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Re: orion re: Altman and Crowder

Tim Philips wrote:

>Jim West wrote:
>> Elmer,
>> A scholar is a person who has studied a subject in a university or college
>> or other graduate school with other scholars who have invested time, money,
>> and energy in learning a specific field.
>If "scholarship" occurs outside of a university setting is it still
>"scholarship" and how valued will it be by those in that setting if it
>originates outside that setting?
>How much does payment for one's intellectual efforts have to do with the
>of one's scholarship? What comes to mind is the difference between professional
>and amateur atheletes (who could even be an olympic athelete).
>This is a sincere question, and not a ploy to expose elitism or rouse hobbyist

Dear Tim,
Since you ask a sincere question, let me give you a sincere answer.

Jim's earlier definition of a scholar, in my mind, is insufficient.  When I
say "scholars," I usually am referring to people with a PhD, or other
terminal degrees in their field.  (A masters degree in religion is terminal
only for ministerial positions, not for teaching positions.)

Now before you accuse me of elitism, let me explain what that means.  A
person with a PhD has done two things.  (1) they have had their mastery of
the tools of their field (languagues, methodology, other people's research,
etc.) tested extensively in writing a book-length work. (2) that manuscript
is then evaluated by people who have extensive experience in that same
field (senior scholars) and have determined that it meets at least some
minimum standard of competency, not only in terms of skills, but also in
terms of persuasion.  IOW, they have determined that the PhD candidate not
only can use the tools, but that they can use the tools to put together a
book-length argument that is supported by the evidence available.

This does approval of a book-length manuscript is not the end.  Within
scholarly circles, there are also different levels of achievement which
lead to greater or lesser recognition of expertise, at least among one's
colleagues (if not the media).  Do they publish the dissertation (as a book
or a series of articles)?  Do they regularly give papers at conferences
where their colleagues can critique their work?  Do they publish article
beyond the dissertation, especially in refereed journals?  Do they write
books beyond their dissertation?  As you go through the list of these
questions, you will find that you can answer yes to all of them for a
rather small percentage of researchers, and those are the key experts in
the field.

Hope this helps clarify matters,


P.S. I think money (salary?) has very little to do with it.  I regularly
work with scholars who do not have full-time employment in the field.  Some
of them actually make more money than I do because they are not employed in
this field.  Their heart and training may be in this field, but they are
paid well by their "day job."

Paul V. M. Flesher, Director
Religious Studies Program
University of Wyoming
Laramie, WY  82071-3353