Thursday, January 13, 2005

AKMA's NT Resources Page

It's great to see an announcement on AKMA's Random Thoughts this morning that he has started a blog on NT Resources:

New Testament Resources Page
The point of this blog is not to displace the good work others do in this regard, but to serve as a durable answer to the question students, alums, clergy, and geneeral visitors always ask me: “Do you know of any good books or articles on that?” These pages will serve as my answer —with space for feedback from conversation partners.
Does this mean we can now officially co-opt AKMA, who was into blogging long before the rest of us, as a biblioblogger?

One comment on the Galatians reading list [Note: AKMA's permalinks don't seem to be working at present] -- the following article is available on-line, albeit in a hideously bad scan:

Fredriksen , Paula. “Judaism, the Circumcision of Gentiles, and Apocalyptic Hope: Another Look at Galatians 1 and 2,” JTS 42 (1991), 532-64

This is one that comes top of my list for students on Galatians too. It's a brilliant piece.

I enjoyed AKMA's general comments on his new venture, including the following:
There’s definitely a way in which one could read this gesture as my bowing to the value of the gateway; if it were important for me to differentiate these pages from (say) Mark’s, I suppose that I’d say that mine aims less toward comprehensiveness, more toward critical evaluation. Of course, if one stops browsing at my page and treats it as a last word on biblical scholarship, then mine would certainly constitute a throttle to knowledge; I prefer to think of it as Google- (or Technorati-)fodder. . . .
Thanks for the link and the mention. Let me add that I don't aim for "comprehensiveness" myself. I think I probably did once upon a time but I have long since abandoned that attempt in the face of the ever expanding internet and the number of useful specialist gateways, and the growing number of useful specialist blogs. In my Throttle to Knowledge post, which AKMA mentions here, I wrote:
But of course the gateway resources select some sites and reject others. In this sense they do engage in the business of restricting the flow of certain information, and all strength to their arm for doing so. All academics are necessarily engaged in the process of distinguishing between materials on the basis of their quality. On the whole, the bibliographies at the end of our books are our selections of books and articles that we regard as worthy of attention, and on the whole we restrict ourselves to listing those and not others. It does not mean that we are not well aware that there are likely to be many others that we have not had the time or the good luck to come across. The point is that our bibliographies are restrictive but not prescriptive. They are not saying that this is all you should read, but that these are some resources that I have read and found worth engaging. So too the internet gateway. It is not prescriptive. The intention is not to limit the number of resources that anyone might want to look at, but to provide some helps to the user about good places to start, possible ways to navigate through a difficult topic, a range of different resources on a given theme.

I suspect that most users of gateway resources appreciate that while their authors are attempting to be as comprehensive as possible, the sites are never going to be exhaustive. And with this realisation comes appreciation of a key function of the gateway, that far from discouraging students to distinguish for themselves between good and bad internet resources, they actually help to educate them in how to do this. The student writing an essay on the Historical Jesus is not simply let loose to google in the dark until they have come up with a few scrag ends of dubious worth. The gateway gives them some starter resources, some hints, some pointers, a way to feel their way into the topic. It is just the same discipline as the age-old teaching tool, the Reading List . . . .
etc. I like the idea of "Google- (or Technorati-)fodder. . . ." in AKMA's post too.

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