Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Review of NT Gateway

In comments, Mahlon Smith (great to hear from you!) posts this link:

3 Clix.Info: /New Testament / Gospels

It features an flattering Review of The New Testament Gateway and reviews and scores for a handful of other sites. The review of The New Testament Gateway has lots of nice things to say, but I am particularly grateful for its paragraph on the Weaknesses of the site:
While there are no notable mechanical weaknesses to this website, the index page does presuppose a certain amount of literacy in modern biblical scholarship. So users who have not read an academic introduction to the field may be befuddled by some of the jargon. For instance the section on the Synoptic Problem does not explain that the linked resources concern scholarly debate regarding the relationship of the gospels of Matthew, Mark & Luke. Similarly, there is no notice that the section of Textual Criticism provides access to scholarly debate on the relationship and reliability of ancient gospel manuscripts. From a pedagogical viewpoint, one curious feature in the arrangement of the index is that the section of "noncanonical" Texts is found near the beginning while the section on the New Testament "canon" is found near the end. Once one is has a basic familiarity with academic biblical study, however, the layout of the website makes perfectly good sense.
On the whole, constructive criticism of the site is less forthcoming than is praise. That's a jolly nice situation in one way, of course, but it also means that the scope to improve the site is more limited than it might otherwise be. Frankly, I hadn't even thought about the issues mentioned here, and I think it is useful to have them flagged up. I do remember a correspondent some time ago telling me that I ought to explain to the newcomer what "textual criticism" is and that they might there find out informatiion about texts and manuscripts of the New Testament, but I've not taken any further action on that.

I don't know much more about the 3Clix.Info project at the moment because I've not had any time to explore it, but it looks like it could be a useful development. It describes itself as "the web's only ratings library".

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