Roland Boer’s Typology of Scholars, The Poetry Section in Theology Today, and “The Nephilim” (a poem in Theology Today)

If you haven’t yet discovered the highly entertaining, satirical series of blog posts “A Typology of Scholars” by that gleeful gadfly and Calvinist Marxist Roland Boer, it’s well worth a look. Check out The EncyclopaedistThe ScientistThe Unnoticed GeniusThe Put-DownerThe Self-SellerBig Fish in a Slimy PondThe SnobThe ColonialistThe PoliticianThe Lord of the ManorThe BorrowerThe Turbo-Prof, The Thin-SkinnedThe Best FriendBitter and TwistedThe Intellectual Hit-manThe Legendary PisspotThe Name-DropperThe One in the Position of Superior KnowledgeThe Chardonnay SocialistDoceo, ergo predicaboThe Petty-Bourgeois Life-StylerThe Businessman, The Onion-Grower, The SeducerThe Grantsman, and The Wordsmith.

In his latest post, Roland (for we’re on first-name basis) discusses The Wordsmith, the scholar who vents their frustration at never becoming the novelist or poet they think they could be, by penning “literary flourishes in articles and books”. Like most of his other caricatures, my good friend Roland’s description of The Wordsmith is amusingly accurate – although, naturally, bearing no resemblance to any particular scholar living or dead. His description of The Wordsmith also reminded me of a curious feature in the comical, yet purportedly scholarly journal, Theology Today, known as the “Poetry” section. I sincerely recommend that section to any budding Wordsmith – as an antidote to their misguided desire to punctuate their scholarly prose with rhetorical flourishes and mellifluous sesquipedalianisms.

And to bring the discussion back to giants, here is one such poem, by “a retired college teacher and recently ordained Episcopal priest”, George Slanger (Theology Today 59.4 (January 2003): 620):

The Nephilim: Genesis 6:4

Just before the flood, the gods saw pretty
girls walking in the land, and summoned
them. And every pretty girl, thinking
mostly of what advantage she might give
her offspring, and not primarily of her own
pleasure (though not unaware of those hard
thighs and square pectorals), answered.

Of those deific couplings came
the mighty men that were of old,
the men of renown, the ones who went
bad in the usual sequence:
their imaginations first,
then thought, then finally their hearts.

When the rain had fallen thirty days,
and when those pretty girls, now grown old
and sheathed in cellulite, were weak
with paddling, they would not repent
but held hands and drowned in blissful
remembrance of what it was like
to be touched by a god in a private place.

Inestimably creepy.


4 thoughts on “Roland Boer’s Typology of Scholars, The Poetry Section in Theology Today, and “The Nephilim” (a poem in Theology Today)

  1. OMG!! This seriously reads like really bad fourth form (Year 10) boys’ school poetry!!! There is so much to critique here on so many levels … But I bet more than one Theology scholar got off on it all the same … Perhaps Theology is the Playboy of the theological world?? “I only read it for the articles” YEAH RIGHT!!


  2. Ageing men? Check. Dedicated to God? Check. Writing about things biblical in a way that makes one think, ‘Y’know, I think something else might be going on here’? Check, check and CHECK! A proud tradition!

    ‘When I was still young, before I had gone astray, I searched for her. She came to me in her beauty, and up to the end I kept investigating her. Even when the blossom falls, when the grapes are ripening, they make the heart happy. My foot tread on a straight path, for since my youth I have known her…I became ablaze for her, I could not av[e]rt my face. I stirred my soul for her and on her height I was not calm. “My hand” opened […] her nakedness I inspected. I cleansed “my hand”…’ (11Q5 11, 21:11-18)


    • Yup. And from the same “community” of aging men … in the Genesis Apocryphon, Lamech (Noah’s Dad) is worried that Noah’s conception may be the result of his wife Bitenosh sleeping with Watchers, perhaps because Noah looked like a Giant. Then his wife convinces him that he’s the man, by recalling how the child Noah not only was the result of Lamech’s love-making, but how he had made her come really powerfully on that occasion:

      “Remember my pleasure … the time of love, the gasping of my breath in my breast … Remember my pleasure. I swear to you by the Great Holy One, by the King of the heavens … that this seed comes from you, that this pregnancy comes from you, that the planting of this fruit comes from you and not from any foreigner or watcher or son of heaven.” (Col ii; 9, 13-16)

      The virility of aging men affirmed in rewritten bible!


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