Markus Vinzent's Blog

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Spring is coming - and a new design

Dear readers of this blog,
When I started this blog - my first ever in my life - I did not know, how many people would enjoy it. Over 150,000 views in less than one year, almost 14,000 to 15,000 each month and many readers who write to me and to whom I am happy to answer individually. One of the suggestions was a revamp of the design as some browsers did not work with the colour scheme. Let me see whether the new one is any better. Thanks also to all those who recommended other blogger platforms, but I admit, it took me weeks until I knew where to click to get this site to run at least partly the way I would like to have it run. Then, I am not a techy. Really not. And I try to minimize the time input into technology (which I find much more difficult than reading Greek, Latin or anything from the past), to maximise the research time which is left in a full-time Professorship.
But it is more than fun in running this blog. It is sharing half-digested ideas with people around the world who take part in what is always a fascinating enterprise: research. Where you don't know what you can expect around the corner. Never in my life did I know what I am going to find. And when I look back at those few topics which occupy me most at this very moment - Eckhart's new Parisian Questions, the Dating of the canonical Gospels, Marcion's own Gospel - only a few months ago, I had not dreamt that I would work on such topics. That is what curious scholarship is about, looking for what we do not know.
The opposite, in my eyes, what I came across the last days when I continued looking into the dating of New Testament papyri. As I asked myself. How on earth can beliefs (be they evangelical or non-evangelical whatever this might be called) taint our spectacles so that suddenly papyri are dated to a particular century, even decade which other scholars from a different belief-set, or without such belief-set maintain that they cannot be dated or at least not nearer than to a window of about 200 years. Where is the difference between scholarly opinions and ideological dogma?
Is it worth writing scholarly against dogma, even if dogma is using (pseudo-)scholarship? All my life I had no inclination going into debate with hidden agendas. Yes, I can see the purpose of ambiguities - but having been brought up in a country where scholarship once has been misused for ideological racism, I resist ideologies, and trust that transparent arguments are more powerful movers of mountains than all kinds of beliefs.
Hope you like the spring around the corner, and the new design here.