There is, however, a catch: ‘the retirement o f the professor ’ . The professor in the West who waxes eloquently on his acquired inter-cultural insights is mortal. Someone will succeed him. During the years a professor is waxing on the mysteries of his research discoveries, his eventual successor is likely to be a youth coming up through the standard pre-university school system in that polity. Such a ‘pre - university’ educational system , along with the social culture in which it operates, are likely to be much the same as those which the professor originally experienced. If different, the amount of that difference that is brought about by an individual professor is likely to be very minimal. 19 In other words, any one professor is likely to have a minimal impact towards the transformation of content and style of pre-university education. As a result, ceteris paribus , whoever comes to succeed that professor will have had much the same preparation as had the original professor before beginning his advanced studies. He will have been raised in the same Western culture. That means that he will have to go through much the same learning process as did the professor in order to acquire his own insights with which to write his own book(s). Indeed, he can read the professor’s books, much as his professor had read the books of the professors who preceded him. That reading process, however, will not change the foundation from which he has started. If it took his professor, say, 30 years to get to be as expert as he was, i.e. to build something exotic onto his Western educational foundation that became worthy of publication, then it is likely to take just as long for his successor to do the same. To recap or summarise the above paragraph, research and education are not additive. A professor dies with many of his insights. His successor does not receive a brain transplant. At best, he has attended a class or two and has read the original professor’s books. Otherwise, a new professor starts out in much the same position as had the previous professor. For every generation, one finds Westerners doing what they can to reach out for new knowledge of the foreign, for perhaps 30 or so years, always from the same foundation.
This is the nature of learning in general about ‘the foreign’ by the English -speaking world. Learning is not additive. Citing other scholars does not make it additive. The person who writes, having read other people’s work, is engaging in much the same process of building on a given Western foundation as did his predecessor. As a result English-language scholarship in the West is barely going to help to prepare people to function outside of the West. Missiologically speaking: contextualisation will always be very limited. The ‘foreign’ hardly becomes less foreign. The helpfulness of accounts of what is ‘foreign’ produced from within the West will always be limited.
- Summer '20
- Dr joseph
- The Bible