Any process to maintain scholarship quality?

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Posts 174
Derek Browning | Forum Activity | Posted: Tue, Jun 26 2012 3:00 PM

Hey Friends,

This new concept is really neat, but it opens up a couple of questions for me:

1) Is there anything that would prevent, or at least identify the publication of heresies?

IE: modalism, naturalism, pelagianism, etc.?

2) What is the qualification of scholarship for contribution?

IE: Could uncle Bob plagerize, or aunt suzy publish material that is not historically or exegetically accurate?

Any thoughts?

Thanks,

Derek

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jun 26 2012 3:29 PM

Derek Browning:
publish material that is not historically or exegetically accurate?

I don't think there is any consensus on what the heresies are other than they are what those people over there believe. Bob has made it clear he intends it to fall within the general category of "evangelical" but that is not a homogeneous group.  However, I do trust Bob to keep it within the guidelines of the evangelical book publishers association - whatever it's official name is.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 81
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Doug Mangum | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jun 26 2012 4:17 PM

Hi Derek,

Our editiorial process for the Faithlife Study Bible would catch questionable assertions. Articles from outside contributors are reviewed by editors with master's or doctoral degrees in biblical studies and theology. Articles written in-house are still heavily reviewed and revised to make sure they're theologically balanced.

In what we've produced so far, we try to explain the options for interpretation without overtly endorsing specific theological positions. Our theological perspective is "broadly evangelical" but still allows for a variety of opinions.

Was there something in particular about the study notes or articles that raised this concern? 

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Doug Mangum | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jun 26 2012 5:03 PM

Forgot to mention. You can find out more about our publishing philosophy for the study Bible here.

Bob Pritchett, our president and CEO, has also written a lengthy explanation of our publishing philosophy here.

The list of contributors to the study Bible can be found here.

Posts 174
Derek Browning | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jun 27 2012 5:22 AM

Thanks All,

I have no concerns, just questions.  When doing my study I like to understand from what perspective different resources were written, to better understand and compare/contrast them.

Thanks for the response.

Derek

Posts 71
Paul Buckhiester | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jun 30 2012 9:01 AM

Agree.

Posts 325
Robert Wazlavek | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jun 30 2012 12:23 PM

In my limited reading of the FSB, I've both appreciated its approach and been disappointed with some interpretations.  In a general sense, I feel like Logos has done a pretty decent job on presenting multiple viewpoints and not being overly biased.  However, I have come across a note here and there that have had interpretational issues, unnecessarily biased remarks, and too much weight given to extrabiblical evidence (archaeological and geographical studies, etc) in which case the author of the note doubts the truth/reliability of the Scriptures because of it.  Luckily, I haven't noticed these issues a ton.  But they are there.  So like with all resources, people should be wary of simply taking its word for a particular issue.

However, since getting the FSB, I have already been able to make use of it in my Men's Bible Study group due to it sharing viewpoints that other more biased study bibles that I have didn't share.  So I'm still very much appreciative for it.  I would definitely like to encourage Logos/Faithlife to continue the approach of trying to mention all the main interpretive viewpoints of sticky passages.  That's going to be one of the keys in keeping this a useful resource, in my opinion.

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Clifford Kvidahl | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jun 30 2012 12:46 PM

Robert Wazlavek:

In my limited reading of the FSB, I've both appreciated its approach and been disappointed with some interpretations.  In a general sense, I feel like Logos has done a pretty decent job on presenting multiple viewpoints and not being overly biased.  However, I have come across a note here and there that have had interpretational issues, unnecessarily biased remarks, and too much weight given to extrabiblical evidence (archaeological and geographical studies, etc) in which case the author of the note doubts the truth/reliability of the Scriptures because of it.  Luckily, I haven't noticed these issues a ton.  But they are there.  So like with all resources, people should be wary of simply taking its word for a particular issue.

However, since getting the FSB, I have already been able to make use of it in my Men's Bible Study group due to it sharing viewpoints that other more biased study bibles that I have didn't share.  So I'm still very much appreciative for it.  I would definitely like to encourage Logos/Faithlife to continue the approach of trying to mention all the main interpretive viewpoints of sticky passages.  That's going to be one of the keys in keeping this a useful resource, in my opinion.

Robert,

Thanks for your comments and desire for God's word to be handled properly. I can assure you that those who are in charge of writing the notes as well as editing share your concern for the integrity of the Bible. When interpreting the Bible there will undoubtedly be differences among different people, traditions, denominations, etc. But as you noted, the team in charge of the FSB have tried their best to be as objective as possible, allowing differences in interpretation to be clearly seen by the reader.

In my opinion it is questions like yours-questions that seek an interpretation of the Bible that honors the intent of the Scriptures-that prove just how valuable and useful the FSB is and how it can be used by a group of people huddled around the Bible in search of truth. Logos has created the FSB and Faithlife exactly for this kind of interaction with the word of God and the people of God.

So, I am glad that you are finding the FSB useful for your study of the Bible. Please continue to search the Scriptures.

Cliff

Posts 138
Michael Grigoni | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jun 30 2012 10:03 PM

Robert,

Thanks very much for your feedback. We've done our best to keep the notes in FSB as fair and balanced as possible. Unlike other study Bibles, since FSB is a digital publication, we can make updates and adjust the note content over time. If there is a note that doesn't appear balanced to you, please send an email to editor@logos.com and we’ll make sure an editor reviews your concerns.

Mike

Posts 325
Robert Wazlavek | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jun 30 2012 10:55 PM

Thank you both for the replies.

Clifford Kvidahl:

Robert,

Thanks for your comments and desire for God's word to be handled properly. I can assure you that those who are in charge of writing the notes as well as editing share your concern for the integrity of the Bible. When interpreting the Bible there will undoubtedly be differences among different people, traditions, denominations, etc. But as you noted, the team in charge of the FSB have tried their best to be as objective as possible, allowing differences in interpretation to be clearly seen by the reader.

In my opinion it is questions like yours-questions that seek an interpretation of the Bible that honors the intent of the Scriptures-that prove just how valuable and useful the FSB is and how it can be used by a group of people huddled around the Bible in search of truth. Logos has created the FSB and Faithlife exactly for this kind of interaction with the word of God and the people of God.

So, I am glad that you are finding the FSB useful for your study of the Bible. Please continue to search the Scriptures.

Cliff

Mike Grigoni:

Robert,

Thanks very much for your feedback. We've done our best to keep the notes in FSB as fair and balanced as possible. Unlike other study Bibles, since FSB is a digital publication, we can make updates and adjust the note content over time. If there is a note that doesn't appear balanced to you, please send an email to editor@logos.com and we’ll make sure an editor reviews your concerns.

Mike

Thank you for the email.  I'm sure I'll make use of it.  I've actually sent a few of my thoughts in already as typo reports, haha.  But it's good to know that I can direct future thoughts to a more appropriate destination (one to which I also might receive a response, lol).

Posts 2964
tom | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 1 2012 2:01 AM

Mike Grigoni:

Robert,

Thanks very much for your feedback. We've done our best to keep the notes in FSB as fair and balanced as possible. Unlike other study Bibles, since FSB is a digital publication, we can make updates and adjust the note content over time. If there is a note that doesn't appear balanced to you, please send an email to editor@logos.com and we’ll make sure an editor reviews your concerns.

Mike

Just to put some balance into the mix, I was thinking somewhat the opposite.  I believe that the extra biblical was on the low side.  For me, we need the extra biblical evidence to help understand the biblical text.

Posts 325
Robert Wazlavek | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 1 2012 3:35 PM

tom collinge:

Just to put some balance into the mix, I was thinking somewhat the opposite.  I believe that the extra biblical was on the low side.  For me, we need the extra biblical evidence to help understand the biblical text.

If God's Word is supreme, then a person must understand the extrabiblical evidence in light of the biblical evidence, not the other way around.  I'm not necessarily talking about cultural stuff that helps us to understand how they thought back then and make use of this to understand the Scripture.  But saying things like geographical evidence supports a local flood and this is reason to question the Scripture which pretty clearly presents a world flood view is ridiculous.  Plus, I've heard evidence that points to the exact opposite anyway, that is, that geographic evidence points to a world flood.  Anyway, I don't mean to start an interpretation argument.  My point is that things like that are simply not appropriate in my opinion.  Just present both sides fairly, using all evidence that can be found to support both sides, and let me decide.  I don't need the FSB pushing a viewpoint, especially using weak, one-sided arguments (that ignore evidence as well) like that which I found in the case of Noah and the flood.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 1 2012 3:52 PM

Robert Wazlavek:
 Just present both sides fairly, using all evidence that can be found to support both sides, and let me decide.  I don't need the FSB pushing a viewpoint,

I thought that FSB was very intentionally pushing a "broadly Evangelical" viewpoint. To me, one of its strengths is that it is upfront about its bias so that you know exactly where it is coming from. Having a stated bias helps one narrow the search for alternative interpretations.

Robert Wazlavek:
If God's Word is supreme, then a person must understand the extrabiblical evidence in light of the biblical evidence, not the other way around.

I think that extrabiblical evidence is critical to understanding how language was used and interpreted at the time the Bible was written. Otherwise, we forgot and use Western understanding of language and logic of the last 2-3 centuries without even realizing it which can lead to significant misunderstandings. I also think some understanding of rabbinical thought is essential to understanding Paul's letters. I'm waiting for the FSB to be fleshed out a bit more before judging its usefulness.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 325
Robert Wazlavek | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 1 2012 4:58 PM

MJ. Smith:

I thought that FSB was very intentionally pushing a "broadly Evangelical" viewpoint. To me, one of its strengths is that it is upfront about its bias so that you know exactly where it is coming from. Having a stated bias helps one narrow the search for alternative interpretations.

I wasn't necessarily talking about the overall bias of the entire study bible.  I meant more along the lines of individual notes, etc.  It can be broadly evangelical and therefore limit the viewpoints it gives, which is good.  That way there aren't 50 different interpretations of a single passage ranging from extremely liberal to extremely conservative.  But within individual notes, being obviously biased toward one particular view and presenting incomplete information, etc, to push this view isn't as helpful.

I think that extrabiblical evidence is critical to understanding how language was used and interpreted at the time the Bible was written. Otherwise, we forgot and use Western understanding of language and logic of the last 2-3 centuries without even realizing it which can lead to significant misunderstandings. I also think some understanding of rabbinical thought is essential to understanding Paul's letters. I'm waiting for the FSB to be fleshed out a bit more before judging its usefulness.

Like I said, I wasn't necessarily talking about cultural things that help us to understand what they're talking about from their own ancient perspective.  I was talking about evidence like geographical evidence that is unclear and can support either reading, and can be used inappropriately to doubt the Scripture and push one view without even considering the meaning of the text, and other situations along these lines.  One doesn't necessarily push any doubt onto what the Scripture says.  It simply helps us understand what the text said to the original audience.  The other uses modern methods to determine whether the Scripture is true or not, effectively testing its truthfulness from a present day extrabiblical understanding of science.  The two kinds of extrabiblical evidence aren't the same.  I would be glad to have a history lesson to help me understand how they thought and understand what the text says.  I don't want modern science being spouted as a test to God's Scripture, bringing no light to what the text actually says.

In essence, one kind of evidence takes us back into their world, to help us understand it.  The other kind of evidence brings the text to our world, so we can test it.

Posts 10034
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 1 2012 6:45 PM

I remember when I was a child in a fundimentalist church ... all that geology in northern Arizona, dinasaur bones in Utah, and archaeology in Palestine was carefully placed there by God for us to find and be tested. Similar to 'signs' in Deuteronomy.


Posts 2964
tom | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 1 2012 7:12 PM

Robert Wazlavek:
If God's Word is supreme, then a person must understand the extrabiblical evidence in light of the biblical evidence, not the other way around.  I'm not necessarily talking about cultural stuff that helps us to understand how they thought back then and make use of this to understand the Scripture.  But saying things like geographical evidence supports a local flood and this is reason to question the Scripture which pretty clearly presents a world flood view is ridiculous.  Plus, I've heard evidence that points to the exact opposite anyway, that is, that geographic evidence points to a world flood.  Anyway, I don't mean to start an interpretation argument.  My point is that things like that are simply not appropriate in my opinion.  Just present both sides fairly, using all evidence that can be found to support both sides, and let me decide.  I don't need the FSB pushing a viewpoint, especially using weak, one-sided arguments (that ignore evidence as well) like that which I found in the case of Noah and the flood.

I am going to say that we disagree on the importance of extra biblical evidence.  We do agree, and we agree with that I too do not need the FSB pushing a viewpoint that ignores evidence as well.

Posts 325
Robert Wazlavek | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 1 2012 7:20 PM

DMB:

I remember when I was a child in a fundimentalist church ... all that geology in northern Arizona, dinasaur bones in Utah, and archaeology in Palestine was carefully placed there by God for us to find and be tested. Similar to 'signs' in Deuteronomy.

How that is done, however, is of crucial importance.  It should be done with the truth of the Scriptures in mind, trying to make sense of the evidence in light of Scripture.  Otherwise, you end up with "evidence" that is contradictory to Scripture and, in turn, bad interpretation.  It's easy to find a small piece of "evidence" and proceed to throw your hands in the air saying the bible must be wrong and thinking you have to change your view, when in reality, more pressing to understand in light of Scripture would have had you discover how the Scripture was right to begin with.  Furthermore, one's understanding of this kind of extrabiblical evidence is hugely influenced by how much of it you actually know.

When it comes down to it, "evidence" is often not pushed hard enough to be understood in light of Scripture.  The Scriptures don't change.  But next month more scientific evidence will be found that will turn some previous views on their heads, leaving the Scripture standing, and then the same will happen again the month after that.  A person can't assume that God's intent is that we find this evidence and then morph our views of Scripture to it.  Often times it's wrong, or simply having more understanding or knowledge of the subject would redirect a person back to the truth of Scripture.

However, God is very clear on some things.  For instance, He demands that we trust Him and His Word.  What was it that Adam and Eve fell for in the garden again?  Oh yeah, that's right, it was the serpent telling them God was a liar and was not to be trusted.  They fell for it.  I pray that the Church would not do the same.

Posts 325
Robert Wazlavek | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 1 2012 7:25 PM

tom collinge:

I am going to say that we disagree on the importance of extra biblical evidence.  We do agree, and we agree with that I too do not need the FSB pushing a viewpoint that ignores evidence as well.

I don't think it's not important, I just understand the dangers of it.  It's good.  But it can be very bad if given too much credit.  It often deceives, especially since a lot of people in the scientific world want it to deceive.  It must be understood in light of Scripture, otherwise, it will lead astray.  I would attest however, that with enough understanding, it will always support what Scripture clearly says.  (And just for the record, I'd like to reiterate that the kind of evidence is very important.  If textual, historical, and cultural evidence supported a view (like local flood), I'd likely change my own view.  However, if by all textual means the Scripture makes it mostly obvious, but modern scientific advances point against Scripture... then I'm likely to call shenanigans.  Wink)

But yes, we definitely agree on the second part.

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Doug Mangum | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jul 2 2012 9:57 AM

Robert, the example you raised with the options for interpreting the flood as global vs local is exactly the type of thing we're looking to expand on in future editions. I've made a note of it as a section for us to revisit in our next expansion later this year. We are very interested in feedback that helps us see where we can improve as we work toward our goal of offering a thorough, balanced treatment of topics like this where evangelicals have a variety of opinions. I would also encourage you to send any additional feedback you have to editor@logos.com. 

Posts 2964
tom | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jul 2 2012 10:18 AM

Doug Mangum:

Robert, the example you raised with the options for interpreting the flood as global vs local is exactly the type of thing we're looking to expand on in future editions. I've made a note of it as a section for us to revisit in our next expansion later this year. We are very interested in feedback that helps us see where we can improve as we work toward our goal of offering a thorough, balanced treatment of topics like this where evangelicals have a variety of opinions. I would also encourage you to send any additional feedback you have to editor@logos.com. 

I agree that there are a lot of options for interpreting scripture, and there are a lot of topics that a lot of people do not agree with (young/old Earth, global/local flood, same gender relationships, role of women, etc...)  May God be with y'all as y'all try to offer a balance understanding to these topics.

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