Oxford University is probing claims that one of its academics sold ancient fragments of Bible from a charity’s archive to a US company. Classics professor Dirk Obbink has been accused by the Egypt Exploration Society (EES) of selling 11 pieces from its Oxyrhynchus Collection. The items – held at the…
There is an unexamined notion that university professors are “decent” people worthy of respect. That may be the case for most professors – people who enjoy learning, teaching and cultivating talent – but certainly not for all.
This guy must have been the cream of the crop if he was at Oxford. His alleged crimes are not too heinous. But can you imagine what some desperate, second-rate scholar at a backwater university might do to supplant his or her income?
A second-rate professor wouldn’t be good enough to have direct access to ancient fragments like this guy. So they’d have to come up with something more ‘creative’ to feather their nest if they chose to go into a life of crime.
As if a professor’s salary is not enough. How much money do we really need?
One professor I had allegedly said – so I heard through the academic grapevine – that “a university is a place where a professor gets a paycheck.”
Well, that’s true. But is that all?
What about the love of learning and spreading that enthusiasm to eager and capable students?
For too long some professors have hidden behind our social approbation of their vocation. It’s time to question the “good professor” image and see these folks for what they truly are: People just like you and me, subject to temptation and vice or, if they so choose, goodness and grace.