As I noted in a previous post, (1) the active list is too inclusive in that it lists blogs that have been inactive for six months or more. (2) The same list includes (very interesting) blogs with little or no content that interacts with the field of biblical studies; it shouldn’t. (3) It also leaves out blogs with long series of posts which interact directly with biblical scholarship, broadly or narrowly defined: what good is an index of biblical blogging if it does not include Ben Myers’ posts on Paul? The history of reception is a live topic: how can blogging on, for example, Calvin’s reception of Malachi 1:2-6, or the iconicity of the Bible (Jim Watts) not be indexed? (4) The inactive list is seriously incomplete: available inactive blogs like those of Angela Roskop Erisman and Matt Morgan deserve to be archived and indexed. (5) Some past biblical blogging is found on the Wayback Machine of www.archive.org (retrievable by URL). This material, too, deserves to be indexed, with corresponding URLs (new and old) catalogued on the inactive list.
Finally, (6) the draft inclusion criteria are cumbersome and unenforceable. Here is a "self-generating," alternative proposal. I understand, of course, that some wannabes are best eliminated by editorial fiat; I trust Caruso's judgment in that sense.
All bloggers who wish to be indexed ought to be required to fill out a form on the basis of which (1) a single directory and (2) a variety of lists, via an apposite seach engine, would be generable.
For example, I may want (1) a list of self-identifying bibliobloggers who are SBL members and reside in CA; (2) a list of bloggers who blog on the Hebrew Bible, allow comments, and keep a blogroll. (3) I may be after bloggers willing to participate in a “blogstorm” on the TAM system of biblical Hebrew – a list of prospects might be compiled by generating a list of those who self-identify as “proficient in ancient Hebrew.”
Just examples: it will now be evident why a well-designed “entry interview/ form” filled out by all community-minded bibliobloggers is a desideratum.
Enforceable criteria relative to academic quality and civility do *not* exist. Let everyone who (1) self-identifies as a Bible blogger, (2) fills out the form, and (3) installs the tracker be listed and indexed, whether the self-identifying biblioblogger is a Bible-basher, a Bible-thumper, neither fish nor fowl, or a wallflower who shies away from controversy. If there are bloggers, and there are, who are artless and insensitive and not even funny in the way they thump or how they bash, other bloggers are free to point that out. As Jim West said, if you don’t like my blog, don’t read it. This is excellent advice.
It would be helpful to be able to generate lists and create custom RSS feeds of bloggers who (1) have taught at the university level; (2) are working on or have completed an advanced degree in this or that discipline of biblical studies; (3) have published in one or more of the journals listed in the SBL Handbook of Style; and (4) have given papers at SBL, AAR, ASOR, AOS, or similar meetings. To be sure, some of the best biblical bloggers could not put a check beside any of the indicated four boxes, much less all of them. But it would be helpful to be able to sort bloggers along these or similar parameters.
The following set of questions, or something like them, might also be on the form.
Do you blog about the Bible as:
(1) An artifact of the ancient world;
(2) An object of study of an international guild of scholars of all confessions and none;
(3) A “great code” of tropes and figures that continue to shape the historical, metaphysical, and moral imaginations of believers and unbelievers alike;
(4) A locus of past and present “conflicts of interpretation”;
(5) A resource of faith and practice of communities of believers;
(6) A text that is “corrected” and misread in the service of modern ideologies;
(7) A text whose chief protagonist in the eyes of many is a moral monster.
I want a set of questions of this sort on the form because I blog about the Bible in each of the seven ways noted. I want to network with others who do the same - from whatever perspective.