April DeConick on the Humanities

Professor of Biblical Studies April DeConick wrote something noteworthy on her blog about the Humanities: “Get Sparked by the Humanities.” She criticizes the way the Humanities are critiquing themselves away and warns to not forget the traditional disciplines.

There is no mind, no knowledge, that floats around out there.  Knowledge is made in us and we make it from within the webs of knowledge culturally shared by us in very specific locations.  (…)

For now, what I would like to do is to think about Humanities as a spark.  (…)  Something happened to us when we read Plato, or Josephus, or the Gospel of Thomas, or Dante, or Blake, or Shakespeare.  What?  What sparked you?

(…) When my religion professor examined biblical texts without preferential treatment, but as cultural productions that had left the imprint of their societies on them, I was so upset I didn’t want to go back into his classroom.  Who did he think he was?  Obviously I went back, my curiosity winning my private battle of faith.  (…) The call to the Humanities would not leave me alone.  I had been changed by the encounter.  My life had been transformed by its spark.

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