Let me add some related thoughts. Anumma articulates his goals for this project as one that:
- is freely available online;
- is historical- and literary-critical in focus (as is a Coogan or a Collins, say; in other words, not a “theological introduction” narrowly reflecting the concerns of faith communities or other readerly social contexts);
- is authored by a socially diverse body of contributors.
Now, the advantages of beginning with what is already available on the net are several:
- No re-inventing the wheel is necessary. Where excellent and diverse resources already exist, freely available on the net, one may as well work to those strengths rather than attempting, at every point, to create new resources.
- There is a huge psychological boost in working with existing resources rather than beginning from scratch. A new project can be hugely daunting. Working collaboratively to develop existing resources, to organize, to add, to fill in areas that are lacking -- this can be encouraging and fulfilling.
- It is much, much cheaper than beginning from scratch.
- It is much less labour intensive than beginning from scratch.
- It is easier to harness the great advantage of the internet in being fully multi-media. You can pull in a range of resources, prose paper, website, podcasts, video clips and so on without the need to develop new websites, to begin recording new audio and new video.
- As children of our age, we are unduly impressed by what is new. But sometimes, in scholarship, the old is good. The advantage of a dynamic approach to this issue is that it enables us to draw from the storehouse both old and new.