Thursday, May 17, 2007

Pet Hates

On the subject of "Pet Hates" there are two things which bug me unto death.

1. Senior students who cannot, despite three years of training, do footnotes in a coherent and consistent manner.

2. Any student who quotes Matthew Henry in an exegetical paper. Thus, I have incorporated the following policy in my revision of the HTC student course handbook:

"If any student quotes, cites or mentions Matthew Henry's Bible Commentary in a academic paper they shall be subject to discipline in one of the following ways:

a. The student will be asked to completely read Matthew Henry's commentary on the whole Bible from cover to cover and then be forced to eat it, hard back cover and all.


b. A Student can opt to be beaten to death with a copy of Matthew Henry's Bible commentary.

Note, students who opt for choice (a) frequently wish they had taken choice (b) since being beaten to death is far less painful than having to actually read all of Matthew Henry's Bible commentary."

MH is fine in your sermons and devotionals if need be, but for the love of Benny 16, don't quote him in an academic paper!


David said...

...but for the love of Benny 16, don't quote him in an academic paper!

Unless Puritan exegesis is central to the paper, presumably? ;)

Anonymous said...

At the top of my "pet hates" is a student using wikipedia or as a source in a term paper.

Billy V said...

I agree with Joel about wiki. Even after I told them not to cite wiki they were too lazy not to. It is ok to use as a guide or a launching pad to other resources but not as a source.

Christopher Drew said...

Wikipedia is trash. Bunko. Never use it. Just use good primary and secondary source material. If necessary, use a library.

Matthew Henry commentary quoted in a graduate exegetical paper? Wow.

Michael Barber said...

My policy: no internet sources can be used in a paper, period. (The exception, of course, would be on-line articles from academic journals.

Isn't that aweful for a blogger and a lover of biblioblogs to say?
Nonetheless, it makes the policy easy to enforce. I encourage them to use the internet to find sources, but that's something different than using it in a paper.

However, I often do make use of the internet to post reading assignments and to facilitate discussion.

Anonymous said...

I have found that what Billy V said is true. With undergrads, at least mine, in intro courses you can say don't use internet sources, but they will! They really can't distingiush the line between scholar sources on line and wikipedia. I think it is the sign of the times. Upper level courses it is not as much a problem.

A. B. Caneday said...


I resonate completely with your rant about Matthew Henry's commentary. It is irritating enough that students use the commentary in exegetical courses. It is also irritating that when they cite the commentary they show no awareness that Matthew Henry did not write the whole commentary. It's the same with virtually all edited commentary sets. Students seem never to read the bibliographical information that indicates who wrote the portion of the commentary that they have used.

Great policy, Michael Barber! I think that I will incorporate the same policy--no use of internet sources in college research papers, except those you have indicated.

Mick said...

This was pretty funny.
I do have the Matthew Henry commentary (among others), but being far from an expert (less than a novice, I suppose that I am), please let me know why one might not use it (since, apparently, you find it less than accurate). After all, it is in a few volumes as is Keil-Delitzsch, the Pulpit Commentary (even I found outdated to a certain extent), and others which were written/compiled by fallible human beings.
I had one preacher virtually tell me that "old" writings should be ignored since we have more recently discovered old(er) writings (?!)
Since I am not in a position to learn Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew, I (and many others) would thus, be at a loss, left only to compare the commentaries of this "scholar" or that "scholar."
It is suggested to me quite frequently that I disregard this, that or the other versions of the Bible, though, I believe that the translators, who have spent the majority of their lives searching for the truth in God's Word, do so in an honest quest (though I know that fallible humans do have their quirks, unique experiences and prejudices) for themselves and to accurately write down their findings for posterity sake.
Anyway, keep up the good work!
Michael Bird (the OTHER one)

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