My blog posts revolve around my interests and vocation as a historian: the intersection of history and contemporary church life, the intersection of history and contemporary politics, serendipitous discoveries in archives or on research trips, publications and research projects, upcoming conferences, and speaking engagements.
I also blog for two other organizations, the Canadian Baptist Historical Society and the Centre for Post-Christendom Studies.
The views expressed in these blogs represent the views of the authors, and not necessarily those of any organizations with which they are associated.
I have been a professor for over two decades but the nagging sense of being an imposter still hovers around and within. In my recent reading I came across a few brief comments by authors from the world of long ago who would seem to be able to relate.
The following authors revealed that they wrote with one eye on how their work would be received, and it seems that they were not entirely convinced that their readership would be impressed with the final product. In their comments we get a glimpse of the person holding the pen, a human with the range of emotions that all authors know too well. I share their comments here to remind those of us who experience an imposter syndrome that we are not alone, and have not been alone for millennia.
“If my book is cleverly organized and well-written, that’s what I tried to do. If the book is only average or poorly written, that’s the best I could do. Drinking only wine or only water can make a person sick. But when wine and water are mixed together, a sweet and pleasant flavor is produced. In the same way, a book that is cleverly organized with interesting stories pleases those who read it. This is the end of my book.”
“Therefore, although I thought of writing long ago, I feared the censure of men, because I had not learned as the others who studied the sacred writings in the best way, and have never changed their language since their childhood, but continually learned it more perfectly, while I have to translate my words and speech into a foreign language…Therefore I blush today and greatly dread to expose my ignorance, because I am not able to express myself briefly, with clear and well-arranged words, as the spirit desires and the mind and intellect point out.”
He then consoled himself with the conviction that a pure heart was more important than eloquence: “how much more ought we to undertake this who are the epistle of Christ for salvation unto the ends of the earth, written in pure heart, if not with eloquence, yet, with power and endurance.”
“So I humbly beg the reader, if he finds anything other than the truth set down in what I have written, not to impute it to me. For, in accordance with the principles of true history, I have simply sought to commit to writing what I have collected from common report, for the instruction of posterity.”