Ed Wright | The Arizona Center for Judaic Studies

Ed Wright

One of the projects I’m working on is an article about “Predetermined Scholarship: Evangelical Faith Statements and Their Impact on Academic Integrity and Freedom.”  I’m examining what it means for the field of biblical studies that many evangelical and other conservative Christian institutions of higher education in the United States require their faculty (and often, their students) to sign statements of faith and belief.  Of course, we all have the First Amendment right to structure our religious lives however we choose.  However, when it comes to scholarly integrity, does this practice undermine the foundational principles of academic scholarship?  I ask this question because evangelical biblical scholarship begins with conclusions, and then it finds, sorts, and interprets evidence to confirm those conclusions.  This kind of predetermination runs directly counter to scientific method, and to standard academic research procedures.  It does, however, have a fitting place within evangelical communities’ worship and education, as it supports their classic Fundamentalist ideology and their wider socio-religious agenda.