1st off the block was :: Aletheia :: (but then Craig's wife Linda is one of our readers!
next Wayne @ Better Bibles Blog with his post on the translation issues
and in the last 24 hrs both:
AKMA on podcast audio Bible suggesting we leave off the "think|pray|do" ending of the podcasts
and Maggi Dawn with her bible podcast post in which she claims to be a luddite who does not understand such technologies! ;)
But all of this is quite outside the originally framed discussion which had to do with a far more specific question- is the Hebrew Bible historical? Does it contain what modern historiographers call "history".This is a non-question. Of course the Bible does not contain what modern historiographers call "history", any more than it contains what modern theologians call "theology" (i.e. usually systematic theology!). The genres are different because the cultures are different. End of discussion, next question!
that the social treatment of intellectual property is unquestionably analogous to that of physical property. This is clearly not the case. The reason people purchase physical goods instead of stealing them comes down to the cost of stealing outweighing the cost of purchasing. Ramifications such as prison, social stigma, and shame -- in addition to guilt over wronging someone -- make stealing "costlier" for the vast majority of people, thus most people do not shoplift or commit robbery.Experience of extreme situations (like the recent disaster in New Orleans) illustrate this thought – in such extreme situations people do steal.
I pay my taxes. I have no idea how to calculate them, but I do what Turbotax tells me to. I'll pay a copyright tax, too, and willingly support artists whose work I appreciate, because it's the right thing to do, and because it guarantees that more work will be made available to me. I'm not alone.My conclusion to Part One: Copyright is broke, it does not acheive what we need, a decent income for "authors" and "publishers", so we need to fix it!
But consider that we live in an era where our ideas (which are now called "intellectual property") are under an increasing amount of legislative and judicial restriction. Recent legal movements such as lawsuits over media copyrights should cause us to wonder who owns our thoughts, or indeed, should anybody?Bell's reference to "our ideas" and "our thoughts" betrays a fundamental confusion about this issue. In fact, ideas and thoughts per se are no more protected by copyright than feelings and emotions. It is only when ideas and thoughts or feelings and emotions are given some form of concrete existence, whether in words or images or whatever, that copyright applies. Later he adds:
The problem is that copyright places restraints on both scholasticism and scholars; it locks ideas up under the ownership of particular people who are legally entitled to do whatever they want with it.Again, Bell confuses ideas with works. Copyright places no restraints on the free use of ideas, merely on the illegitimate appropriation of another's work. Put simply, one scholar is perfectly free to appropriate the ideas of another (we see this all the time in academic writing), but that scholar cannot simply reproduce another's work beyond the constraints of "fair use," a key element of copyright protection that Bell neglects to mention (and the basis for my quotation of his copyrighted [!] article here).
The proper method — and the historical method — for Christian scholarship is for our work to be conducted by members of the body of Christ for the benefit and enjoyment of the rest of the body. Simply put, our work must serve Christ.Copyright in and of itself is no barrier to distribution, since the individual who holds copyright may indicate that a work can be freely distributed. Copyright merely limits the right to make "distribution" decisions to the person who "authored" the work. As a sandwich maker, I may decide that I want to give my sandwiches to those who cannot afford to buy them (in service of the body of Christ). However, would one then argue that every sandwich maker in the church is obligated to give all his or her sandwiches to the needy, simply because they would benefit from and enjoy them? If not, then why should "original works of authorship" be treated any differently? At its core, Bell's argument appears to betray a surprisingly low opinion of scholarship, that it is not "real work" and thus should not be afforded the same protections that other works enjoy. Or perhaps Bell views scholarship in overly exalted terms, as something that is so superior to the work of the unwashed masses that it should not be tainted with "profit" motives. Bell goes on:
In the former case [profit], the motive is plain enough: copyright gives its author the exclusive right to sell and profit from his/her work. We have no direct quarrel with this motivation; what we do quarrel with is the whether or not profit is enough of a motivation to restrict the distribution of ideas. Profit is undoubtedly the most driving force behind the legislative and judicial focus on copyright; the distribution of copyrighted material is, after all, a multi-billion-dollar industry.Yet again Bell is flogging a straw person (to mix metaphors horribly). Copyright in no way restricts the free distribution of ideas. Rather, it stipulates only that, if anyone is to profit from a work (a condition bordering on contrary-to-fact for much scholarship), the author of that work has the right to determine who will do so.
What does this all mean to us, practically speaking? Let us consider a simple but troubling example: the copyrighting of Scripture itself. Pick up the nearest contemporary translation of the Bible and turn to the publication page. It is there, in black ink, that we find these perverse words: "The Holy Bible. [Some version.] Copyright [some date] by [some publisher]."Even if one grants for the sake of discussion that the copyrighting of Scripture is wrong (although the issue is not as simple as Bell's example suggests), one must ask if the right solution is an absolutistic requirement that no Christian copyright any work. Emotional appeals and black-and-white declarations regarding right and wrong are no substitute for careful and informed discussion about complex matters on which people of good faith (and true faith) may disagree.
Avoiding copyright of course raises questions about what the alternatives are. We can say succinctly that there are alternatives, including the public domain, Creative Commons licenses, and other alternative protections that keep the integrity of our work intact while ensuring that it stays free — both in terms of cost and in terms of freedom.Release to the public domain would ensure the free (in every sense of the word) distribution of material, but it would not address the "pride" factor that so upsets Bell—unless he wants to suggest further that all Christian scholarship should be anonymous. Creative Commons licenses are a wonderful alternative that I support, but one should not ignore the fact that they are predicated on the very same belief as copyright, namely, that an author of a work is the sole individual who has the right to determine how it can be used. Creative Commons licenses are more an application of copyright law than a replacement of it.
The primary motivation of copyright is to protect two things: profit and pride. But neither of these are things that we ought to be racing to defend.He boldly asserts
In the former case, the motive is plain enough: copyright gives its author the exclusive right to sell and profit from his/her work. We have no direct quarrel with this motivation; what we do quarrel with is the whether or not profit is enough of a motivation to restrict the distribution of ideas. Profit is undoubtedly the most driving force behind the legislative and judicial focus on copyright; the distribution of copyrighted material is, after all, a multi-billion-dollar industry.
But more than profit, copyright is an umbrella of protection for the ego. It is well and good that copyright affords its author royalties, but the real profit from copyrighting your work is getting to hear your name mentioned when the work is reviewed. What could feel better?
The root of the problem is that our faith opposes the basic premise that copyright asserts.Amen! In Christian scholarship copyright is wrong, deeply theologically as well as morally wrong. So Bell's conclusion follows, it's simply this:
Our objection to copyright is a denial of the implicit premise of “ownership” in copyright. Christianity asserts strongly and unequivocally that no human person owns his or her own thoughts. Our entire scholastic and intellectual endeavor is made possible solely by the grace of God — this is one of the fundamental tenets of our faith.
This assertion challenges the justification for copyright’s existence, namely that it affords legal protection for its creator, under the auspices that a person — a human being — owns his or her thoughts and is the genesis of them. Christianity — yesterday, today and forever after — rejects this idea as a contemptuous idolatry. We know the real truth: it is the Divine Creator, not the human creator, to whom the credit and glory of our work is due.
It is a difficult thing to divorce our minds from the idea of copyright, but in good faith, that is exactly what we must do.
Last week, I tried to access a paper which I cowrote with a bunch of fine people a few years back, only to discover that I couldnÂt, since Edinburgh University does not have a subscription to the publication in which it appeared. This made me seriously angry, and so I started thinking about all the things that are wrong with the current scientific publishing model.Well I can see how that would hurt, suppose you wrote for the Bulletin of Highly Relevant Paleographic Studies. The journal's electronic editions are subscription only, and your library, though richly endowed, does not subscribe... (Well no library can subscribe to everything ;) Well if I was you, and I had lost my own electronic copy, or wanted a page reference, I'd be pissed off too!
I once had a disagreement with David Tuggy, PhD in Lingusitics, regarding ambiguity. I finally looked up the word 'ambiguous' in a dictionary only to discover David was using the word in one way, I was using it in the other.I'd love to explore this more, Mike, can you give us an example of how one of you was focusing on ambiguity of interpretation, and the other on intention... I think I see what you mean, if so when Wayne thinks "ambiguity" he thinks of different interpretations possible, when I think "ambiguity" I envisage multiple intentions...
You see, the word is ...ummmmm... ambiguous.
And yet, as soon as I saw the ambiguity in our disagreement, the disagreement suddenly became a conversation. In fact, the whole nature of ambiguity became quite clear.
I think that is what happens in the Bible (in any well written text, for that matter). Authors want to reach their readers along several levels, meaning enveloped by entertainment is quite a communicative text.
So, I agree, I think there's a richness in ambiguity within the text; however, the ambiguity creates another level of coherence in the text, and, in fact, it tightens up the meaning all the more. In other words, ironically--hmmmmm, interesting word, 'ironically'--ironically, the ambiguity brings about clarity. Or, to say it from the author's perspective, clarity intends ambiguity.
SEARCH Tim's sites