Home Biblical Studies Young, female, and DWS @ SBL & beyond (Pt. 3 of 3)

Young, female, and DWS @ SBL & beyond (Pt. 3 of 3)

Continued from Pt. 2.

As I explained in my first post from this series, I’m done with seminary—or DWS, since I want to save space.  I went to SBL this year even though I’m DWS and am currently not planning to go any further in the field.  I know I looked like a tag-along to my husband (who wants to get a PhD in New Testament), but I was there because of my own interests and desperately wanted to be acknowledged as not totally out-of-the-loop.  It’s something I felt as there, but also something I feel here at home.  I always wonder if “the boys” will include me in their conversations—after all, Jeremiah and I both just finished our degrees in September, so should we be on equal footing?  Yes, he took a couple Greek and NT classes I didn’t, but I took a Hebrew exegesis of Psalms class, so we’ll call it even.  Sometimes I feel simply not having ambitions to go any further in the biblical studies/theology realm leads to people seeing me differently.  I want to yell at them, “I went to seminary, too, for goodness sakes!” but I’m not sure that would do any good.

While I understand that SBL is generally meant for people with a more active role in the field, I think there are ways for others to be more inclusive of DWS people, more generally.  Sometimes I see myself and other seminary graduates accidentally exclude our Bible-college-graduate friends or undergrad-reli-major friends from conversations—conversations they could probably be a part of if we just explained two or three words/ideas/authors/whatever and made it known that we wanted them in the conversation.  The same goes for seminary graduates who aren’t getting PhDs in a related field.  We still took Hebrew and Greek, we still know a bit about church history and theology, we still try to be thoughtful readers of Scripture, so please, don’t run over us with your words.  Let us know it’s ok to join you and give us space to do so.  In my dream world, the people in the field of biblical studies would be so wonderful to people who are DWS that youth pastors—yes, even those wacky youth pastors, of all people!—would think it was cool to come to SBL.  We who are DWS will never be the experts you are, but it’s a good and glorious thing when we care about the field and want to stay engaged with it in some way.  That’s a lot more than 90% of Christian ministers are interested in, so please, let it count for something.  We DWS people really appreciate it.

5 Responses

  1. Ella Prichard

    Ah! the Guild. The academy has a marvelous way of protecting turf; in a publish-or-perish world, getting acceptance into the guild and, with acceptance, the right to get your papers published in their scholarly journals or to present them at their colloquia and symposia, to get your books reviewed and to be asked to review their books. I’ve decided it’s all a game. I’ve encountered it in history, as a member of the Southern, Louisiana and Mississippi historical societies. “Independent scholar” is hardly a compliment in the journals when used to describe the author of the paper. Reviewers of books authored by independent scholars make snide remarks about the authors not writing in the style of the currently voguish historiography, regardless of the quality of the research. I’ve become thoroughly intimidated about submitting a paper for a journal, even though my research on at least three subjects in the history of the old southwest uncovered significant primary documents that have never been cited and found for the first time biographical information about some of the men that played significant roles in history, whose names are in the history books.Good luck cracking that nut, Ashleigh.

    • Ashleigh

      Ella, thanks for your thoughts. Sorry I’ve been slow to reply–it’s finals week here! I am both sad and glad to know that your experiences in this area have been similar to mine. Glad because it’s nice to know I’m not alone in my frustrations; sad that you have experienced this sort of elitism and exclusion. Seems to be something the academic world is good at, eh? :-/ I hope that things turn around for you as you continue your academic pursuits. I’m sure it’d be great to get at least a little credit every now and then! I didn’t realize you did historical research and would love to hear about it sometime. What sorts of stuff have you focused on/been most passionate about?

  2. Ashleigh,

    Hello. This blog is great. Really enjoyed the read. I came across it while googling moderate evangelicalism. Your post from 10-11-10 entitled “The acute need for moderate evangelical denominations” came up. Again, I really enjoyed it. I wanted to reply to your most recent post in hopes you’ll see this.

    I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment and am trying to bring a moderate perspective to evangelicalism generally and North American evangelical Anglicanism specifically. I was hoping you might check out my blog, which is entitled “Musings of a Hard-Lining Moderate: The assorted thoughts of an evangelical Anglican.” I’m trying to find readers such as yourself. Here’s the link: http://bit.ly/dXh2qd. Also, I’d also be happy to be fb friends with you. Here’s the link to my profile: http://on.fb.me/e0j89R.

    Alright, I hope to see ya elsewhere.

    Grace & Peace,


    • Ashleigh

      Carson, thanks so much for stopping by! I am excited to check out your blog, as there seems to be much to little chatter about moderate evangelicalism. I think the NAE was supposed to be the place for us, but it has ended up with a much more conservative flavor that I would wish. Maybe that was always the intention; I don’t know, since I wasn’t there. I just feel a lot of the lines between fundamentalism and evangelicalism have blurred, rendering moderates voiceless. I’d love to see some other alliance of true moderates spring up which maintained a distinction from both liberals and conservatives even while maintaining positive relationships with both groups. Maybe one day…

      I’m curious to know what’s up with you and the TEC, AMIA, etc. I saw you had somewhat divided loyalties presently according to your blog’s bio? Interesting!

      Also, what’s your wife studying at Baylor? Jeremiah and I applied to Baylor last year (NT for him, sociology of religion for me). We didn’t quite make the cut, so we’re doing other things presently and making various plans for the future. If we ever get to Baylor it won’t be for a few more years after he’s done a ThM or MTS. Hope y’all have been having a positive experience there so far! It seems like a unique place among Christian universities–much more research-minded than most, as well as somewhat more moderate (faculty and grad students more than undergrads).

      • Ashleigh,

        Yeah, I put together an academic conference on this a few yrs ago entitled “Evangelicalism: Then & Now (1984/2009).” The basic premise was since Newsweek’s Year of the Evangelical in 1976 evangelicalism has been redefined among purely conservative lines–theologically, politically, culturally, etc. Over time the line between it and fundamentalism became obscured such that the two Bible colleges I attended, for example, straddle the line. The good news is that, quite frankly, the old guard is dying off and a new generation of evangelicals are reconsidering some of things things. Though I’m not his biggest fan… at all… I think of Rick Warren performing a balanced presidential debate. As I see it, we’re on the cusp of being able to restore the movement’s balanced identity. I just hope Gen Xers and Millennials don’t throw the baby out w/ the bath water.

        The long and short of it is that I just joined the Anglican tradition this summer. Well, in theory anyway. There was no church nearby so we had to wait till we arrived in Waco. Since the church plant was kinda floundering (doing better now!) my wife and I decided to attend the orthodox TEC parish while helping with the AMiA church plant. Honestly, I cannot condone there overall direction of TEC but I’m not one of these people who rants and raves about it, ya know?

        She’s in the English program.

        Say, if you like my blog, would you consider including it on your blogroll?

        Oh, I wrote a big ol’ post about all this evangelicalism stuff and my journey a couple/few months back. If you’d like the link, I’m sure i can find it.

© Jeremiah and Ashleigh Bailey 2012