Saturday, January 19, 2008

John Nolland on the Writing of Commentaries VI

Insight #6: No commentator is an island. Novelty must not be pursued for its own ends.

There are tendencies in scholarship in the humanities for novelty to be pursued for its own sake; for boredom to set in not because the fruitfulness of a method has been exhausted, but simply because it has been around for some time; for novelty to be valued for its own sake, and confused with creativity. We can always improve old answers, but we should be much more cautious about totally disregarding or overturning existing answers. (309; italics mine)

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