On “Publish or Perish!”: A Brief, Positive Reading

If you have heard the mantra “publish or perish!”, it was probably in a context which intended to invoke a sense of negativity concerning some form of academia—at least this has been my experience.  I, however, think that one should consider a positive reading of the maxim. “Publish or perish” is not a mere injunction demanding prodigious output, polemical rhetoric, or simply for the sake of institutional posterity; rather, “publish or perish” is an invitation to discourse within particular communities of distinctly intellectual (but not merely intellectual) individuals that are engaged in (and demand) conceptual rigorousness—this is, of course, simplifying the matter.  That is also to say, “publish or perish” should be read as an injunction for continued evaluative involvement in a particular community; a commitment of the individual academician to be involved in critical discourse with one’s colleagues.

Perhaps we could find some corresponding maxim in Christian communities. Thus, one cannot make dogmatic statements ubiquitously without critical discourse or communal evaluation—this [i.e., rigid dogmatism] is indubitably present (in some form) in most Christian (esp. evangelical-type) communities. Rather than avoiding all critical discourse as anathema, communities should demand (or if you like soft language: encourage) constant, rigorous discourse.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: