scholars and scholarship

This one gets filed under "alcohol" for one simple reason: it's part of the larger question of what is and what ought to govern our thinking -- particularly Southern baptist thinking -- on the topic of alcohol and its use or uses.

Peter Lumpkins has dropped by in the meta, and has labelled the work of Eliphalet Nott "scholarship" on the subject of "temperance", by which they both mean "prohibition". That's an interesting opinion, and I think it deserves some working out.

Dr. Nott was, in fact, a scholar. He tested out to receive his Master's Degree without needing to complete the coursework, and ultimately earned a doctorate. He spent almost his entire adult life in the service to adacemia, and for that he is to be applauded. That is a great reason to call him a "scholar"

However, the lecture series from which the arguments we have seen from Mr. Lumpkins have been drawn were not academic lectures -- that is, they were not delivered as "scholarship" per se, subject to peer review. They certainly implement a wide variety of information, they implement an expositional style intended to persuade the listener, and they are somewhat tenacious regarding the point they are trying to make.

But in that, they were delivered in temperance lectures -- the 19th century equivalent of appearing on an info-tainment show like 20/20 which people attended for populist, civic-minded entertainment and information. In that, it's reported on page 190 of Dr. Nott's memoirs:
[His scriptural argument] is presented in two or three lectures, out of a course of ten which he delivered in Schenectady, in1838, 1839, and repeated in other places. … As to the postulate concerning the good and bad wine of the Bible, it need only be said that by the majority of Biblical critics the argument is not now held to be conclusive. He never claimed to be a Hebrew scholar ...[Memoirs, C. Van Santvoord, ed., 1876]
Dr. Nott was a scholar, and he held opinions which, frankly, he was entitled to. The unfortunate fact is that his lectures where these arguments are made are not "scholarly" lectures but in fact "popular" lectures, and should not be represented as holding some kind of endorsement of academic credibility.

Not any more or less, at any rate, than blogs are held in such repute today.