Bulletin for the Study of Religion, Vol 39, No 3 (2010)

Editorial

10.1558/bsor.v39i3.001

 

Editorial

 

About a year and a half ago I began reading blogs: religious studies blogs, sociology blogs, feminist blogs, anti-race blogs, political blogs, the FAIL blog, andto my surpriseBible blogs. Following blogs immediately became addicting; it is not unusual for me to spend an hour a day (or maybe two!) in front of my computer, making my way through the latest in my Google Reader.[i] This is an interactive processfollowing blogs often involves commenting on posts, responding to other comments, and engaging in general discussion. As a result of our substantial online interaction, there are even a few bloggers I feel like I have gotten to know personallyin part because weve become friends on Facebookeven though weve never met in person. The blogosphere has become a substantial part of my personal and professional life.

I have benefited in at least three ways from my involvement in the blogosphere. First, I have become plugged into an international network of scholars. I have acquaintances with scholar-bloggers in the United States, Canada, England, New Zealand, and Australia (some of whom I can even call on to submit content to the Bulletin!). Second, following blogs allows me to keep up with the latest buzz in various corners of academia. I am able to keep up to date on the latest research, the latest books, the latest archaeological discoveries, and so on. In addition, following blogs allows me to see what scholars are saying about the latest news. For instance, books and articles on the impact US President Barack Obama has made on racism and racial relations in America are just now starting to appear, but bloggers were writing about and commenting on this topic before he was even elected. Third, just as some professors regularly bring relevant news articles into their classes as discussion starters, I often use blog posts as discussion starters. For instance, I teach a course on sex, gender, and sexuality, and last semester I shared blog posts from Sociological Images with my students on a regular basis. (In fact, although the semester is over I have still been forwarding posts from this blog to my students.)

When I began following blogs, I had no intention of following academic Bible blogs. I studied the Bible in undergrad and graduate school, and I teach introductory Bible courses at my college, but by no means am I a Bible scholar. However, there are few blogs on religious studies in general, while there is a plethora of blogs on the Bible and biblical studies. (I have never heard an entirely satisfactory explanation for this phenomenon, apart from the suggestion that Bible scholars tend to be Christians with an inclination toward spreading their views, i.e. evangelization.) Consequently, in lieu of more general academic religion blogs, I began following some of the academic Bible blogs.

I quickly discovered that biblioblogging (as it is called) is a phenomenon of sorts. There are hundreds of bibliobloggers, there are special biblioblogger circles (with their own special graphic icons), there are sites dedicated to ranking Bible blogs by popularity, and there is even a biblioblogging carnival (although the latter seems to have recently died out). Biblioblogging is of such importance that it has even been recognized by the Society of Biblical Literature.

This issue of the Bulletin is dedicated to biblioblogging. I have asked Jim West to introduce biblioblogging and offer a brief history of sorts. James McGrath, Robert Cargill, and Roland Boer have contributed reflections on the importance of blogging. The last contribution, by James Crossley, offers a critique of certain Bible blogs, specifically focusing on the ideological work they have done in support of US foreign policy.

In conclusion, I would like to share a few random selections from my own blogrollthat is, the list of blogs I follow. I encourage the Bulletins readers to hop online and check out some of the high quality (or at least interesting) content and commentary one can find on the web:

 

       Genealogy of Religion: Exploring the Origins, History and Future of Religion

       I Blame The Patriarchy

       Montclair Socioblog

       Restructure!

       Sociological Images

       Stuff White People Do

       The Religion Beat

 

Notes



[i] Google Reader is an RSS feed reader. Most blogs have an RSS feed, whichif one subscribeswill send new material to ones reader every time a blog is updated. It is somewhat like subscribing to get an email when a blog is updated, except it goes to ones reader instead of ones email.

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