Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Other SBL Papers on Blogging

I already talked about the paper I have been invited to present on Weblogs and the Academy at this year's annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature. James McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix) and Jim Davila (PaleoJudaica) will also be presenting at the unit for Bloggers and On-Line Publishing. I am pleased to see that they have both posted on their papers.

This is very exciting to me. I am eager to hear both of their papers presented.

James' title is "The Blogging Revolution: New Technologies and their Impact on How we do Scholarship." Here's his abstract.
Not that long ago, in an academic galaxy not that far away, scholars steeped in traditional models, paradigms and technologies marveled that young academics would "fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way" by engaging in that rather frivolous activity referred to as "biblioblogging." But as blogging (and other new technologies and media) become increasingly mainstream, not only do the activities of blogging and online publication seem less frivolous, nor do they merely begin to appear to be highly appropriate topics for a session at the SBL annual meeting, but these technologies show themselves to have the potential to revolutionize the ways we do scholarship, every bit as much as the transportation and printing technologies that have made possible the types of interaction in person and in print that scholars in our time have come to take for granted. Two key examples will be discussed: the possibility of "blog conferences" to supplement if not replace conferences such as the one at which this paper is being read; and the possibility for harnessing interactive media to create textbooks which not only address readers but do so in response to readers' answers to questions the textbook has asked them. The key issue is no longer whether new media will impact the academy, but how to utilize them to their full potential, and not merely as yet another means of transmitting and viewing material which is otherwise presented in a traditional format.
Jim's paper is titled, "What Just Happened: The rise of "biblioblogging" in the first decade of the twenty-first century". Here's his abstract:
This paper recalls the rise of "biblioblogging" early in this decade, surveys its expansion and development since that time, and explores the ways in which it has affected the field of academic biblical studies. Biblioblogging has made possible rapid dissemination of information on new discoveries and other matters of interest – as well as dissemination of accessible specialist commentary on such matters – to a vastly enlarged audience, an effect increasingly amplified by the new "new media" such as podcasts, Facebook, and Twitter. It has helped to put a personal face on biblical scholarship by allowing scholars to speak with an informal public voice different from the voice of academic publication; it has encouraged biblical scholars to interact publicly with popular culture, including not only dubious television documentaries, but also the cinema and television series such as Lost; it has helped scholars to mobilize in support of their colleagues in an era of job cuts and financially threatened departments; and it has contributed at least a little to the accelerating erosion of the authority of the mainstream media. Blogging is likely to be with us for a long time to come and to be increasingly incorporated into our field as a fruitful contribution to biblical scholarship.
I am honored to be presenting with these guys at this ground-breaking session.

As an aside, I should note that James McGrath and I both share a passion that borders on obsession for the ABC television show LOST. By the way, his LOST posts are very good! James in fact points out that Jim Davila mentions LOST in his paper abstract as well. It appears then that despite our different exegetical and theological conclusions we can at least agree on what the most important show on television is! Hopefully, our papers won't be as confusing as the show is though!

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