O'Brien commentaries and Academics

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This post has 60 Replies | 3 Followers

Posts 3646
Francis | Forum Activity | Posted: Tue, Oct 18 2016 8:55 AM

I am starting a new thread to discuss what happened with O'Brien's commentaries and the question of whether to return these commentaries for refund or keep them in relation to academic writing.

I can see the value of keeping them. In my view, they probably still have great value. Moreover, I am concerned that these volumes are not close to being replaced (we will be missing the corresponding book in the collections of which they are part).

BUT I am also concerned about the possibility, in keeping these resources, of forgetting not to use or reference them for published or submitted work. To keep them would seem to have to be for personal use only. Even so, I wish there was some kind of flag up (something one cannot miss, like a red banner) to remind us to use with caution.

Thoughts?

Posts 1957
Joseph Turner | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 18 2016 9:14 AM

I will keep them because they still have useful information, and they are a good jumping off point to do research.  There are also several other sources that reference his works, so those references are important to be able to follow.  You just have to be careful.

Disclaimer:  I hate using messaging, texting, and email for real communication.  If anything that I type to you seems like anything other than humble and respectful, then I have not done a good job typing my thoughts.

Posts 1048
William Gabriel | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 18 2016 9:33 AM

Could you create a highlight that covers the whole text and give it a light red background to get your attention when you open the resource?

Posts 512
Bobby Terhune | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 18 2016 10:09 AM

I suspect that since these commentaries were so highly rated and thought of for so many years, most will want to keep them. I know I'm keeping mine. For pastoral and lay ministry use, I don't see any problem using them. As for scholarly and academic work, he was so widely quoted that I think it will be hard to completely ignore him.

In my library I did a search on just his name "Peter T. O’Brien" and got 53,742 results in 2,482 articles in 1,209 resources! That is a lot of interaction the academy has had with O'Brien.

Posts 2787
Doc B | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 18 2016 10:27 AM

Francis:
discuss what happened with O'Brien's commentaries

As one who still works in academia, I get to see the shiny side and the ugly side of the plagiarism issue quite often.  And as one who teaches research writing methods, I am tasked with communicating the details to students.

Academia gets a few things right on the issue: insistence on documentation, and not only that, but other details, like the use of signal phrases and such; taking responsibility for your work (or checking the work of research assistants); and requiring diligence in research.

But academia also gets some things very wrong, in particular the failure (willful or not) to differentiate between the various kinds of plagiarism. While not everyone agrees on how to taxonify the issue, most can agree there is intentional plagiarism and unintentional plagiarism. The latter can be broken down into negligent unintentional and non-negligent unintentional plagiarism. (You can break these down even more, but it isn't essential to understanding the issue.) Academia tends to treat all these the same way, unfortunately.

I don't want to write a thesis here, so I will sum this up with one small challenge: Those of you who are the most critical of O'Brien's error take a paper you've written and run it through one of the online plagiarism checkers. See what happens.

There really is nothing new under the sun.

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Veli Voipio | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 18 2016 10:36 AM

What will happen if someone writes a truly original theological paper?

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Posts 353
Virgil Buttram | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 18 2016 10:38 AM

Veli Voipio:

What will happen if someone writes a truly original theological paper?

That's called "Scripture". LightningBig Smile

Posts 234
Colin | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 18 2016 10:58 AM

Personally, I think the academic citation of O'Brien's commentaries is not an issue. Let me explain. When you give an academic citation, you are indicating the publication from which you gave the quotation or learned the information or got the idea. In this case, the idea comes to you from a particular book of PT O'Brien's and you are giving the details. You will not be graded on whether or not you have learned the idea from the first person who ever said it. But you will want to be careful to avoid plagiarism and so you will be careful to footnote your source.

The distinguishing feature of PT O'Brien's commentaries for which he has rightly received credit from reviewers is his discernment. Helped by the works of other scholars, he has come to a reasonable and defensible explanation of the text he is exegeting. That is the kind of discernment we all need.

For example, if I look up Philippians 1:21 in my library using the passage guide, I am offered comments from no less 114 resources. Though this does not represent 114 different opinions, I need Spirit-given discernment to know how death can be gain if to live is Christ.

O'Brien gives a lengthy and very helpful discussion in which he quotes the views of many scholars (!) but concludes with 2 ideas. 1) because it means deeper fellowship with the Lord Jesus. 2) It may possibly include the idea that his death as a Christian would be the ultimate testimony to the supremacy and value of Christ. 

By the way his first explanation connects with my favourite explanation which comes from another book in my library which includes a sermon by the Lord Bishop of Bradford. He says "To live is Christ. To die is more Christ, Christ seen clearer, Christ understood more fully, Christ enjoyed at closer quarters." (See “Grimshaw of Haworth: Bi-Centenary,” The Churchman 56, no. 1–4 (1942): 429.) 

Though he gives no attribution, Bishop Bradford may have found the phrase in PT Forsyth's This Life and the Next (1918 edition but originally published in 1903)And the same could perhaps be said of James Hastings who wrote, 'When to live is Christ, to die is, so to speak, more Christ.' See James Hastings, ed., The Great Texts of the Bible: Ephesians to Colossians (New York; Edinburgh: Charles Scribner’s Sons; T&T Clark, 1913), 287.

Colin. 

Posts 5247
Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 18 2016 11:10 AM

I will be keeping mine because while a serious charge I do not think it was intentional and the volumes are most useful.

-Dan

Posts 1596
Ken McGuire | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 18 2016 12:11 PM

I am not working in Academia - and it has been a while since I have been a formal student. But what I recall of footnoting, the proper procedure is to footnote where you get an idea. And so while I certainly understand not recommending these works and not using them for further research, would it not be a bit dishonest for those who have been influenced by O'Brien to not cite him as the source? Yes, the note could be something like "O'Brien based on earlier work of Bruce."

The Gospel is not ... a "new law," on the contrary, ... a "new life." - William Julius Mann

Posts 1751
Nathan Parker | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 18 2016 1:40 PM

What I've done with mine so far is tagged them "Do Not Cite" in the library so I won't accidentally use them in academic writing.

In terms of returning them, I may call CS and see what my Logos Credit would be just to be curious, but since I got them as part of a base package, it's likely my credit wouldn't be enough to buy replacement commentaries with them.

Nathan Parker

Visit my blog at http://focusingonthemarkministries.com

Posts 809
Cynthia in Florida | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 18 2016 1:45 PM

Virgil Buttram:

Veli Voipio:

What will happen if someone writes a truly original theological paper?

That's called "Scripture". LightningBig Smile

PERFECT response!  I never can come up with those witty one-liners!

Cynthia

Romans 8:28-38

Posts 91
Donnie Vick | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 18 2016 5:55 PM

What about his WBC volume on Colossians and Philemon? Has that been found to have plagiarism in it as well?

I think I will hang on to mine. The credit is only $12.

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Mark Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 18 2016 7:10 PM

Donnie Vick:
What about his WBC volume on Colossians and Philemon? Has that been found to have plagiarism in it as well?

Donnie, so far nothing has been said by the publisher of that volume. (It is from a different publisher than the volumes that were withdrawn.)

Pastor, North Park Baptist Church

Bridgeport, CT USA

Posts 8967
RIP
Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 18 2016 7:34 PM

Keeping mine. I value them for the content not the citations.

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Posts 253
Jonathan Bradley | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 18 2016 8:22 PM

I emailed Logos Customer Service, asking about how much the credit would be for returning the three volumes. I have Logos 7 Gold as my most recent base package. If I were to return them, I would get a whopping $8.00 credit. 

I'm keeping mine, with the added tag of "do not cite" for if I ever go back to school. 

Posts 1413
Wild Eagle | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 18 2016 8:35 PM

I will keep mine, but will not tag them with anything.  I dont worry to accidentally cite those sourses because beleive me, I will remember O'Briens name.

"No man is greater than his prayer life. The pastor who is not praying is playing; the people who are not praying are straying." Leonard Ravenhill 

Posts 147
Willie | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 18 2016 9:17 PM

Nathan Parker:

What I've done with mine so far is tagged them "Do Not Cite" in the library so I won't accidentally use them in academic writing.

Nathan,

I've followed your example and tagged them with "Do Not Cite" in my library.  Thank you. 

I can see how this might help if I have a reason to open one of these resources' information pane or if I access one of the resources through my library pane and happen to notice the "My Tags" column.  However, I'm not in the habit of doing either of these, so I'm not quite understanding how this will provide me adequate warning upon opening one of these books.  I've never tagged any book before so there very well might be some benefit I'm overlooking.  I'm not involved in academic work now, but if I happen to enroll in classes several years from now I may not remember I tagged these resources.  I'd appreciate you thoughts on this.          

Posts 2282
Beloved | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 18 2016 10:56 PM

Willie:

I've followed your example and tagged them with "Do Not Cite" in my library.  Thank you. 

I can see how this might help if I have a reason to open one of these resources' information pane or if I access one of the resources through my library pane and happen to notice the "My Tags" column.  However, I'm not in the habit of doing either of these, so I'm not quite understanding how this will provide me adequate warning upon opening one of these books.

I too find this practice to be helpful and I have adopted it with modifications taking into account your observations. I alter the Title and the Short Title with my designation "DNCite" for Do Not Cite to alert me to the academy's objections to these titles. In addition to the 3 O'Brien works I have done this with the Varner James EEC volume. Thanks to you!

Meanwhile, Jesus kept on growing wiser and more mature, and in favor with God and his fellow man.

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Posts 3646
Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 18 2016 11:53 PM

Using the short title is useful because it is the title that shows in the resource top bar when it is open. I replaced it altogether with "PLAGIARISM CONCERN!". I don't really need NIGTC Philippians to show at all because there is the resource icon which tells me which series it is and the info button if need be. What I like with the short title is that it is always visible no matter where one is in the resource. Putting it in caps really works to draw attention to it because short titles are not normally all caps.

I feel bad to have to "brand" O'Brien's commentaries like this. Certainly it is no judgement on my part toward him, just a strictly academic measure. 

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