Tuesday, February 26, 2013


I'm unsure why I have been hesitant to delve into the world of Biblioblogging. It certainly seems to combine two of my major interests: biblical studies and technology. Maybe I've got a hidden traditionalist streak, or maybe I worried about damaging my job prospects by being too open and visible. I'm not a...typical Bible scholar, and in academic situations, I often feel the need to present myself as especially "serious" and "professional," in order to compensate for my unusual appearance and background.

Because, much to my chagrin, I have learned that a great deal of scholarly success is social. It's about who you know, who invites you to what committees, who asks you to contribute to a book, and who on the search committee recognizes your name. And this is really not my strong suit. Especially face-to-face. It's an introvert thing. I am more comfortable online, where I can take time to think about what I want to say. But I'm also more prone to be myself. My strange, caustic, blasphemous self. I need to balance the risk of becoming notorious with the advantages of making connections with other scholars online.

And as I continue to beat my head against the academic job market, and watch cash-strapped universities put revenue streams before pedagogy, I have to wonder how much life is left in "traditional" academia. It may be time to start embracing new paradigms. Instead of fighting the change until there is no choice, then scrambling for slapdash solutions (as has been the case with copyright), it may be time to proactively start establishing new standards that take into account the unique qualities of the internet.

For better or for worse, the barriers to entrance to the internet are not as high as those in academia. Anyone can start a blog, and people with...questionable credentials can cultivate some amount of recognition, even legitimacy, by sheer persistence and force of will. *coughjimwestcough* This may chafe those of us who jumped through all the hoops to do it the old fashioned way, but it also may open the doors for scholars who have something to contribute, but due to circumstance, geography, or the simply absurd cost of education today, have not been able earn an advanced degree. Novice scholars can interact with more experienced ones without mobbing them at conferences. And for all the potential pitfalls presented by the lack of vetting and peer-review, Bibliobloggers have shown themselves capable of providing meaningful feedback to breakthroughs in "legitimate" scholarship, sometimes before the "legitimate" papers go to press.

I have wasted a tremendous amount of time on Facebook, looking at cute cats and having superficial interactions. I've cancelled my account, and I hope to devote some of that energy to sharing my work and connecting with people who share my scholarly interests. I don't know how much original content I will have for this immediately (beyond kvetching about the academic job market), but it is a beginning.

1 comment:

  1. Oh god, I'm glad you started. And I hope it turns out that you love blogging -- regardless. *coughjimwestcough* LMFAO!! SO TRUE!!!

    This will sound bad, but in a way I hope you don't get hired anywhere unless they are one of those operations willing to proactively set those new standards and work outside of traditional academia -- even while maintaining the best of what that set have brought forward over time. You just might represent what the merging of the best of the two worlds can offer the rest of us (much, much needed). We shall see.


All comments are moderated by imperial fiat. You have the right to say what you want, but I don't have to give you a forum. Don't be a schmuck: that is the whole of the Torah. The rest is just commentary.