"I think maybe these two texts share a connection."
"I don't see it."
"Well, let me tell you why. A. Because of..."
"No. No. No. You just have parallelomania!"
It's not the process of parallelomania that I dislike but rather the term itself. It is not helpful and is dismissive in its nature. What has inspired this little, off the cuff rant? James McGrath's latest blog post about Tom Brodie's work (click here) throws out that word I hear more and more of. I dislike it because it is little more that name calling and is just bad scholarship. It is one thing to disagree with someone's research - that is perfectly fine and any scholar worth his/her salt should thrive on constructive criticism. Throwing around the term parallelomania is not constructive criticism. It is dismissive. If you disagree then take apart the other person's argument. This is not a pop at McGrath - his post was merely the catalyst for this post. I enjoy his blog and work immensely and agree with much he has to say.
Yes, Brodie goes too far in some of his claims. I'm all for connections between texts and I truly believe we have only hit the tip of the iceberg in terms of what connections there are but Brodie does push it at times. But this can be argued against quite convincingly without having to start throwing around unproductive terms which trivialises another's work. Come on scholarship - we can do better than that.