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Christoph Heilig on “What makes a good Biblical Scholar or Theologian?”

For me personally, a good biblical scholar is someone who enriches the discipline not only, and not even primarily, through his or her publications, but also through the way he or she interacts with colleagues, especially those who do not yet hold powerful positions or might never do so.

I am reminded of people for whom self-interest is not only topped by enthusiasm for the subject matter of the discipline but also by an interest in the individuals who constitute that field, persons you can rely on, always willing to support, without envy or ulterior motives, rejoicing over your successes, sharing the pain of your daily struggles as a scholar.

In particular, I am thinking of the kind of senior scholar who carefully reads through an article by a graduate student that interacts with the work of that expert and who then gives gracious and motivating feedback … a person who does not consider him- or herself to be too good for waving across the book hall at SBL upon recognizing a former student or acquaintance … someone, who is not only aware of the manifold and crushing pressures that young scholars feel within today’s academia, but who also works actively towards creating an environment that allows for free spaces, creative development, and individual career paths.

~Christoph Heilig, Researcher, University of Zürich

Written by
Tavis Bohlinger

Dr. Tavis Bohlinger is the editor of Word by Word's Lecture Hall and Creative Director at Reformation Heritage Books. He holds a PhD from Durham University and writes across multiple genres, including academia, poetry, and screenwriting. He lives in Grand Rapids with his wife and three children.

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Written by Tavis Bohlinger