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Archive for December, 2009

The Future of Biblical Studies Carnivals

2nd December 2009

Doug Chaplin has uploaded Biblical Studies Carnival XLVIII over at Clayboy. He did a great job with the Carnival once again. In a follow-up post today he raises some good question about the future of the Biblical Studies Carnivals. His concerns are nothing new; I have raised them a number of times before. The basic problem is that monthly Carnivals are just too onerous for the typical blogger to do.

Doug presents a three directions the Carnival could go:

  1. No change (I see this as problematic)
  2. Rely on Biblical Studies Carnival submissions (either via the BSC submission page or email), rather than the hosts being responsible to troll the blogosphere for the contents of the Carnival.
  3. Have the host do a theme post with people commenting.

In addition, Mike Kok commented about the possibility of dividing the carnival (a New Testament and a Hebrew Bible one, for instance).

In my mind, the second option is the only real live option. The first option is not viable. The Carnivals are too much work and too big (if you look back through my regular call for hosts, you will see I have regularly noted this). A Carnival is supposed to be a collection of links with commentary on a common topic (in this case biblical studies). When you start getting more than a hundred links, it is just too big. One month is also quite a long period in the blogosphere, so perhaps more frequent Carnivals?

The third option is, well, problematic because such a post is not a Carnival. I’m not saying that it is not a good idea; it is just not what a carnival is.  Mike’s idea of splitting the Carnival is a possibility, although I am not interested in too much specialization. I personally am far more interested in integration and having the various sub-disciplines within biblical studies talk to each other.

My proposal is thus:

  • Have Biblical Studies Carnivals twice a month. This will cut down on the workload and make the Carnivals more relevant and useful.
  • Keep the focus on academic biblical studies. The host is the editor and one of his/her jobs is to keep the Carnival on track; if something is submitted that is not deemed on target, then it gets ignored.
  • Focus primarily on nominated submissions. It is not possible for a typical blogger to be apprised of everything that is going on in connection with biblical studies on the blogosphere. Few if any of us keep on top of all of the people that blog in the area of biblical studies. This will also mean that there is no reason for someone to feel put out because his or her post was not mentioned. We all will have to do a better job submitting links to the Carnival; but I am sure once we get used to the idea it will work well (because there is an unwritten expectation that the host will gather links, most people do not submit posts regularly — I know because I take care of the email account!).

What do you think? Eventually we could move to weekly Carnivals, but twice a month seems like a better plan for now.

If this seems like a good idea, then let’s go for it. Since I am the host of the next Carnival, I will rely solely on nominated links. Since I am the coordinator of the Biblical Studies Carnivals I will only pick hosts that agree to this new procedure (having someone host who doesn’t rely only on submissions would be subversive since it wouldn’t help train people to submit their own posts or those they like).

Let me know what you think!

Posted in Biblical Studies Carnival | 13 Comments »