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Jack of all Trades and Master of None: The Case for "Generalist" Scholars in Biblical Scholarship
by Michael F. Bird and Craig Keener

Categories New Testament

Michael F. Bird and Craig Keener posted an excellent article on the Society of Biblical Literature's forum. Below is an excerpt. The full article is well worth reading.

- Andrew for Z Academic

Young scholars beginning their careers in biblical studies may have to decide if they are to pursue a career as a “specialist” in one particular field like Pentateuch, Prophets, Paul, Petrine literature or be a “generalist” with expertise across a whole Testament, Second Temple literature, and often even rabbinic and early Christian writings. The attraction to the specialist track can easily be identified: (1) It is easier to master the primary sources of one specific area; (2) secondary literature in our guild is growing exponentially and it is impossible to keep up with the scholarly developments in more than one field; and (3) in terms of career prospects it is easier to develop a research portfolio, and thus secure tenure and promotion, if one sticks to one field of research. That said, the generalist track should also remain a viable and fruitful avenue for scholars to pursue as careers. In this short piece we will present a case for the value of generalists in biblical studies, that is, for the scholar who is “jack of all trades, but master of none.”

Read the full article on SBL's forum page.

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