Kevin Wilson of BlueCord.org has contact a few of us and is calling for more contributors to a book project on Blogging the Bible. Although I am down for “Blogging for Scholarly Writing” (i.e., will it help one get tenure?) I am also intriqued with idea that blogging has, in a way returned us to an earlier era when rabbis, clerics, and academics would collaborate far more freely, in spite of the physical challenges of carrying on such conversations over great distances. (The “Blogging as Discourse between Scholars: A Talmudic Approach to Scholarship” category below is getting at this, I think.)
In the last 150 years or so I think the emphasis has been upon individual insight and creativity (in order to gain tenure, there it is again!) rather than on being a part of a tradition and community. The responsa literature of the rabbinic age (that continues today), for example, grew out of a desire to understand the historical and communal reading of texts and practices. It is a bit of a paradox, as I understand it. In this earlier era of which I speak the church and the rabbinate had far more influence and so “originality” was not a goal in and of itself and, let’s be honest, was in fact discouraged. The result was that scholars of the day would work more collectively, sharing ideas and readings so that it was not a single voice but the community that would put forward interpretations. There were always notable exceptions and strident, singular voices of course.
In more recent times, and here I speak of the humanities since scientists and other disciplines must collaborate in order to be sucessful (have you ever seen how many authors are on their papers?!), the push towards “original scholarship” means that we are pushed into a situation where we survey other scholars’ work in order to make sure our bibliography and footnotes are complete (and to make sure someone didn’t pip us to the post) rather than to pick one anothers’ mind. Conferences have always offered, for me, that rare exception. But even then I have been given the “advice” to only present completed research lest someone else “steal” my idea. The Jesus Project that has garnered some unwelome attention latley, at least has at its heart the goal of bringing scholars together in a collaborative effort.
I think blogs are changing this. A few of us have not only begun to post thoughts about events as they transpire (Charlesworth Genesis text, the Nebo-Sarsekim Tablet) but also to post works in progress, inviting feedback and contributions to their research. I find this envigorating, even if I am an irregular contributor to the conversation.
So I look forward to more discussion and seeing what we all have to say about Blogging the Bible!
This post is a call for contribution for a new book to be entitled Blogging the Bible: Scholars, Scriptures, and New Media (or something to that effect). The book is intended to explore questions related to blogging as an academic discipline.
The following essays have been proposed (authors who have already asked to write or are considering writing certain chapters are in parenthesis):
- Blogging as Academic Activity (Kevin A. Wilson)
- Blogging as Scholarly Writing (Christian Brady)
- The Weird and the Wonderful: Blog Carnivals and Tangential Topics (Tyler F. Williams)
- Beyond the Academy: Blogging for a Popular Audience
- Blogging as Review (Chris Heard)
- Blogging the Breaking News
- Blogging as Discourse between Scholars: A Talmudic Approach to Scholarship
- Blogging Off Topic: Letting the Personality of the Professor Come Through
- Blogging Every Day: Academic Writing as a Way of Life
These are obviously not the only topics that could be covered. Anyone is free to suggestion new topics, especially if it is a topic you are interested in writing about. I want the process of writing this book to reflect the blogging ethos, so I expect this book to evolve and grow through conversations.
Contributors should meet the following qualifications:
- Ph.D. in biblical studies or a closely related field.
- Blog should be focused on the academic study of the Bible.
- Been blogging for at least a year with a significant number of posts.
The purpose of these guidelines is not to exclude people, but to ensure that the contributors are scholars who have significant experience with what it means to blog on the Bible.
If you would like to be a contributor, please let me know. I can be contacted at my e-mail address. Questions, comments, and suggestions are welcome via e-mail as well.
(Via Blue Cord.)