One of the biggest figures in the study of the prophets in the late 1800’s/early 1900’s was Bernard Duhm. In case you haven’t heard of him, he’s the guy who separated Isaiah into the major collections of chapters 1-39, 40-55, and 56-66. Before his commentary on Isaiah in which he presented his arguments for the division of the book, in 1875 he wrote a theology of the prophets entitled, Die Theologie der Propheten. However, he did not publish ANYTHING, not even an article or short note, for 17 years until the first edition of his Isaiah commentary came out.

So, do you think Duhm would get tenure today? Probably not. Maybe we need to rethink setting page count minimums and such in tenure reviews. Sometimes good ideas need time to percolate. Furthermore, I think there are too many writings of bad quality constantly being churned out–this might be partly explained because young scholars are fearful of falling short of publishing minimums and they put out stuff that they might not otherwise.

So, what would change with tenure reviews?

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Charles Halton

5 Comments. Leave your Comment right now:

  1. Here’s another: Jacob Milgrom has no degree whatsoever.

  2. You know, I’m not really sure that the comparison is apt. Think of how many journals, conferences, magazines and online publications there are these days. To go seventeen years without even publishing a review in RBL or giving a paper at SBL today would almost be a deliberative move on the part of an academic to avoid tenure.

  3. Jim, I agree with you that this is an extreme example and if someone today isn’t doing something on a fairly regular basis I think that person just isn’t trying. However, there should be some middle ground between unrelenting pressure to constantly produce and just plain unproductive.

  4. by Chris

    If only he *hadn’t* stayed in academia! The critical study of Isaiah is only now recovering from the setback he dealt it!

  5. What is overlooked is the possibility that Isaiah was a prophet whose lifespan extended over two centuries. Antedeluvian genetics allowed for lifespans up to 10 centuries. Many academics wave off Methuselah’s 969 years as indicative of some sort of old testament typo. Perhaps those of us who profess resurrection through the higher power of the Good Shepherd should write that off as a typo as well? I move to offer that Isaiah may have lived over 200 years through supernatural means. Have a go at that for a few.;-) Regards, in Christ, b.

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