Time for an Update

38665081_10107735075768052_8311195960428462080_nI’ve been away from the blog for a couple months, so I’ve decided to give an update on what I’m doing. As previously noted, I am currently on a medical leave of absence from school. I’ll still be working on projects during that time. I’m presenting at the national Society of Biblical Literature this month, and I will likewise be presenting at the Society for Classical Studies in January. Apart from that, I have a chapter in the works for a new John Loftus volume.

But, recently I have been heavily focused on improving my health, while thinking about the direction I want to take my career. I’m not going to lie, over the years managing this blog has often tired me out. There is a lot of antagonism within the field of Biblical Studies. It provides an interesting contrast with the field of Classical Studies, where there tends to be less controversy and intensity between different viewpoints. I feel that focusing too much on the debating and critiquing side of scholarship has sometimes sapped my creative energy.

I am still unequivocally opposed to the way organized religion has penetrated academia. I have no problem with Christian scholars working on the subject of ancient history, but I don’t think there should be accredited academic institutions (with doctrinal statements) designed to favor one particular religion (or atheism, for that matter). It fundamentally differs from what I view as the proper role of a university, and I hope to be active in addressing that throughout my career.

But, there is also a bigger world out there, and I want to feel free to explore it. There is so much acrimony (on both sides) in online discourse about the historical Jesus, the Bible, etc. I realize that this is due to the wider controversy and polarization of thought that surrounds these matters, but it can also be very tiring. When I started out studying Classics, I felt like I was having a lot more fun and passion for what I was doing. But all the antagonism in Biblical Studies has had the unfortunate effect of making my scholarship feel like a chore. I want to fix that, because it’s not how I want my career to feel throughout the coming decades.

Since I am doing a lot of internal reflection right now, I want to let my readers know that my blog posts will probably be sporadic over the next several months. I don’t want to feel like I am obligated to write here. I should do so out of passion and interest. For this reason, if you are a patron on my Patreon account, feel free to unsubscribe, since this blog will be less active. I’m going to keep the account open, should I ever decide to start posting more again, and also for people who simply want to be patrons of my academic work outside the blog.

In terms of upcoming material, I have a guest article that I will be posting soon, written by Kris Komarnitsky (author of Doubting Jesus’ Resurrection: What Happened in the Black Box?). I may also post about some of the stuff that takes place at the Society of Biblical Literature this month in Denver. Other than that, we’ll just see how I’m doing.

I hope that this announcement doesn’t come as a disappointment to certain readers. I have to take care of myself and make sure that I am happy with my work. As such, I’ll be utilizing my leave of absence to deeply consider the future direction I want to take in academia. Hopefully what I’ve written makes sense, and apologies if it seemed like a long confessional (haha).

Take care,

Matthew Ferguson

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8 Responses to Time for an Update

  1. Don’t worry Matt. I understand your situation. Do what you need to do. We’ll be here waiting for you!

  2. Pingback: Κέλσος hiatus |

  3. John Humberstone says:

    Health comes FIRST. Good luck for the future. You might want to use this blog like you have now, though, and keep us updated with what you are up to. We are interested.

    Best

  4. csvanefalk says:

    Best of luck with everything Matt, thank you for all the effort you have invested in this blog. Me and many others are more knowledgeable because of it. I hope you find both good health and joy in your work.

  5. Bob Breckwoldt says:

    Not surprised about the history issues . Similar issues occur in work on the history of Ancient Israel. See Marc Van De Mieroop writing in “A History of the Ancient Near East” p243 -244. But you have already written clearly and well on a number of points. Your points just need a wider readership. I am amazed at how long you have kept your blog going and posting so often whilst pursuing a career. Anyway look forward to what you produce next,

  6. Richie Rich says:

    I think it’s good to take a break from blogging and academia, especially if you have a health condition that has a negative impact on your life. Burn-out is a major problem for many grad students so it’s important you’re looking after yourself. I wish you all the best.

  7. Beau Quilter says:

    No worries. Even using your site as an archive of excellent resources is valuable to us, no matter how often you are able to add more posts.
    Looking forward to the Kris Komarnitsky post. Perhaps this can be another way that you regularly use your site: as a posting place for interesting contributors.

  8. Luke D says:

    Ya, this blog has taken a bit of a dive in terms of pumping our content. But it’s understandable. It’s OK. You’ve done a lot of good work. I’m glad you’re contributing to Loftus’ upcoming volume. You do what you need to, Matt.

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