blogging Seat

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 6:13 AM

I've been meaning to get this blog back into gear and have some new subjects that I will want to sort through on here in the coming months. First and foremost, I am (much to my delight) serving as an adjunct this fall, teaching World Religions — I think that will provide me with plenty to mull over here.

The big question I am mulling over right now is this: is it truly possible to study the World Religions objectively? The question is difficult because I am not so sure our sense of what objectivity is with regards to such a subject is even real. Mitch Numark's insightful analysis of nineteenth century Scottish missionaries in Bombay published in May issue of the Journal of Asian Studies has been challenging me on that point this week. Maybe what we think of as the “objective study” of religions is merely the subjective viewpoint of post-Reformation, post-Enlightenment westerners. I'll be posting more on that subject in the near future.

Meanwhile, my fellow theo-blogger Travis McMaken blogged yesterday on just how small the world is. Travis stopped by asisaid back when I was first starting seminary in 2007 and interacted with one of my posts on Karl Barth. Since then, I've regularly read his excellent theo-blog, Der Evangelische Theologe. Earlier this summer, I learned that Travis had been hired as an assistant religion professor in my alma mater's Religion department. When I found out, I wrote him to welcome him to St. Louis and we discussed meeting sometime after he arrived.

As it so happens, a month or so later, I received the exciting news that I was being brought on as an adjunct in the same department. With the semester kicked off this past week, Travis and I finally met in the cafeteria. Needless to say, I'm looking forward to further discussions with him in the coming months of the fall semester.

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2 comments posted so far.

Re: Back in the Blogging Seat

It’s not possible to study anything objectively. The myth of the objective observer is debunked.

One of my favorite professors opened every class making it clear there is no such thing as learning or teaching without bias. Instead, we recognize our bias so that we can see where it is coloring our assumptions and getting in the way of our learning.

Posted by Caedmon Michael - Aug 30, 2011 | 4:59 AM- Location: prayer + patience + poetry

Re: Back in the Blogging Seat

Sounds right on the money, Caedmon!

Posted by Timothy Butler - Sep 01, 2011 | 11:48 PM- Location: Blah.

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