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Sunday, February 11, 2007
  Online Biblical Scholarship
Two posts recently have got me thinking about why biblical scholarship online is so thin. The first was Tyler's Religious Studies Review: Religion and the Internet in which he reviews Religious Studies Review 32: 4, a special issue on "Religion and the Internet" (the editor was Christopher Helland).

I have not seen RSR yet (paper takes time to traverse distance - boy doesn't it just!) but Tyler sums up the article on "Biblical Studies on the Internet" by Matthew Mitchell:
The review of biblical studies on the web is pretty basic, highlighting only four resources, one relating to NT, one to OT/HB, one to the DSS, and the ancient world.

These are all great resources, though there are so many other excellent resources available on the Internet for biblical studies that I can’t help be a bit disappointed with the brevity of the list.
Sight unseen, and assuming the writer had more than a few hundred words to spare, I'd use stronger language! It is true each of these sites is really good. Chris Heard and Mark Goodacre point to most of the other really good material between them. KC Hanson has a lot of good material, and the Orion site is a good one on a popular topic. And yet... to describe these four sites as a review of "biblical studies on the web" makes "pretty basic" into a new epitome of litotes!

Then John (Ancient Hebrew Poetry) posted "Exploring the Frontiers of Online Biblical Scholarship" the point of the post is that the best of biblical studies resources online are in German not English. In making the point John highlights four projects (some of which could surely have been seen by RSR!
The four are:
These are each great projects, yet somehow John's recurring question "Why don’t we have anything like this in English?" becomes a lament.

Granted that the RSR article may have been horribly negligent, granted the existence of these fine projects (with so far adequate funding) in German, and again granted that there are others like them, I'm still left feeling that biblical scholarship online is a poor weak struggling thing. Most projects are little more than one person's hobby. Where are the teams, where is the funding?

Or to make the question more personal: Why do I find so few people willing to write even a short Bible dictionary article? (And it looks as if WILAT has the same problem, they still only have two articles one by an editor, and the other written in 2004...)

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