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New Hebrew Bible Web Forum Online: Palimpsest

16th August 2005

My friend Jim Linville at the University of Lethbridge up here in sunny Alberta has launched a new web forum on the Hebrew Bible called “Palimpsest: Conversations on the Hebrew Bible.”

The aim of the forum can be best represented by quoting from its “Manual of Discipline” or general guidelines:

Palimpsest is hosted by the University of Lethbridge and is open to the wider internet community for the open and free exchange of ideas within the broad scope of the critical interpretation of the Hebrew Bible. It is, therefore, open to the scholar, the student and others interested in the biblical texts and the academic work done on it.

It is about the Bible as a collection of ancient writings whose first relevance is in the ancient world in which it was produced. Within that framework, discussions are welcome on a myriad of topics: from the historical to the very literary, from positing new theories to brainstorming on an issue, or commenting on published work.

On the other hand, Palimpsest is not about theology, the confrontation of “faith” and “science” in evaluating the veracity of biblical texts, or the Bible as the property of modern religious groups. Of course, Palimpsest is also not about belittling other people’s religion or dismissing any perceived category of scholarship or intellectual thought!

Scholarship progresses both through constructive criticism and co-operative brainstorming. This forum is intended to be a venue for both avenues. Although there is no “peer-review” of posts on this forum, posters should conduct themselves according to the standards of academic integrity and honesty in place in refereed journals. We expect all posters to help maintain a friendly atmosphere even in the midst of disagreements and to avoid making any kind of inflammatory, insulting, or discriminatory comments. Misrepresentation of other people’s views (e.g., the straw man fallacy) is to be avoided as is the dismissing of other’s work because of their real or perceived religious, ideological, political, or national affiliations.

In general, it is hoped that Palimpsest can grow successfully without having to define a lot of specific rules. The Administrator reserves the right to review all policies and to implement new formal rules in response to unacceptable behaviour, and suggestions by the membership. Your input and comments are more than welcome!

There are a number of interesting forum areas set up within it, like biblical interpretation, history of Israel, Pedagogy, Reference and Review, and even an “Odds and Sods” section for more humorous posts (I definitely won’t be posting there! :-) .

Of interest to those engaged in the recent discussion on the Biblical Studies list on history of Israel scholarship, there is a subsection in the History of Israel area entitled, “The State of the Guild.” It’s description is as follows:

Is there hope of a unified voice on how to disagree politely? What action, if any, is justified against authors or publishers who rely on invective or ad hominem attacks on other scholars? Or is everything fine? Are the scholarly societies helping or inadvertently censoring the free flow of ideas? What are the boundaries of the scholarly approach?

I encourage you to check this new forum out.

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