On Keeping it Simple Stupid!

One of the highest compliments I've received from my work was written by biblical scholar Robert M. Price. Of my contributions in the co-edited book God or Godless?he said I write "with unpretentious clarity, common sense, and broad but inconspicuous erudition." If anyone wants to see how high a compliment that is then look up each word he used. Let me highlight just two of his words, unpretentious and inconspicuous.

Unpretentious: I don't seek to impress my readers with Bayesian math, or the technical philosophical, theological, or scientific terminology, nor do I use the original languages of the Biblical texts much at all. I remember teaching my first philosophy class in 1985 at the College of Lake County, in Grayslake, Illinois. I lost about half my class because the students could not understand me. Yep, that's right. Having just come from a Ph.D. program at Marquette University I didn't know how to bring the information down to college students. Over the years I learned how to communicate to the average person. My goal is to keep it as simple as possible, and no simpler. The problem with this goal is that there are some readers who think I'm ignorant, for if I was smarter and better educated it would reflect in my vocabulary. Smart, educated people, it's assumed, use the nomenclature requisite with their educational achievements.

Inconspicuous: Even though Price says I have a broad erudition, it's inconspicuous or unnoticeable. It wasn't inconspicuous to him. But it's inconspicuous to others. The people for whom it might be inconspicuous would be the uniformed and ignorant, Price intimates. [Another equally high compliment of my work, which mirrors what Price said, was written by biblical scholar Hector Avalos.] It's extremely gratifying to know some important people say such things.