Some two years ago the first volume of the heathen journal saw the light of day. The introduction of volume one said: “What this means specifically is that we seek to encourage the development and assist in the promulgation of rational inquiry into Heathenry as expressed in the domains of Philosophy, Theology, Psychology, Sociology, Antropology, and other disciplines generally included under the umbrella of Religious Studies.” (p. ix). Yet: “[…] we are not solely interested in soliciting essays and dissertations of an academic nature. The Heathen community is not comprised entirely of scholars, and nor is Heathen thought uniformly scholastic in nature.” (p. xi) So, I (non-academic) submitted a text and wrote one on request. Both were declined just before volume II went to the printer. The reason? Writing style. This time the editorial preface states: “What we need from our readership is the same kind of scholarly analyses of Heathen doxa and praxes that have been presented in the journal so far.” (p. ix) So it seems that JOCHT has become an academic publication afterall. True, in such a publication, there is no place for me. I would write nothing like:
“Yet, without the intentional development of the seed-ideas that the faith of our ancestors presents us, we will remain locked into either a primitivist understanding of Heathenry as a static, historical relic, incapable of doxic development, or continue down the path of libertarian fragmentation where everyones believes what they want to believe and deal with the contradictory beliefs of others not by attempting to determine which theology is true, but by resorting to an epistomologically relativistic theological framework in which it is socially unacceptable for a theologian to publicly claim his position to be correct for fear that others might find his “dogmatism” unacceptable.”
I agree with editor Plaisance’s remark quoted from his “epistle to the heathen” added to his 80-page dissertation about “the emerging hierarchy”, but how big do the editors think the academic heathen community really it? Will such essays not scare away the average, but read, pagan who, either or not, manages to plough through the academic literature in his studies, with this way-too-learned-sounding way of writing? Should an academic not be able to write something that other people might understand as well, not only his/her fellow academics? If this is the path that this journal will take, I think it will overshoot it’s goal and limit it’s audience.
But, I ploughed through JOCHT II, so let us have a look at it.