Jul 23, 2012

F. F. Bruce on Dissertations

The recent biography on F. F. Bruce contains the following observation about dissertations. I am not sure that Bruce's point is not even more true today.

"As, generation after generation, German students submit dissertations for the doctorate of their faculty, they have the choice of confirming old views or presenting new ones. Naturally, more “kudos” attaches to the publication of a new theory than to the re-establishment of an old one, and the most brilliant and ambitious students will seek to put forth “some new thing.” In some faculties the results of this tendency are wholly beneficial, but in such subjects as classical literature or biblical theology this is not always so. The number of probable hypotheses in these realms is limited, and as these have long ago been exhausted, the chances are that improbable hypotheses will multiply." 

Tim Grass, F. F. Bruce: A Life (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2012), 106.

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