Clearly Ambiguous

This made me laugh out loud because it characterizes so much of what academic writing entails (and I used to be a huge Calvin and Hobbes fan)… And I confess, I have definitely done this from time to time in my seminary career. (Side Note: I have also written several book reports on books I haven’t read… but that’s another blog post altogether.)

Why is academic writing so boring and inaccessible?

It seems to me that the smartest people don’t write up in the clouds so that you need a dictionary alongside their book or article to understand what they’re trying to communicate. Instead, the most brilliant writers know their readers well and write in a way that is challenging, yet easy to digest and interact with.

What are your thoughts – have you ever encountered this scenario?

What authors are easy to read? Whose books require wikipedia and dictionary.com?

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4 comments

  • i think theres a touch of pretention and a dash of pride in that pretention to go along with the challenging writing.dr. seuss is easy to read, not to mention brilliant without trying to be. seminary professors who use their own books as required reading in hopes that they will sell enough to keep them from going out of print, require you to use theological dictionaries for the prolegomena to the pericope that they will be exegeting… and not to mention a whole lot of patience when writing the book review that you ace by agreeing with their stance to avoid having to force yourself to read another collection of unnecessarily big words compiled by a professor across campus with a different view, who is in equal danger of being put out of print.signed, a bitter seminarian that is becoming more and more disenchanted

  • also, i think i should say not to mention more.

  • wow… i think, i *think* i may have tapped into some unresolved emotions here.

  • i would just like to say that ever since my first systematic theology class (which was my first seminary class EVER), i have a strong dislike for the word 'prolegomena.' that doesn't come from your post so much as "the stiko's" comment. but still, i'm just saying. 🙂

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