Mark Goodacre's recent post about his first day of teaching a class on the New Testament this term has brought up a question that I've asked myself so many times: how do professors separate faith from the classroom? I don't mean to ask this in the sense that I think it's impossible, I've dialogued with people about the NT numerous times without having to resort to even talking about faith or my own personal beliefs (although I'm sure it creeps through without me knowing it). Is it ever appropriate for a professor to divulge his own beliefs on the matter, though? I know if you take Bart Ehrman's NT course at the University of North Carolina, he is extremely vocal about what he thinks. Does that unnecessarily bias the students towards your belief? I think it does. The professor is such an icon in our world. He is the supposed guarantor of all knowledge in his field, an expert among experts. If he believes it, it must be true!
As someone who wants to be a professor, my idea is that I want to keep my students guessing. I want them to have zero clue where I stand on the matter because I want to have as little influence over them as possible. My big revelation over the last few years has been that there's too much indoctrination (in almost every field) in universities today. Students end up being fundamentalists, able to rattle off the professor's arguments for whatever stance. My hope for myself is that when I finally get around to teaching (sometime in the year 3056, I think) is that I'll be able to discuss Bultmann, Sanders, Wright, Black, Robinson, Tilling (oh yes, he'll be famous by then), Goodacre, etc without my students knowing which parts I agree with and which I don't. Is this sound pedagogy? Is it possible?