Friday, December 16, 2005

SBL Forum

There's a new issue of the SBL Forum available, for December 2005:

SBL Forum Vol. 3, No.11: December 2005
Strategies for Moving Students from Faith-based to Academic Biblical Studies
by Mary Bader

Is God Bipolar or Are We Just Crazy? A Psychology and Biblical Studies Section Report: Personality, Aggression, and the Destructive Power of Religion
by Daniel J. Gaztambide

A New Program Unit: Religious Experience in Early Judaism and Early Christianity
by Nicolae Roddy

Bible Literacy Polls
by Leonard Greenspoon

Review of "The Bible and Its Influence"
by Steven L. McKenzie

Bookends Review: Bibliographic Software For Mac
by Danny Zacharias
As a member of the advisory board, I have been lobbying now for the last eighteen months or so for several simple things that in my opinion will improve the journal:

(1) Archives of previous issues. The individual articles are still available, but there is nowhere to browse through previous issues. I think that this acts as a disincentive to scholars to write for the forum -- articles are not "visible" for long enough. I think it would be useful to have specific issue archives, e.g. a link to "previous issues" on the first page, then an archive page with links to each issue and contents pages.

(2) More letters and reader comments should be encouraged since this will make it feel more like a "forum".

(3) Contact details: providing contact details would encourage people to get in touch, to contribute their own materials without every article having to be invited, as at present. Many newspapers, journals etc. have email addresses at the bottom of each article to encourage people to get in touch; but the forum should really have some contact details prominently. Indeed,
if you click "contact us" on the main page (bottom), it takes you to a page that doesn't even mention the forum.

So far I have not had any success on these, but I've had some encouragement that (1) at least is in process.

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