Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Hypotyposeis 2004 Retrospective

One of the treats in biblioblogdom that greeted my return today was Stephen Carlson's

2004 Retrospective

I quite agree that "there is no better intellectual discipline for one's scholarship than actually going through the process of articulating one's research to another interested person". When I look back on my own experience of blogging in 2004, I notice that what I found most enjoyable were the posts that in some way articulated elements in my own research, or added to that research by engaging with others. I enjoy the (ever increasing) variety in biblioblogdom, but what I appreciate in Stephen's approach is his ability to post material "cold", to begin the process of articulating a new idea he has had. I think that I should do that more often. At present I tend to post much more quickly when a topic is "hot", i.e. when something somewhere catches my attention and when I feel I have something to say on it. One of the values of that approach is that new thoughts emerge in unexpected places; I would not have predicted that I would have written an article on The Passion of the Christ at the beginning of 2004, but it emerged from the repeated blogging on other people's views, which I thought all too often were sloppy and misinformed.

With the rapid increase in the number of biblioblogs (and related), I look forward to the NT Gateway blog's continuing evolution into something that is more distinctively my own and less simply something I do as a kind of service to the academic community. When it was just a handful of us drawing attention to the interesting items out there, one could not help feeling something of an obligation to blog on something that was NT related. Much less so now.

Typically, I began talking about Stephen and have now continued with myself. So let me get back to the Hypotyposeis 2004 retrospective. I appreciated the following reflections on the e-lists:
For many years, I found mailing lists to be a useful outlet, but the medium was not very conducive for the length of analyses I wanted to do. Rather, the mailing list is best for short, succinct critiques as well as keeping a pulse on the (mainly controversial) topics that people find interesting. However, mailing lists are only as good as the regular participants and even best groups need new blood from time to time or they will stagnate. Mailing lists run hot and cold too, and when they're hot there's sometimes an avalanche of mail that is just too overwhelming. Blogging seemed a better way to open up a forum for one's ideas to a wider range of interested people a more deliberative pace and without the interpersonal dynamics.
I have seen my own interest shift dramatically from the e-lists to blogging over the last year or so, and largely for the same reasons that Stephen gives. I still read the e-lists and occasionally contribute, and remain a fan of Xtalk, which would be my favourite list, but there is something frustrating about the way in which a thread with multiple contributions can easily drown a particularly detailed or nuanced contribution. On the whole, I can't help thinking that bloggerdom is going to attract more of the top notch scholars than the e-lists have ever been able to.

It is good also to see Stephen add his five top posts (or series of posts), following other bloggers who have done the same. Like me, Stephen annotates the list.

Stephen also comments on his disappointments and frusrations of unfinished extended reviews. I can understand and sympathise with this, not only because all three he specifically mentions are of particular interest to me, but also because I find a similar thing happening regularly, perhaps most clearly when someone posts a useful response to something I've blogged and I don't get the time to follow up on it, as for example in one of the very areas Stephen mentions in his own top five, re. A Throttle to Knowledge, where my entry ends with "comments in due course". But blogging is imperfect, often spontaneous, is bound by the limits of time and energy we have at any given time, and that vitality is also one of its joys.

No comments: