Scoping the academic literature

The first practical task in writing a literature review is scoping – a preliminary exploration of resources, including existing reviews, to assess issues of quality and planning. Scoping helps you determine which topics should be included or excluded in your literature search, and guides decisions about the structure of your review. Make a start Begin …

Who wrote the Gospel of Luke?

All the narrative books of the New Testament come to us as unsigned, anonymous documents. The first generation of readers probably knew who the authors of the New Testament books were, but oral tradition was not always passed on in the literary tradition. Scholars speak of “internal” and “external” evidence in support of authorship: clues …

Facts or opinions?

“Just stick to the facts.” “Well, in my opinion...” We’ve all heard comments like these. How would you explain the difference between a “fact” and an “opinion”? Books have been written on the subject; this post merely scratches the surface of what is arguably both a self-evident truth and the subject of ongoing philosophical debate. …

Should theology make objective claims?

Relatively speaking, ours is an age where subjectivity is king. Theology students, especially those with prior learning in the humanities, may feel uncomfortable with assertions of authority and objectivity with respect to biblical texts, dogmatic convictions, the systemisation of theology, and church tradition. I have known people to physically cringe when seeing a book title …

Developing my critical thinking skills

In my last post, I suggested that critical thinking is “a complex process of deliberation which involves a wide range of skills and attitudes,”[1] and that it requires effort and patience, but improves with practice. In other words, it is an important set of skills that can be learned. Good critical thinking skills are an …