Saturday, 3 June 2006
According to the latest Journal, Bob Thiel (PhD) has expanded his website to include a section on the Early Church in an effort "to portray Church of God history in a more documented and detailed light." Intrigued, as this is a particular interest I share with Bob, I clicked across to see what he had on offer.
What I found were scores of articles of - and this is my personal and somewhat biased assessment - dubious value and apologetic intent. But what really amazed me was that Doctor Bob was unable to provide a credible bibliography for any of it. No references (except for copious links to his other pages.) I don't claim to have seen everything he's written, so maybe there's an occasional mention of Dugger & Dodd or an online edition of the Catholic Enyclopedia somewhere, but overwhelmingly this is the sole work of one enthusiastic amateur with no specialist training in the field and little evidence of genuine research. But you can judge for yourself
Of course, I'm all for enthusiastic amateurs. Home gardeners for example, and an army of bloggers. But if you're going to set yourself up as an authority on early Christianity, let alone a prolific one, then you need to establish some basic credibility first. At a bare minimum you need to be well read on the subject; at least familiar with the state of the play. Simply regurgitating your own sectarian sources just doesn't cut it.
My challenge to Bob is to provide a bibliography for his site. Books he has actually read and consulted. Then we'll all be in a better position to discuss his ideas.