Thursday, December 30, 2010

What is Realism? Ben XVI's Perspective


What is realism? Some would say it was an artistic movement of the nineteenth century, a good example of which is the painting at right.

For others, "realism" is almost synonymous with "pessimism" or "cynicism." So a realist is the person who says the glass is half empty.

One of my favorite lines from the Pope's Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini is the following:

"The Word of God makes us change our concept of realism: the realist is the one who recognizes in the Word of God the foundation of all things" (§10).

As we continue to celebrate the Octave of Christmas, reflecting on the Word made Flesh, may we all become Realists!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Sunny San Diego

Tomorrow's weather report--some random sampling:

New York: 27°F | 21°F
Pittsburgh: 27°F | 21°F (with snow)
Boston: 30°F | 14°F (with snow)
Chicago: 24°F | 15°F
Washington, D.C.: 37°F | 26°F
Vermont 19°F | 4°F (with snow)
New Jersey: 30°F | 20°F (with snow)
Denver: 48°F | 27°F
New Orleans: 42°F | 32°F
San Diego: 64°F | 50°F (sunny with some clouds)

And, yes, I like a "white Christmas"--so long as it involves artificial snow.

I suspect the people stranded in airports trying to get home from their Christmas vacations but unable to do so because of weather may be feeling the same way. : )

Sunday, December 26, 2010

St. Stephen's Christ-like Holiness

Happy Feast of St. Stephen! Since Stephen is one of my favorite saints I couldn't let the day go by without posting something in his honor. In fact, we named our second son after him: Matthew Stephen. This is from my earlier series of posts (Part 1Part 2, Part 3) on the book of Acts:
. . . 

One of the most striking similarities between the narrative of Luke and the story of Acts is found in the account of what happens to one of the seven deacons appointed by the apostles, St. Stephen. Jesus had been arrested, made to stand trial, and was questioned by the high priest. He was accused by false witnesses who claimed that he had said he would destroy the temple. In then end, Jesus was of course executed. All of this also occurs to Stephen who is arrested, made to stand before the council, accused by false witnesses of claiming Jesus would destroy the temple, questioned by the high priest, and executed.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Thank You, Lord, for a Bishop Like This

Check out this video of Bishop Olmstead, responding to criticism for declaring officially what everyone had known for some time: the local Catholic hospital was not really Catholic:

Good Advice on Surviving Christmas

Florine Church shares a link to a good article on surviving the rigors of Christmas. Check it out and enjoy!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Catholic Saint on the Importance of Scripture


The Pope's recent apostolic exhortation, Verbum Domini, (through which I am reading, albeit slowly), reminds me of how frequently the popes, the fathers, the doctors, and the saints have urged us Catholics to read and reflect on Scripture--and how sluggish our response has been!

I know the stereotype is that Catholics aren't interested in Scripture. In many places and at many times the stereotype holds true. I would add that many Protestants are also not interested in Scripture, but the point at present is not to argue apologetics. My point at present is that, if Catholics are not interested in Scripture, it is not from a lack of exhortation from the most authoritative representatives of the faith.

St. Josemaria Escriva, a recently canonized saint, is a good example of the reverence for Scripture that lies at the heart of the faith:

“When you open the Holy Gospel," St. Josemaria wrote, “think that what is written there—the words and deeds of Christ—is something that you should not only know, but live. Everything, every point that is told there, has been gathered, detail-by-detail, for you to make it come alive in the individual circumstances of your life.

“God has called us Catholics to follow him closely. In that holy Writing you will find the Life of Jesus, but you should also find your own life there.

“You too, like the Apostle, will learn to ask, full of love, ‘Lord, what would you have me do?’ And in your soul you will hear the conclusive answer, ‘The Will of God!’

“Take up the Gospel every day, then, and read it and live it as a definite rule. This is what the saints have done” (The Forge, §754).

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tertullian on Baptism and the Ordination of Aaron

Tertullian.jpg
33 years ago today I was baptized. In honor of that here's a great quote from Tertullian (c. A.D. 160-220) on baptism, in which he links the Christian sacrament to the rites of Aaron and the priests in the Old Testament:
After this, when we have issued from the font, we are thoroughly anointed with a blessed unction [i.e., "oil"],—(a practice derived) from the old discipline, wherein on entering the priesthood, men were wont to be anointed with oil from a horn, ever since Aaron was anointed by Moses. Whence Aaron is called “Christ,” from the “chrism,” which is “the unction"; which, when made spiritual, furnished an appropriate name to the Lord, because He was “anointed” with the Spirit by God the Father; as written in the Acts: “For truly they were gathered together in this city against Thy Holy Son whom Thou hast anointed.” Thus, too, in our case, the unction runs carnally, (i.e. on the body,) but profits spiritually; in the same way as the act of baptism itself too is carnal, in that we are plunged in water, but the effect spiritual, in that we are freed from sins (On Baptism, vii).

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ruth and Advent


The Book of Ruth is rarely mentioned during Advent, but it makes for good Advent meditation.

There are obvious connections between Ruth and the Christmas story. Both Bo'az and Ruth are mentioned in Jesus' genealogy in Matthew 1. Outside of Matthew and Luke, only in Ruth do we have a story about a pious young Jewish couple having their firstborn son in Bethlehem.

When we read Ruth in light of all the Scriptures, we see in Bo’az a clear type, or image, of Jesus Christ. Jesus is truly our “Bo’az,” which means in Hebrew “in him is strength.” Jesus is our go’el, our Redeemer, which is what Ruth calls Bo’az in 3:9 (blandly rendered “next of kin” in the RSV). Jesus is the one who feeds us with bread and wine until we are satisfied (as Bo’az does for Ruth in 2:14) and even have an abundance to share with others (again see Ruth 2:14, and compare The Feeding of the 5000, John 6:11-13, 35). Jesus is the one who espouses himself to us (John 3:29; Eph 5:25-32), though we are poor and hungry (Matt 5:3,6), and not even of the race of Israel (Eph 2:11-13, 19-22). In Ruth 2:12, Bo’az invokes the LORD to bless Ruth since she has come under the LORD’s “wings” (Heb kanaphim); in Ruth 3:9, Ruth literally says to Bo’az, “Spread the wing (kanaph) of your garment over me.” The LORD’s “wing” becomes Bo’az’s “wing.” Bo’az becomes to Ruth the concrete manifestation of the LORD’s mercy, strength, protection, and love. This is also what Jesus is to us, the Church, in the New Covenant.


Marriage is not a human invention and cannot be redefined by human beings. Marriage is an natural icon designed by God to represent his covenant with his people. For that reason, marriage is a prominent theme throughout the Bible and salvation history, from the first marriage of Adam and Eve (Gen 2:21-24) to the Wedding of the Lamb (Rev 21-22). Pope Benedict XVI remarks, “Biblical revelation, in fact, is above all the expression of a story of love, the story of the covenant of God with man; therefore the story of the love and union between a man and a woman in the covenant of marriage was able to be assumed by God as a symbol of the history of salvation” (Address, 6 June 2005). Ruth is one of the best examples in Scripture in which a story of courtship and marriage typifies God’s plan of salvation.


The Messianic reading of the book of Ruth is not uniquely Christian. In conversations with Brant last night, he pointed out that the rabbinic tradition was strongly given to a Messianic interpretation of Ruth. In particular, Ruth 2:14, which has such Eucharistic overtones for Christian ears, was understood by the rabbis as a reference to the Messianic banquet!


I hope to teach on Ruth and on the birth of Jesus at Bethlehem in about five months! I’m helping lead a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Everyone is invited! Here’s the specifics if you want to come: http://www.holytravels.org/journeys.html . You'll have to scroll down a little to find my pilgrimage.

Aquinas on the Word of Creation and Redemption

“Whoever makes anything by understanding does his work by mentally conceiving the form of the thing to be done. For example, the house constructed of matter is built by the builder by means of the plan (‘rationale’) for this house, as he conceives it in his mind. God produces things in being not through a necessity of his nature, but intelligently and voluntarily. Therefore, God made all things by His Word, which is the rationale of things made by Him. This is why St. John says, All things were made by him [Jn 1:3]. In agreement with this, Moses describes the origin of the world by using such a manner of speech for the single works: God said ‘let there be light,’ and light was made . . . God said: Let there be a firmament made [Gen 1:1–3], and so of the rest. All of which the Psalmist includes, saying, He spoke and they were made [Ps. 148:5]. Thus, therefore, one must understand that God spoke and they were made because He articulated his Word, by which he produced things in being as through their perfect rationale.”[1]

Safire's Satirical Grammatical Rules

This week, as I finish grading papers, I am reminded once again of William Safire’s helpful satirical survey of grammatical rules.[1] I have incorporated these into a file all students have access to, “Guidelines for Writing Papers at JP Catholic.” I love this.

Note carefully that each of the following breaks the rule it describes. 
  1. Avoid run-on sentences they are hard to read.
  2. Don't use no double negatives.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Sacred Page Makes A Different Top Blogger List

Yes, thanks to Jeremy Thompson, every month the list of the top fifty biblioblogs comes out and, invariably, TheSacredPage.com makes the cut.

Now we're being mentioned on another list: the top 50 blogs written by professors of Theology, Biblical studies and other related fields, i.e., Religious Studies. The list has been compiled by Rachel Stevenson over at Master of Theology, a site intended to help people learn about grad programs. Check it out.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Mary's Visit to Elizabeth, Ark Imagery & the Fathers

Patristic sources often link Mary, the mother of Jesus, to ark of the covenant imagery. Where did this tradition originate? At first glance, it might be suspected that such language is merely the result of reckless allegorization. After all, the New Testament never links Mary with the ark . . . right?

Here I want to make the case that the imagery of Mary as ark can be found in Luke’s Gospel. In particular, I want to look at a story relevant to the Christmas season: Luke's account of the Visitation, i.e., Mary's visit to Elizabeth. The story is rich in Old Testament echoes. As we shall see, it seems the fathers were much more careful readers of the New Testament than is often realized. This should raise a few eyebrows. Please let me know what you think in the com-box.

Mary as the Ark of the Covenant in Patristic Sources

First, let me establish the assertion I made above, namely, that patristic writers linked Mary with the ark. A few citations will do. Note that this is by no means an exhaustive survey.

Hippolytus (c. a.d. 170–c. a.d. 236):  “At that time, the Savior coming from the Virgin, the Ark, brought forth His own body into the world from that Ark, which was gilded with pure gold within by the Word, and without by the Holy Ghost; so that the truth was shown forth, and the Ark was manifested....And the Savior came into the world bearing the incorruptible Ark, that is to say His own body” [Dan .vi].

Daniel 7 Parallels in Revelation 4-5

Mike Bird just posted on the parallels between Revelation 4-5, which highlight Jesus' divinity in the Apocalypse. Following up on that we might also note several parallels between these two chapters and Daniel 7:

1.    introductory vision phraseology (Dan. 7:9 [cf. Dan. 7:2, 6-7]; Rev. 4:1)
2.    a throne(s) set in heaven (Dan. 7:9; Rev. 4:2, 9)
3.    God is sitting on a throne (Dan. 7:9; Rev. 4:2)
4.    God’s appearance on the throne is described (Dan. 7:9; Rev. 4:3)
5.    there is fire before the throne (Dan. 7:9-10; Rev. 4:5)
6.    servants surround the throne (Dan. 7:10; Rev. 4:4; 6-10; 5:8, 11, 14)
7.    sea imagery is found in both chapters (Dan. 7:2-3; Rev. 4:6). 
8.    book(s) are before the throne (Dan. 7:10; Rev. 5:1ff)
9.    the book(s) opened (Dan. 7:10; Rev. 5:2-5, 9)
10. a divine / messianic figure approaches God’s throne to receive authority to reign forever over a kingdom (Dan. 7:13-14; Rev. 5:5-7, 9, 12-13)
11. the kingdom’s scope is described as encompassing “all peoples, nations, and tongues” (Dan. 7:14; Rev. 5:9)
12. the seer undergoes emotional distress on account of the vision (Dan 7:15; Rev. 5:4)
13. the seer receives heavenly counsel concerning the vision from one of the heavenly servants (Dan. 7:16; Rev. 5:5)
14. The saints are given divine authority to reign over a kingdom (Dan. 7:18, 22, 27; Rev. 5:10)
15. there is a concluding mention of God’s eternal reign (Dan. 7:27; Rev. 5:13-14).[1]


[1] Adapted from G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation (NIGTC; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998), 314-15.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sola Scriptura: Is it taught in Scripture?


It's an interesting question to ask whether the Reformation principle of Sola Scriptura is actually taught in Scripture.

When I have posed this question to people, the verse that is most frequently cited is 2 Timothy 3:16:

2Tim. 3:16 All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

However, if one examines the verse carefully, it falls short of saying that Scripture is the only source for the content of the faith, etc. The best defense is probably to take the the Greek word for "profitable" (ophelimos) as "sufficient," reading the verse this way: "All scripture is ... sufficient for teaching, etc." However, that is a bit of a linguistic stretch.

So what do you think? What is the best Scriptural proof of Sola Scriptura?

P.S. Michael, how did the Leviticus talks go?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Life on the Rock Interview

Here's the Life on the Rock episode. I don't come on until about 8 minutes into the show:


Jesus' Answer to the Disciples of John & the Dead Sea Scrolls (Sunday's Reading)

Picture: A Photo of 4Q521

This Sunday's Gospel is taken from Matthew 11:2-6. In fact, this passage has an interesting parallel in the Dead Sea Scrolls that sheds some fascinating light on Jesus' words. Let me explain.

First, let's look at the Gospel text:
"Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples 3 and said to him, “Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?” 4 And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5 the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them."
In sum, the disciples of John ask Jesus if he is the Messiah. Jesus responds by appealing to his miracles.

Moreover, most scholars recognize that Jesus' answer draws from two passages in Isaiah:

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Join Me This Sunday: Understanding Leviticus

This Sunday I will be leading a special study on the Book of Leviticus. That's not a joke. Yes, Leviticus! You may think this book is irrelevant to Christians. . . if so, you're wrong!

Come learn about:
  • . . . all the gory details of the sacrificial laws--and why they are significant!  
  • . . . Israel's the purity laws, e.g., what was "holy," "common," "clean" and "unclean,".  How did Jewish and Christian writers interpret these laws? Why don't these laws apply in the New Covenant?
  • . . . the major Jewish feasts, such as the Day of Atonement. How are these feasts fulfilled in Christ according to the New Testament?
  • . . . how priests ate holy meals that were related to atonement and how the New Testament seems to link these meals to the Eucharist.
  • . . . and much, much more!
Leviticus may seem like an unimportant book for Christians. I hope to disabuse people of that mentality.

We will also be treated to the celebration of the Divine Liturgy in Syriac (Aramaic) according to the Melkite Catholic rite @ 11:30am. This is an ancient form of the Mass.

Among other things, after the Eucharist, I will talk about the connection between the divine liturgy and Old Testament rites. Hint: in the Divine Liturgy you will find priests wearing vestments, altars, incense, candles, bread, wine. . . are you seeing any possible connections here?

Where: Sacred Heart Chapel, Covina (381 W. Center St., Covina, CA 91723)
When: Begins at 9am. Divine Liturgy at 11:30am. Sessions resume after lunch @ 1:30pm. We will finish at 3pm.
For more information call: 1-800-526-2151.

The History of the Doctrine of Mary's Immaculate Conception

Mark Shea is a fantastic Catholic author who has put out a number of popular-level books on the Catholic faith. Mark himself is a convert to Catholicism. And it wasn't an easy road for him to Rome. Suffice it to say, he essentially researched himself into the Catholic Church.

Today he discusses the Immaculate Conception, a Catholic doctrine that once seemed an impossible obstacle to communion with Rome. December 8th, of course, the Catholic Church celebrates this teaching about Mary. So I thought it appropriate to relay his post on the topic, which is an excerpt from his three volume work, Mary, Mother of the Son.
Even if you disagree with the doctrine, I'm sure you'll find his historical overview helpful.
What About the Eastern Orthodox Churches? 
. . . Some people have the notion the Eastern Orthodox Churches reject the Immaculate Conception because a few early Eastern Fathers (Origen, Basil, and John Chrysostom) expressed a couple of doubts about Mary's sinlessness. Origen thought that, during Christ's Passion, the sword that pierced Mary's soul was disbelief. Basil had the same notion. And John Chrysostom thought her guilty of ambition and pushiness in Matthew 12:46 (an incident we have already examined).

Keeping Your Finger on the Pulse of Biblical Scholarship (without spending money!)


Not everyone has institutional funds to cover expenses for conferences like the Society of Biblical Literature. If you are in that situation (e.g. a poor grad student or independent scholar), a great way to keep current on developments in biblical studies is simply to read the abstracts of the papers given every year at the SBL. If you find a paper that really intrigues you, search down the email of the scholar who presented it, and ask them for an electronic copy. Often they are willing to provide one. It’s easy to be intimidated by well-known scholars, especially during one’s student years, but most Bible scholars lead rather modest lives and feel flattered if anyone expresses interest in their work. In any event, if you click on the title of this post, it will take you to the site from which you may view this year’s abstracts. It's useful to "select all" and copy the page into a Word doc. Since it’s electronic format, it’s searchable! That's a big improvement over the print editions which used to be distributed on site.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Hanukkah Song Becomes Internet Sensation

Some students at Yeshiva University have come up with a music video for Hanukkah that is now going viral. In only a couple of days the video has racked up over 2 million views.

The feast of Hanukkah, of course, celebrates the Jewish victory over the Greeks and is recounted in the books of Maccabees. I love this story. In fact, I just taught on the books of Maccabees today! It should go without saying that these amazing books are only found in Catholic Bibles.

So this might be a little confusing for some of you ought there. ; )



Monday, December 06, 2010

Was Joseph Really Suspicious of Mary? A Look at the Gospel Reading for Christmas Eve

On Christmas Eve, the Gospel reading is taken from Matthew 1. Here we read about the annunciation to Joseph. 
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit; 19 and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to send her away quietly. 20 But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; 21 she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:18–21).
Here's the question I want to deal with here: why does Matthew tell us that Joseph wanted to "send [Mary] away quietly"? 

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Christian Group Claims Jesus is Coming May 21, 2011!

Joel points out that one Christian group has put up billboards announcing that they have figured it all out--Jesus is coming May of next year. Really?

Here's the problem with such claims:
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.  36 But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. . .  42  Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the householder had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have watched and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect. (Matt 24:35-36, 42-44).

Friday, December 03, 2010

Ignatius of Antioch on the Eucharist

"I have no taste for corruptible food nor for the pleasures of this life. I desire the bread of God, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, who was of the seed of David; and for drink I desire his blood, which is love incorruptible" (Letter to the Romans 7:3 [A.D. 110]).

"Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God. . . .
They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes" (Letter to the Smyrnaeans 6:2–7:1 [A.D. 110]). 

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

What is Modernism?

Some may have seen this classic sequence before, but as long as we're in a jovial mood on the blog, I thought I'd post it. Although it's done by and for Anglicans, Catholics and other sorts of Protestants will recognize the Modernist approach to religion satirized here:

Academia Here I Come


H/T Jim West

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Michael Bird Old Spice Parody on the SBL Greek New Testament

This is hilarious! Here is my friend New Testament scholar Michael Bird doing a parody on commercials by Old Spice. Here he is speaking about the complimentary SBL Greek New Testament all participants received at last week's conference in Atlanta as s.w.a.g. And, yeah, it's pretty sweet. Try not to hurt yourself laughing...


Monday, November 29, 2010

No, The Bible Was Not The Result Of A Secret Conspiracy

Michael Bird tells us about an exciting new book: Charles E. Hill, Who Chose the Gospels? Probing the Great Conspiracy (Oxford: OUP, 2010).

Here's a blurb about it from the publisher:
"It is now widely said that the four Gospels rose to prominence only after a long battle within early Christianity, a battle finally won in the fourth century, after the establishment of the Church by Constantine the Great. In Who Chose the Gospels? Charles E. Hill demolishes this claim, providing a more historically accurate, alternative account of how the Church came to acknowledge four, and only four, narratives of the life of Jesus. Hill offers not only an informed critique of recent, overtly "political" readings of early Christian history, but also a more nuanced analysis of how and why, out of all the Gospels written in the early centuries of the Church, just these four "made it" into the Bible. In fact, the author shows that despite the profusion of Gospels, there was wide agreement among church leaders, in diverse regions of the empire, at least from the second century onward, as to the authority of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Thus it was not a conspiracy but common consensus that determined the books of the New Testament."

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Why I Want To Be "Left Behind": How Rapturists Misread Jesus' Words

Today's Gospel reading--"one is taken and one is left" (Matt 24:40-41)--is a locus classicus for those who believe that before the final judgment there will be a "rapture" of the righteous. However, to read the passage the way rapturists insist it should be read seems to wrench it out of context. Let me explain.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Podcast of my SBL Paper Presentation

Chris Brady (Targum Man) has kindly posted a podcast of my SBL paper presentation, "Weblogs and the Academy: The Benefits and Challenges of Biblioblogging" over at his site. You can also find the text of the paper here. Podcasts of the other presentations made at the blogger session are also going up on his blog. So far, audio recordings of the papers presented by Jim Davila and Chris Brady have been made available. To read the texts of the papers--which have been posted by each of the presenters on their sites--just click on the hyperlinks which Chris has helpfully added.

SBL Paper on Deuteronomy and Hittite Literature


Just adding on to what Michael said below, I thought the SBL was great. Hanging with Michael in Atlanta's cheapest hotel was awesome. I never knew he talked in his sleep. I learned a lot of really interesting stuff!

One of my favorite papers from the SBL was Joshua Bermann's comparison of Deut 13 with passages from Late Bronze Age (c. 14th-13th century BC) Hittite literature. (Click on the title of the post to see the full text.) I didn't know what to expect heading into the session, but Bermann made a really convincing case that Deuteronomy shared strong parallels with these ancient texts. Unfortunately, I'm afraid most scholars of biblical law are not going to know what to do with his data, because the view that Deuteronomy is a seventh-century BC text influenced by Assyrian literature is firmly entrenched in scholarship (and that's an understatement).

Friday, November 26, 2010

Highlights from the Society of Biblical Literature Meeting

Of course, if you've been reading this blog you know that last weekend I went to the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in Atlanta. This year I was invited to present a paper (see the post below). The conference was great and there were a number of highlights.

First and foremost, there was the time spent sitting around and talking theology with some of my favorite scholars--and closest friends!--from around the country. The dynamic was fantastic as always. Getting all these guys together in the same room for a chat is a rare treat--thankfully, we were able to make that happen. These guys are so productive.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving, the Prophets & the Eucharist


In honor of Thanksgiving, I thought I'd post on why Thanksgiving is central to the Church's Eucharistic theology--highlighting some ancient Jewish roots that are often overlooked.

The Prophets and Cultic Sacrifice in the Future Age
In the Old Testament it is clear that in the messianic / eschatological cultic offerings will not come to an end. To think otherwise would be to be profoundly “unJewish”.
One sacrifice especially linked with the future ingathering of Israel is the thank offering (or the tôdâ). The tôdâ was one of the peace-offerings.[1] Specifically, this category of sacrifice seems to be linked with the idea of deliverance; in fact, the LXX describes them as θυσίας σωτηρίου, a “sacrifice of salvation/deliverance” (cf. LXX Lev 7:11).



Wednesday, November 24, 2010

International Trade in the Days of Solomon?

At the Society of Biblical Literature annual convention, I like to hang out at the archeology sessions. One of the more interesting presentations this year was from an archeologist working in the land of Israel, who, among other things, had uncovered some tenth-century BC religious vessels. The vessels had incense residue in them, and upon testing, the incense had components in it native to Sri Lanka (apparently). That's quite an import in the tenth century BC. Further testing needs to be done to confirm this. *IF* confirmed, it's quite a discovery. Israel Finkelstein, for example, has been claiming that the report of the Queen of Sheba (southern Arabia) visiting Solomon is fictitious, because trade routes weren't that extensive in the time of David/Solomon.

Bob Cargill's SBL Paper

Bob Cargill has posted the text of his excellent SBL paper, "Instruction, Research and the Future of Online Educational Technologies." He does an excellent job explaining the way the world is going online, pointing out that the academy is being left behind. Here are a few excerpts:
"I’ll point you to this statistic: this year marked the first year that Amazon.com sold more e-books than it did printed books. If this stat is shocking to you, you probably work for a university. The world has transitioned to e-books, online journals, and handheld devices.

This leaves the academy, which is only now beginning to seriously ask the question: “what’s happening?”
. . .

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

SBL Paper: Weblogs and the Academy

Below is the text of my SBL paper, "Weblogs and the Academy: The Benefits and Challenges of Biblioblogging." Again, I would like to thank Bob Cargill for the invitation to present this paper. It was an honor to be included with the other presenters, who all did a fine job. James Davilla and Chris Brady have posted their papers on-line as well. I am going to support Brady's proposal.
_________________________________________________________________


“Weblogs and the Academy:
The Benefits and Challenges of Biblioblogging”
© Michael P. Barber, John Paul the Great Catholic University
2010 Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in Atlanta
S22-209 SBL Blogger and Online Publication Section




The title of this paper, “Weblogs and the Academy,” will rankle some who might make the case that the two words do not even belong in the same sentence.[1] It might seem that blogs have absolutely no real connection to serious scholarship. Blogs are not peer-reviewed. Obtaining one does not typically require any notable “academic” qualifications. Blog posts rarely bear evidence that their content is driven by careful research; they rarely contain footnotes. It is no wonder then that some are hesitant to recognize any authentic academic contribution made by the blogosphere. [2] In fact, concerns are probably not quelled by the monikers sometimes taken by bloggers: “Targum Man,” “Excavator,” “N.T. Wrong”. Names like these may seem more appropriate to a comic book convention than the academy. Yet here we are at the Society of Biblical Literature discussing blogging. Is a study unit on blogs at the SBL really appropriate?

Here I want to explain why I think it is. First, I will draw on peer-reviewed journal articles, which have examined the question of the scholarly value of blogging. Given the dearth of studies specifically dealing with the precise impact blogs have had in biblical scholarship, I will draw from works which have examined their use by academics working in other disciplines, namely, the fields of librarian studies, legal scholarship, and education. Second, I will draw on my own experience of interacting with the blogosphere while dissertating.[3] In the end, I hope to explain why I believe that, while blogging cannot in any way serve as a replacement for traditional forms of academic publishing, it remains a helpful tool in assisting research directed towards those arenas.

Hendricks’ Survey of Academic Librarians

As mentioned above, there have been very few peer-reviewed studies published dealing with the question of the academic value of weblogs. Earlier this year, the journal Educational Research published an article by Jeffrey Wee Sing Sim and Khe Foon, who explained that an exhaustive search of numerous digital databases for materials dealing with the use of blogs in higher-education produced only twenty-four results. These studies were carefully carried out and based upon empirical research, typically involving different forms of self-report data (e.g., surveys, interviews) or analyses of blog posts.[4]

A recent study worth looking at for our purposes was conducted by Arthur Hendricks. Hendricks’ study, “Bloggership or is publishing a blog scholarship?”, appeared in the journal, Library Hi Tech last year. In it he discusses the results of a survey conducted among sixty-seven tenure-track or tenured librarians working in institutions of higher learning.[5] 70% of these respondents held faculty positions. Although space prevents an in-depth analysis of his results and comparison with similar studies looking at the potential benefits of blogging for those in this field,[6] I will mention a few of his findings that I think are relevant to our discussion here.

First, respondents overwhelmingly agreed that review committees at their institutions would not place equivalent academic weight on publishing a blog as publishing an article in a respected journal. Only 1.5% of them in fact thought that their institutions would consider blogging of equal scholarly value. It is however perhaps interesting to note that 31.3% said they were unsure how to answer the question of how their institution would value blogging.[7]

Why were blogs viewed as having questionable academic merit? Hendricks reports that the most common reason cited was the lack of the “peer-review” process.[8] His results indicate that there seems to be a perception that research-based findings are unlikely to be found on blogs. As one respondent explained: “Hardly anyone posts a true scholarly paper on a blog (one that is supported by research, has a literature review, a research methodology, findings, conclusions, etc.).”[9]

However, what I found especially interesting was this: even many of those who identified blogs with scholarship recognized that their value differed from that of publications in peer-reviewed journals. One respondent explained:

“I’m not sure I would say [blogs are] ‘equal to peer reviewed journal[s]’ but as intellectually thoughtful, important, and influential? sometimes. They tend to be more in the formative stage, like a conference presentation rather than the lengthy, substantial, finished nature of a peer reviewed article.”[10]

Another stated:

“Although I stated yes above I need to clarify. I think that blogs point to information that is helpful and oftentimes provide a comment or summary about the finding. However, when I think of peer reviewed journal articles I think about research, time and budget concerns which I do not think ring true with the short time frame of a blog post. These are . . . research tools which . . . point the reader in the direction of information they may find helpful.”[11]

Thus, it seems that the “scholarly” value of blogs was not principally linked with their identity as blogs qua blogs. To recognize the blogosphere as having merit in academic research is not necessarily to claim then that blogs have the same worth as, say, peer-reviewed journals.

To sum up what Hendricks’ study revealed we might say that blogging was understood as beneficial in two capacities. First, blogs can help shape research through public discourse, i.e., in the public exchange of ideas researchers can better refine and polish their thought. Second, blogs can be of assistance in helping researchers identify sources they may have been overlooked. The immediate delivery nature of the blogosphere, which allows contributors to quickly post their thoughts, can therefore be of great assistance to researchers who are trying to keep current with their field. In fact, the benefits recognized by those in Hendricks’ survey of librarians have also noted by other studies.[12]

Furthermore, it is worth noting that Hendricks’ survey revealed two major factors related to the perception of the potential academic worth of blogging. Neither is really surprising. First, Hendricks demonstrated that, as one might expect, those who published blogs of their own were much more likely to identify scholarship with blogging than those who did not. A majority (57.1%) of those who were themselves bloggers said they found academic worth in other blogs. However, on the other hand, a majority (63.6%) of those who did not publish a blog said that they did not believe blogging should count as scholarship.[13] This suggests that engagement in the blogosphere enhances one’s view of its significance.

Second, the study also suggested that age was a major factor in respondents’ perceptions of the relative worth of blogging. Across the board younger librarians had a higher regard for the academic value of blogs than their older counterparts. What is interesting though is that Hendricks’ study only addressed asked about the value of weblogs to respondents who already blogged themselves.[14] In other words, only older individuals with blogs responded to the question. Specifically, Hendricks asked respondents whether they thought their own blogs should count as scholarly publications. The results were clear: despite their participation in the blogosphere older respondents were still less willing to link blogging to scholarship than younger ones. Specifically, he records his results:

Of those 22-30 years of age, 40.0 percent indicated that they thought their blog should count as scholarship, and of those 31-40 years of age, 27.3 percent thought their blog should count. None of those 41-50 years of age indicated that their blog should count as scholarship, and of those over 51, 12.5 percent considered their blog scholarly.”[15]

He concludes: “younger librarians are apparently more inclined to think of their blog as counting toward scholarship compared to their older colleagues.”[16]

Perhaps an even more significant revelation though in these findings not noted by Hendricks is that, according to his results it seems clear that differences in views regarding the scholarly worth of blogging were not simply eradicated by participation in it. It appears that there is a real generational gap in the understanding of the significance of the medium. In other words, regardless of whether or not older respondents engaged in blogging themselves, they were still less likely to view blogs as scholarly endeavors than younger respondents in the survey.

The Blogging Phenomenon in Legal Scholarship

Librarians, of course, are not the only ones recognizing important advantages to blogging. While perhaps there has been little discussion of the value of the blogosphere in publications in the field of biblical studies, the benefits of academic weblogs have been recognized more widely by scholars working in other disciplines.[17] In particular, the scholarly value of blogging has received increasing attention in the field of legal scholarship. For example, in 2006 a major conference on the subject was held at Harvard Law School. Here we cannot interact with all of the articles written on the subject of legal blogs. One important study worth highlighting though is Paul Carron’s 2006 article, “Are scholars better bloggers? Bloggership: How blogs are transforming legal scholarship.” This article was published in the Washington University Law Quarterly.[18] Although the piece is a few years old, it offers a comprehensive overview of different legal scholars’ opinions regarding blogging. While of course skeptics remain today, it seems clear that a growing number of legal scholars are discovering tremendous advantages in on-line self-publication.

For example, D. Gordon Smith has demonstrated the potential ways blogging can serve as a scholarly medium by looking at The Walt Disney Company Derivative Litigation.[19] In his piece, Smith identifies two benefits of blogging, which, we might point out, seem to mirror the views expressed by the academic librarians in Hendricks’ study. First, Smith argues that blogging can serve as a form of “pre-scholarship,” facilitating the development of ideas, which, he believes, can later take the form of traditional scholarship. Second, blogging contributes to the public dissemination of ideas. Specifically, he likens the medium to presenting papers at academic conferences or publishing an op-ed.[20]

Furthermore, Smith uses important language that I think is also worthy of attention. He employs the terminology of “bloggership”:

The term ‘bloggership’ in the title of this essay and conference is a useful neologism because it distinguishes this sort of scholarship from the traditional, long-form scholarship that appears in law reviews and scholarly journals and because it distinguishes blogging that has scholarly aspirations from other forms of blogging.”[21]

Smith here identifies three sorts of publication, making a distinction between traditional scholarship and two kinds of blogging, (1) blogging that has scholarly aspirations, and (2) other forms of blogging. This distinction is, I think, important and might be helpful for navigating the terrain of “biblioblogs” as I shall explain in a moment.

Education and Edublogs

Up until now we have talked primarily about blogs as a tool for academic research, i.e., as a means of both sharpening and sharing ideas. However, there is another aspect of the academic’s vocation, which we have not touched on: teaching. Indeed, a number of studies have been conducted exploring the advantages blogging has for academics in their capacity as instructors. Educators have begun to talk about the important benefits of “Edublogs,” particularly those written by students.[22] In particular, researchers have explained that blogging facilitates learning through supporting interpersonal interaction that fosters the kind of more careful reflection that is often not possible in the classroom. Alfred P. Rovai writes,

“The internet’s ability to promote text-based communication for the purpose of discourse can support the construction of knowledge, as learners formulate their ideas into words and builds on these ideas through responses from others. The opportunity for reflective interaction can be encouraged and supported, which is a feature not often demanded in traditional classroom setting where discussion is often spontaneous and lacks the reflection that is a characteristic of asynchronous online interactions.”[23]

Again, we see here a recognition that engagement in blogging helps individuals—in this case, students—develop ideas through interaction with others, a benefit we have already seen academics in other fields recognize.

Books and Biblioblogs

Turning from the general issue of academic blogging to the particular phenomenon of biblioblogs, I think upfront it should be noted that even if one believes that blogs themselves make no positive contribution to academic discourse, one could no longer deny that they have some sort of influence. This is true even if their impact remains minimal in nature. How can I make that claim? Simply visit some of the book tables in the exhibiters hall and you will find that many academic publishers are now listing not only the name of the university where an author teaches on the back of important monographs, they are now listing the names of their authors’ weblogs.[24] This marketing strategy highlights an important development. In choosing which books to purchase, and, thereby interact with, scholars are now apparently making selections informed—at least in part—by the phenomenon of blogging. As we all know, there are a plethora of resources available to scholars. Peer-reviewed journals are critical among them. However, important monographs are another such resource. Yet academic book publishers have figured out that in sifting through sources the mention of a weblog plays some kind of factor in the decision-process their consumers are making. In other words, it would seem that scholars are deciding which works to interact with at least in part by their knowledge of the blogosphere. In my opinion, this development itself has significant implications in understanding the state and shape of contemporary academic research, highlighting at least one reason one cannot simply dismiss blogs as irrelevant.

Benefits of the biblioblogosphere

Above we noted some of the principle advantages others have associated with academic blogging. To be more precise we might distinguish between the benefits blogs offer to those who themselves engage in the blogosphere and benefits available to those who simply follow blogs without writing one themselves. First, it seems clear that scholars are now using the blogosphere as part of the process of refining ideas that will later appear in more traditional scholarly sources. Rather than speaking for others, who may or may not want to admit this (I hereby others to offer examples of how they have done this on their own blogs), I will speak from my own experience.

This year I completed a massive Ph.D. thesis at Fuller Theological Seminary under Colin Brown, which ran about 800 pages and was entitled, “The Historical Jesus and Cultic Restoration Eschatology”.[25] The work attempts to fill in what I believe is a major lacuna in biblical scholarship, i.e., Jesus’ understanding of the cultic dimension of Jewish life as well as its role in the fulfillment of eschatological hopes.

The blogging experience was tremendously valuable for me as I worked out the ideas contained in the thesis. For example, as numerous others have noted, in biblical texts as well as extra-biblical literature David and his descendants have a particularly important connection with the cult: God’s oath to give David a kingdom is closely tied to David’s desire to build the temple (cf. 2 Sam 7; 1 Chr 17); David himself is described as performing cultic duties and assigns the future temple-duties to the Levites (cf. 1 Chr 15–16); Solomon, the Son of David, completes the temple-building project and dedicates it (cf. 1 Kgs 5–8; 2 Chr 3–7); the reforms of Hezekiah and Josiah are closely linked with the cult (cf. 2 Kgs 1:1–25; 2 Chr 29-31, 34-35); Ezekiel describes the eschatological Davidide as having cultic responsibilities (Ezek 45:17; cf. 46:6—15); Psalms of Solomon 17 seem to suggest a cultic role for the eschatological Davidide; etc. Given all of these traditions I began to think through the possible cultic aspirations possibly implied by Jesus’ Davidic identity. These ideas made their way into blog posts on my website, www.TheSacredPage.com.

From personal experience I can attest to the fact that the potential benefits of blogging discussed in the peer-reviewed journals mentioned above are real. Of course, I would echo the insistence of others that blogs are not really proper academic sources in and of themselves—I did not cite a single blog in my whole thesis. Nonetheless, blogs became an important academic resource for me as I conducted my research. For instance, above we spoke of the way blogging can help one identify important sources—I found this to be true. As I wrote on the historical Jesus I discovered how valuable blogs could be. Suffice it to say, there is significantly more literature out there about the historical Jesus than there is on the academic value of weblogs. Sifting through vast amounts of bibliographic data was a tremendous challenge. Scot McKnight may claim that historical Jesus research is dead[26] but it seems no one has alerted book publishers to this. They continue to release monographs on the subject at a dizzying speed. Identifying the most important recent works on the topic relevant to my project was a constant challenge. Simply staying on top of all the latest book releases was a challenge. Knowing which ones merited particular attention was sometimes hard to figure out. Reviews in journals were slow in coming and deadlines were fast approaching.

The blogosphere was a helpful resource in this regard. As new books were released, bloggers would almost immediately begin to post thoughts on them. In particular I paid close attention to blogging scholars who have credibility in the field to see which books they took notice of and interacted with on their sites. I also paid attention to their comment-boxes, which helped me get some idea of how books were being received. Recognizing which monographs were creating “buzz” was one helpful means of determining which titles I should pay especially close attention to myself.

Let me underscore here that the blogosphere was only one of many tools that I consulted—it did not replace more traditional resources such as reviews in academic journals. Nonetheless, it was still an important tool. The blogosphere helped me figure out the directions in which the field of historical Jesus research was moving. In a sense, it helped me keep my finger on the pulse of scholarship.

In addition, I discovered what others have already claimed to be true: blogging can help one develop ideas. As I blogged on issues related to my thesis, i.e., Jesus’ messianic identity in the Gospels, I was able to interact with other scholars who have done significant work in this area. Although I could mention numerous individuals, here let me simply identify two in particular: Michael Bird and Joel Willitts. Bird is an established scholar in his own right who has published significant works dealing with the historical Jesus, chief among them, Are You the One Who is to Come? The Historical Jesus and the Messianic Question.[27] Willitts has also published a number of important works, including a monograph on Jesus’ role as the Davidic messiah in the Gospels.[28] Bird is an Australian who now teaches in Europe, Willitts teaches at North Park. Both write for the blog Euangelion.

These two scholars offered helpful comments on my blog entries, either via comment-boxes or email. Indeed, I was often astonished at how quickly feedback would come from them after I posted material. Their probative questions—typically simply offered off-the-cuff—at times challenged me to think profoundly about certain elements of my own thought. They also highlighted other important works in the field that I was unaware of. Furthermore, their comments revealed ways works I already knew about but considered irrelevant actually were related to certain dimensions of the topic I was treating. In addition, their positive feedback gave me confidence that some of my more original ideas were not off-track.

Three different individuals, writing from different places in the world, all concerned with Jesus scholarship, were able to exchange ideas and bibliographic information. The two blogs, TheSacredPage.com and Euangelion helped facilitate that exchange: I was able to learn more about their work from reading their posts and I was also able to share my ideas with them through mine. My anecdotal experience therefore confirms what peer-reviewed studies seem to confirm: blogging can indeed be an important tool in conducting scholarship. [29]

Blogging and Unraveling the Modernist Myth of Pure-Objectivity

Above I mentioned D. Gordon Smith’s distinction between traditional forms of academic publishing, “bloggership,” and other types of blogging. I think his distinction of two different types of blogging is helpful. Peruse the biblioblogs and you will find a number of different kinds of entries. Some posts are written to identify and interact with important sources and ideas. In greater and less degrees these posts signal the scholarly aspirations of the blog. Other entries are just plain silly. Of course, those who dismiss the academic worth of blogging will point to such posts as examples of unscholarly nature of the blogosphere. However, in an indirect way it might be argued that even posts of a personal or inane nature contribute to the improvement of academic discourse.

How? Such posts humanize scholars. As is becoming increasingly clear in the postmodern period, “pure objectivity” is a myth.[30] Yet even to this day scholars are reluctant to allow much of their personal beliefs, history, and values to emerge in their scholarly exchanges. Even in informal gatherings at professional conferences such as this one—even in interactions outside of paper presentations—scholars typically operate under the assumption that they are best served by engaging in conversations which obscure who they are, as if they are in reality better able to do their work by not getting to know one another. Lest somehow our work be suspected of lacking objectivity, academics tend to hide their core personal beliefs and experiences. Academics will even avoid humor in order to avoid the perception of being frivolous. There seems to be a perception that a serious scholar must remain just that: serious . . . and they must remain so whenever they are around other academics.

Frankly, while I am always an advocate of proper decorum and professional behavior, I do believe that in large part such attitudes reflect an outdated modernist, Enlightenment understanding that still permeates academia, namely, that scholars are not influenced by personal beliefs, personal history, traditions, etc., but derive conclusions solely based on un-interpreted “facts”. It seems to me that such claims are no longer possible. Because of this I whole-heartedly welcome not only “bloggership”—blogging with scholarly aspirations—but also “other types of blogging”: the posts which reveal the quirky sense of humor of scholars, the entries describing a bloggers’ personal history, the pieces laying out his or her political opinions, the installments that reveal their core personal values, etc. I do not believe that getting to know each other better is going to undermine our scholarship. Rather, I believe it will make it more honest and therefore more illuminating. It will help us better learn how to work with one another and cultivate better mutual respect, and perhaps that will be the greatest of all the benefits of biblioblogging.


NOTES


[1] In this paper I have assumed that my audience is able to define the terms "weblog", "blog," "blogging," "biblioblogs", etc. This seems to me to be a reasonable assumption given the fact that the paper is being presented in a study unit with the more overarching term “biblioblogging” and follows other papers that have already talked at length about the blogging phenomenon. For sake of thoroughness I have however added this note. The term “weblog” was coined by Jorn Barger in 1997 on his website Robot Wisdom. Peter Merholz later abbreviated the term to “blog” in 1999. See Jeremy B. Williams, “Exploring the use of blogs as learning spaces in the higher education sector,” Australasian Journal of Education 20 /2 (2004): 232 [232–247].
[2] See, e.g., Kate Litvak, “Blog as a Bugged Water Cooler,” Washington University Law Review 84 (2006).
[3] I have decided to talk about my own thesis as a way of illustrating to those in the field of biblical scholarship applications of blogging. However, others have talked about the the benefits of blogging in their dissertation writing. See, e.g., Lilia Efimova, Passion at work: Blogging practices of knowledge workers (Enschede, Netherlands: Novay, 2009). For example, Efimova talks about how in writing dissertations “the weblog allows easy access to the stored information from multiple computers, keeping relevant external information with personally meaningful context and links to the originals, as well as sharing information with others in a non–intrusive way” (p. 293).
[4] Jeffrey Wee Sing Sim and Khe Foon, “The use of weblogs in higher education settings: A review of empirical research,” Educational Research Review 5 (2010) 152 [151–163]. See W. F. Brescia, Jr., and M. T. Miller, “What’s it worth? The perceived benefits of instructional blogging. Electronic Journal for the Integration of Technology in Education,” 5 (2006): 44–52; W. Chen and C. Bonk, “The use of weblogs in learning and assessment in Chinese higher education: Possibilities and potential problems,” International Journal on E-Learning, 7/1 (2008): 41–65; C. P. Coutinho, “Cooperative learning in higher education using weblogs: A study with undergraduate students of education in Portugal,” in World multi-conference on systemics, cybernetic and informatics, 11 Orlando, USA, 2007 [WMSCI 2007] (vol. 1; Florida: International Institute of Informatics and Systemics, 2000), 60–64; A. Davi, M. Frydenberg and G.J. Gulati, “Blogging across the disciplines: Integrating technology to enhance liberal learning,” MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching 3/3 (2007); M. D. Dickey, “The impact of weblogs (blogs) on student perceptions of isolation and alienation in a web-based distance-learning environment. Open Learning,” 9/3 (2004): 279–291; N. B. Ellison and Y. Wu, “Blogging in the classroom: A preliminary exploration of student attitudes and impact on comprehension,” Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, 17/1 (2008): 99–122; B. Farmer, A. Yue, and C. Brooks, “Using blogging for higher order learning in large cohort university teaching: A case study,” Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 24/2 (2008): 123–136; W. Freeman, C. Brett, J. Dixon, L. Kostuch, M. MacKinnon, and G. McPherson, “Weblogging as a part of academic practice: Reflections on graduate students’ early experiences,” in Proceedings of the IADIS virtual multi conference on computer science and information systems (IADIS Press., 2006), 64–67; R. Glass, and Spiegelman, M., “Incorporating blogs into the syllabus: Making their space a learning space. Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 36/2 (2007): 145–155; S. Hain and A. Back, “Personal learning journal—course design for using weblogs in higher education,” The Electronic Journal of e-Learning, 6/3 (2008): 189–196; H. Hall, and B. Davison, “Social software as support in hybrid learning environments: The value of the blog as a tool for reflective learning and peer support,” Library and Information Science Research 29/2 (2008): 163–187; L. Kerawalla, S. Minocha, G. Kirkup, and G. Conole, “An empirically grounded framework to guide blogging in higher education,” Journal of Computer Assisted Learning 25 (2008): 31–42; A. Kuzu, “Views of pre-service teachers on blog use for instruction and social interaction,” Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education 8/3 (2007): 34–51; P. Leslie and E. Murphy, “Post-secondary students’ purposes for blogging,” International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 9/3 (2008): 1–17; C. C. Loving, C. Schroeder, R. Kang, C. Shimek, and B. Herbert, “Blogs: Enhancing links in a professional learning community of science and mathematics teachers,” Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education 7/3 (2007): 178–198; K. Makri, and C. Kynigos, “The role of blogs in studying the discourse and social practices of mathematics teachers,” Educational Technology and Society 10/1 (2007): 73–84; S. Nackerud and K. Scaletta, “Blogging in the academy. New Directions for Student Services,” 124 (2008): 71–87; G. M. Stiler and T. Philleo, “Blogging and blogspots: An alternative format for encouraging reflective practice among preservice teachers,” Education, 123/4 (2004): 789–797; S.-K. Wang, and H.-Y. Hsua, “Reflections on using blogs to expand in-class discussion,” TechTrends 52/3 (2008): 81–85; M. Weller, C. Pegler, and R. Mason, “Use of innovative technologies on an e-learning course,” Internet and Higher Education 8 (2005): 61–71; J. B. Williams and J. Jacobs, “Exploring the use of blogs as learning spaces in the higher education sector,” Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 20/2 (2004): 232–247; X. Zeng, and S. T. Harris, “Blogging in an online health information technology class. Perspective in Health Information Management,” 2/6 (2005). The one experimental model they discovered was Y. Xie and P. Sharma, “Students’ lived experience of using weblogs in a class: An exploratory study. Paper presented at the 27th association for educational communications and technology conference Chicago, IL, October 19–23, 2004. For helpful overview of these studies see Sim and Khe Foon, “The use of weblogs in higher education settings,” 158–161.
[5] This certainly represents a healthy sample. Coincidentally the Kjellberg study analyzed the sixty-seven blogs—the same number of librarians surveyed by Hendricks’, in other study on research applications for blogging. See Sara Kjellberg, “Blogs as interfaces between several worlds: A case study of the Swedish academic blogosphere,” Human IT 10/3 (2009): 1–45.
[6] See, e.g., T. Embrey, “You blog, we blog: A guide to how teacher librarians can use weblogs to build communication and research skills,” Teacher Librarian 30/2 (2002): 7–9; A. Clyde, “Shall we blog?,” Teacher Librarian 30/1 (2002): 44–46.
[7] Arthur Hendricks, “Bloggership or is publishing a blog scholarship? A survey of academic librarians,” Library Hi Tech 28/3 (2009): 475.
[8] Hendricks, “Bloggership or is publishing a blog scholarship?,” 475.
[9] Hendricks, “Bloggership or is publishing a blog scholarship?,” 475.
[10] Hendricks, “Bloggership or is publishing a blog scholarship?,” 476.
[11] Hendricks, “Bloggership or is publishing a blog scholarship?,” 475.
[12] See, e.g., Sara Kjellberg, “I am a blogging researcher: Motivations for blogging in a scholarly context,” First Monday 15/2 (2010). Kjellberg notes that a close examination of research done on blogging reveals that the most frequent applications cited by researchers were “information or knowledge management, social purposes and interaction, establishing an identity and self–representation, expressing opinions, and acting politically.” Here article explands upon each of these. She goes on to talk specifically about the way blogging enables researchers to better keep current in their field. Kjellberg cites one researcher, who explained, “One very direct way for myself is that it’s a good way for me to force myself to keep up with my own research field. I have this external how do you say . . . incentive to publish a few times a week, which means you have to stay abreast of things.” Likewise, see Torill Mortensen and Jill Walker, “Blogging thoughts: Personal publication as an online research tool,” in Researching ICTs in context (ed. A. Morrison; Oslo: InterMedia, University of Oslo, 2002), 249–278; Jill Walker Rettberg, Blogging (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2008); Alexander Halavais, “Scholarly blogging: Moving toward the visible college,” in Uses of blogs (eds. A. Bruns and J. Jacobs; New York: Peter Lang, 2006), 117–126.
[13] Hendricks, “Bloggership or is publishing a blog scholarship?,” 475–76.
[14] 35.8% of those surveyed indicated that they did run a weblog, 59.7 percent stated they did not. Hendricks, “Bloggership or is publishing a blog scholarship?,” 475.
[15] Hendricks, “Bloggership or is publishing a blog scholarship?,” 476. He adds, “. . . of those from 21 to 30, 20.0 percent thought their blog should not count as scholarship. Of those 31-40 years of age, 36.4 percent indicated that their blog should not count as scholarship, and of those from 41 to 50 years of age, 44.4 percent indicated that their blog should not count. Of those over 50, 50.0 percent indicated that their blog should not count as scholarship.”
[16] Hendricks, “Bloggership or is publishing a blog scholarship?,” 474–75.
[17] We might also note that business programs have begun to take note of the advantages of blogging after one M.B.A. program introduced the practice into their program with great results. See Williams, “Exploring the use of blogs as learning spaces,” 232–247. Another field where blogging is getting greater attention is in the natural sciences. See, e.g., Selg Håkan, “Om bloggar [About blogs],” Uppsala: NITA, Uppsala University, 2008.
[18] Paul L. Caron, “Are scholars better bloggers? Bloggership: How blogs are transforming legal scholarship,” Washington University Law Quarterly, 84/5 (2006): 1025-42. See also N. Levit, “Scholarship advice for new law professors in the electronic age,” Widener Law Journal 16 (2009): 947–82.
[19] D. Gordon Smith,A Case Study in Bloggership,” Washington University Law Quarterly 84 (2006): 1135–1143.
[20] See the overview in Caron, “Are scholars better bloggers?,” 1037.
[21] Cited in Caron, “Are scholars better bloggers?,” 1037 n. 71.
[22] See, e.g., Kristina Schneider, Edublogging: A Qualitative Study of Training and Development Bloggers (Acorda Press, 2009). See in particular the review of the relevant literature on pp. 17–29.
[23] Alfred P. Rovai, “Online and traditional assessments: What is the difference?,” Internet and Higher Education 3 (2001): 141–151.
[24] See, e.g., the back of Michael F. Bird, Are You the One Who Is To Come?: The Historical Jesus and the Messianic Question (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2009).
[25] Michael Patrick Barber, “The Historical Jesus and Cultic Restoration Eschatology: The New Temple, the New Priesthood and the New Cult” (Ann Arbor: UMI Dissertation Services, 2010).
[26] See his interview with the magazine Christianity Today:
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2010/april/15.22.html
[27] See the complete bibliography in the note above. See also Michael F. Bird, Jesus and the Origins of the Gentile Mission (Library of Historical Jesus Studies 331; New York: T&T Clark, 2007); idem., “Is There Really a Third Quest' for the Historical Jesus?,” Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology 24/2 (2006): 195–219; idem., “The Formation of the Gospels in the Setting of Early Christianity: The Jesus Tradition as Corporate Memory,” Westminster Theological Journal 67 (2005): 113–34.
[28] See Joel Willitts, Matthew's Messianic Shepherd-King: ‘In Search of the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel’ (Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft und die Kunde der älteren Kirche 147; Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2007); idem., "Presuppositions and Procedures in the Study of the 'Historical Jesus': Or, Why I Decided Not to be a 'Historical Jesus' Scholar," Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus 3/1 (2005): 61–108.
[29] Indeed, other scholars have spoken of how blogging helps researchers who “want to legitimate their results by having them vetted by other researchers in their discipline” (Kjellberg, “I am a blogging researcher”).
[30] See, e.g., the work of Hans-Georg Gadamer, Wahrheit und Methode (2d. ed.; Tubingen: Mohr-Siebeck, 1965), who emphasizes the impossibility of standing outside of a tradition.