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.


[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:
[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.