This Week in Bibiloblogdom

These past few weeks, the biblioblogdom has been abuzz with the recent changes, starting here, in which it was announced that the Society of Biblical Literature had welcomed the affiliation of Biblibloggers. Suddenly, biblibloggers becomes Bibliobloggers, and not just at the beginning of a sentence.

Then, Jim became CEO of Biblioblog Top 50. Surely, it’s an innocuous title, and we don’t blame him for it (here, here, here, and here), however, some have questioned the idea of formalizing the group – which has been seen as a rather fun initiative (and always the wisdom from this blogger). Some simply have questions (and here), especially after a steering committee of a certain narrow view point has been selected by none other than the Great and All Powerful Oz. Granted, Jimmy W. has met these questions with his usual sensitivity to others’ viewpoints. Of course, when you have people fawning all over you (and here), it’s hard to be sensitive to others, but it is obvious that the good Doctor is able to humbly operate in that situation.

Some, not settled on the oligarchical way in which Kings James I was crowned as Lord Protector, has decided a vote could possible unseat Pope West and his curia of minions.

Of course,  all of this really comes down to the social identity of bibliobloggers, who, as Ben remembers a quote from Mark Goodacre (c.2005),

…bibliobloggers are largely rebels who do not conform to the norms of the “biblical studies community”. The conversations are not limited to those with tenured academic appointments; the bulk of biblioblogdom is populated by independent scholars and graduate students and one of the joys of the scene is its fundamental democratic impulse. In this respect, it imitates the better e-lists, which have the same democratic ideal in which it is the academic quality of the post that is the guide. So I’d say that far from perpetuating the framework and power structures in the “real” biblical studies community, we are counter-cultural, risky and rebellious. (Cf. among many other posts, Identity, Schmidentity @ Deinde; Death of the Biblioblog?; Stop obsessing about biblioblogging; and a great round-up on Hypotyposeis, Sans-biblioblogue).

Frankly, I’m not too sure where to go with this? Do I stay or do I rebel, refuse to conform, and focus on that fundamental democratic impulse leave and possible create my own group, the Association of Unaffiliated Biblibloggers or maybe I’ll just call in the big guns.

Joel L. Watts
Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

127 thoughts on “This Week in Bibiloblogdom

  1. I woulld rather be called pastor, shepherd and “Father”. And I could be called “Doctor” too (was as a professor), but I am certainly myself no blogger. Perhaps, I like to think of myself as a ‘rebel with a cause’? lol But no, I am just an Anglican “Churchman”, catholic & reformed. But, I love to follow and yes comment on Polycarp’s Blog!
    Fr. Robert

  2. and what exactly is that certain narrow view point?! I’ve already suggested you offer your good self to Jim – I for one would certainly be delighted :-)

  3. Joel,

    The post seems to read that the purpose of my post was to unseat Jim as the rep for SBL. That’s actually opposite of my intention. I say in my post that I think he should be the rep, nonetheless the purpose of the vote was to make way for people to share their opinions.

    I’m not sure if you meant your post to read that way, but I wanted to clarify because I don’t want people to think I’m doing that.

    Nonetheless, thanks for the mention.

  4. well since i didnt ask any of the people involved their view of anything and since i dont intend on some sort of litmus test i think ill have to reject your kind suggestion.

    but- if heard in semiotics or anyone else on any other program unit does what youve asked us to do, i’ll think about it.

  5. well thanks for the suggestions but rod isnt a member of the sbl (unless i have misunderstood him) and neither is nick (i dont think- but you can check the membership list for yourself if you like.), and anyway, we have quite enough on the good committee now.

  6. Rod,
    This is one of the problems with theology at the academic level at present, the exegetical tools should always go along with, etc. If we cannot unpack the text, then we are in real trouble. I see this all the time really, people with plenty of theology, but sometimes little biblical textual ability.
    Fr. R.

  7. PS…Also Christian people should be reading the whole biblical text..i.e. the Bible, and reading it often. I can remember when the biblical literacy was much higher. Now, many seminary students appear to be in great need with just scripture reading and knowledge. Strange really. Perhaps there really are too many translations to read?
    Fr. R.

  8. i dont know if the good fr is talking about me or linville- but i think if he means me he hasnt been paying attention at all. which is not surprising, given his inability to so much as pay attention to his own typing. i mean really, what the heck is ‘esslesiastical’? or ‘ecclesical’? it’s hard to take him seriously at all. except of course as some sort of suck up sycophant to our dear joel.

  9. Dr. Jim,
    I don’t think you want to tangle with me! And really, you don’t know what is “ecclesiastical” or “ecclesial”? Again, let’s not go ad hom here, okay? And as to Joel, he is a friend, and we have mutual respect, though we too often don’t agree. I was talking about the nature and lasting use of the Blog or Blogdom.
    Fr. R.

  10. come now fr- we all know that that’s not how you spelled them above. and ‘tangle’ with you? is that irish for dance? because i don’t dance.

  11. Jim, etc.
    I have a book in hands, you might want to read? It is called, (and I speak the truth here!) “On B***s***”, by Harry G. Frankfurt. (Princeton University Press, Princeton & Oxford, 2005). It is a philosophical analysis of the theoretical ideas of how we in the English world just simply BS each other in almost every area of modern life! Check it out!
    Fr. R.

  12. In church this morning we discussed Paul’s letter to the Philippians and how he preached inclusiveness. I couldn’t help but see the parallels to this subject. We have this new committee, acting as the Pharisee’s, enforcing the rule of the law as they see it. If your blog doesn’t match their critical interpretations, you’re deemed unfit and left out. Maybe it’s just the christian in me, but I prefer things that don’t classify one as either an insider or an outsider.

  13. chili’s is oppressing you Rod! you MUST protest!!!!!! their failure to provide you with your beloved food item is just another bit of evidence that they are acting like an empire unconcerned with their citizens wants and needs!!!!!


  14. oh i dunno :-) – it was the way I received notice in my mail box of Ben’s comment in that personalised way – it confused me: I thought he was ambiguously wafflingly suggesting I might have thought I had done a good deed…

  15. Rob, I had hoped that the call to affiliate with a group centered on non-affiliation, or a threat to call in a giant cat, and the tone in which the post was written, would have signaled that while their were problems out there, sometimes humor is needed.

  16. Steph, like you, I am controlled by cats (3 – (in order of appearance and age, Hemingway, Goliath, and Princess) I would image that your feline would have trouble eating me without a good fight from my only beloved masters.

  17. Nope, I didn’t avoid it – I ignored it until the conversation progressed.

    Frankly, the Steering Committee should have someone who does not engage in ‘higher criticism.’ Perhaps someone with an ‘anti-intellectual’ bias, which is far from the truth.

    Arrogance is believe that because someone doesn’t arrive at the same conclusions as you, they are unlearned, anti-intellectual or just plain stupid. (This is not directed at you, Steph).

    I believe in the Inspiration of the Scriptures, and Traditional Scholarship. Where are those with my views on the steering committee?

    Someone like Nick or Rodney, for that matter.

  18. I don’t know what anyone else’s theological views are. And higher criticism? I always imagine my work as fairly down to earth and practical stuff. :-) I don’t know who Nick or Rodney but perhaps they’d like to talk to Jim..

  19. Joel,

    i do not think that an “anti-intellectual” is what they would need at the SBL steering committee.

    See, here is how I see things: as of now, the academy and the church are two separate institutions. Academic societies such as the SBL and AAR keep those in the ivory tower split from laity and clergy. There is a major disconnect.

    Now, some academic associations are open to pastors and laypersons with DMins or Masters presenting, societies such as the Society of Pentecostal Scholars or the Wesleyan Theological Society. But other than a few other examples, for the most part, “church people” serve as tokens in these groups.

    I see the biblioblogs as a way for scholars and the public to engage. I am suspicious of the SBL/biblioblog alliance not because it directly effects me, but because of its potential to drag out the division between church and academy rather than strive towards reconciliation.

  20. You are correct, not a member of SBL. My professors keep asking me to go into biblical studies; I have too much to say for that field. I’ll stick to theology and ethics. :)

    I am a member of the American Academy of Religion though!

  21. I’d like to talk to Jim if I was into biblical studies.

    But I am not, alas.

    Only a theology student who as a Christian enjoys studying the bible.,

  22. indeed – she’s very persuasive. But apart from devouring book covers, chewing manuscripts and occasionally chasing the mouse round the computer, she’s not very bothered about who wants to come to the party or not :-)

  23. By ‘anti-intellectional’ I mean those that consider the divine source of the Scriptures, along the lines of Pope Leo XIII.

    We can bandy about ‘anti-intellectual’ about those who do not agree with us – it is obvious they are the unlearned ones. What I was hoping is that the Steering Committee would allow for one who did not employ higher/historical criticism.

  24. Sorry, but I have not seen Dr Jim unpack one verse here. But then I don’t read his blog much. This is really not a negative toward Jim, but just an observation. And I am certainly no hard blogger! For myself, I am not sure about the ecclesiastical nature of the Blog? I mean for the lasting aspect of the ecclesical community? But then I am sure both my age and background has much to do with my feelings.
    Fr. R.

  25. Jim,
    I will be 60 next month, so my type and spelling is not perfect. But, I am still 155lbs at 5’11, one time Royal Marine officer, and yeah perhaps (or really no doubt) I still have some pride there. And I don’t thing you want to dance with me mate, as I have just a second degree black belt. But my lowly second degree would sufficient I am sure, in “the dance”, lol. But really as to the “tangle” I was speaking more along the lines of history theology and exegesis! As I said, this whole BS with blogdom, and often the lack of real decorum is just not my style! One of the very reasons that I like and follow Joel’s blog, is that he does not go for the blog BS!
    Well there ya have my thoughts at least!
    Fr. R.

  26. And you are correct, I reject the historic-critical method. It has been a tool for building of empire sin the Enlightenment. Oh, I could blog about it for days.

  27. The Spirit of God told me someone here was rejecting HC method? Do my ears and eyes deceive me Rodney?!?! I now have to take you off my prayer list, because God has answered it! 😀

  28. Rob,

    We have been through this before in person, probably at a local Chilli’s. :)

    But we have not made the connection: post-colonial interpretation comes from narrative theory as well.

    how bout them apples?

  29. Or how about some awesome blossom, extra awesome!

    Oh, the chilli’s waiters can’t stand me when I say that because they no longer make awesome blossom. lolz.

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