On The Oddities of Scholarship

There is a world--I do not say a world in which all scholars live but one at any rate into which all of them sometimes stray, and which some of them seem permanently to inhabit--which is not the world in which I live. In my world, if The Times and The Telegraph both tell one story in sommewhat different terms, nobody concludes that one of them must have copied the other, nor that the variations in the story have some esoteric significance. But in the world of which I am speaking this would be taken for granted. There, no story is ever derived from facts but always from somebody else's version of the same story. ... In my world, almost every book, except some of those produced by Government departments, is written by one author. In that world almost every book is produced by a committee, and some of them by a whole series of committees. In my world, if I read that Mr. Churchill, in 1935, said that Europe was heading for a disastrous war, I applaud his foresight. In that world, no prophecy, however vaguely worded, is ever made except after the event. In my world we say, 'The first world-war took place in 1914-1918.' In that world they say, 'The world-war narrative took shape in the third decade of the twentieth century.' In my world men and women live for considerable time--seventy, eighty, even a hundred years--and they are equipped with a thing called memory. In that world (it would appear) they come into being, write a book, and forthwith perish, all in a flash, and it is noted of them with astonishment that they 'preserve traces of primitive tradition' about things which happened well within their own adult lifetime."

source: A. H. N. Green-Armytage, John Who Saw (1952), quoted in D. A. Carson's commentary on John, p 50. tags: Apologetics, Scholarship