- The New Testament Gateway
- iTanakh: Resources for Academic Study
- K.C. Hanson’s Homepage
- The Orion Center for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Associated Literature
For the study of the NT, the choice is extremely easy. Bart Ehrman (2004) recommends this site in his work The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings as his only Web resource, stating that it is one of the few that “will be around for a very long time and which provides trustworthy scholarly information” (xxix). There is little disagreement on this point. The New Testament Gateway is an exceptionally good resource and can be recommended with very little reservation . . .And so on. All very encouraging stuff. But Mitchell appears to be a thoughtful and critical observer, and he makes the following remarks that require some serious thinking:
. . . . This site is easily the best resource for biblical studies on the Web, even if simply as a gateway to other sites, and it is constantly evolving. Secondary materials are continually being added to the Weblog section . . . .
The recurrent problem with this site, if it can be called such, is that it is ultimately the work of a single person. Thus, “energy” issues are the only shortcoming as the sheer number of links inevitably results in some dead or broken ones no matter how energetic or dedicated Goodacre is. (Some links to the University of Birmingham remain.) Goodacre is a publishing NT scholar with full-time teaching duties and is also serving as the series editor of the Library of New Testament Studies. The credentials that make him well suited to create such a site must also make him occasionally wonder about the number of hours available in a given day for what is, all accolades aside, a professional service.In the past I have tended to answer points like this by reasserting my energy levels and saying that I continue enjoy working on the NT Gateway, and that the enjoyment is the stimulus to continue. Ultimately, though, that answer is of course inadequate. The sheer volume of on-line resources now makes it virtually impossible to keep up with everything, and I have to prioritise. It is no longer the case that one can cover the majority of good academic NT resources available free-for-all on the net, which was certainly the situation for the first few years of the site. And as the internet resources expand, my time to spend on the site diminishes. There is an academic career curve whereby one becomes ever more busy as one becomes better known, and every day more requests for one's time are made. I am actually quite good at saying "no" these days, but even then I have decreasing amounts of time to spend on the site, which I regret. A site that is so closely associated with just one person's efforts is only as good as that person's efforts. If the NT Gateway is still going to be around, and still found useful, for years to come, it's important to think about the future.
The internet keeps on changing, and it is important to change with it if one's site is to stay current, to take advantage of new ways of doing things if a site is to mature. Blogging has definitely helped me with maintaining the NT Gateway, not least because the blog combines several elements that I was doing on the main site in a more clumsy way, e.g. Featured Links, Logbook and so on. When I began this blog three and a half years ago, I folded several of those elements into the blog. But what is next? What current trends on the net could help with the development of the NT Gateway? Given the issues mentioned above, there is no question now that the NT Gateway is only going to survive in good shape if elements of collaboration are added. For the NT Gateway to get bigger, I need to get smaller.
Over the coming months, I will be exploring ways of adding more collaborative features to the site. I would like at least some Wiki functionality so that people can go in and correct a broken link, for example, rather than emailing me to change it. There are, of course, issues about going wiki, and one of them is quality control. But I am not worried about that. My role would become more overseeing, and I can devote my time to that role. Nor would I simply open up the site to everyone indiscriminately. The big question, though, is how to achieve added wiki functionality. If I were starting the site from scratch, it would be straightforward. But it is much less straightforward to add wiki functionality to an existing site, especially one as large as the NT Gateway. I am still at the exploration stage with this, but I will be reporting back as time goes on. I have accepted an invitation to speak to the Computer Assisted Research Group at the SBL Annual Meeting in November on the future for internet resources on the NT, and I hope to have made significant progress on the transformation by then.