The blogosphere, when used incorrectly, is a relatively anonymous place to say nasty things about the ideas and character of others. At its best the blogosphere confronts us with ideas that are different from our's and occasionally leads us to blogs we never would have found without the references of others.
Consider this: John Shuck and I aren't exactly in the same theological camp. Actually that's like saying that the solar system is part of the Pinwheel Galaxy (go ahead, look it up!). I think John would agree that we have rather different theological ideas but somehow we still manage to get along. I won't try to define John as I'm not sure even John can define John!
BUT it was on John's blog that I first saw a reference to Dr. April DeConnick, expert in early Christian literature, both that which later became orthodox and that which did not become orthodox and some stuff that was always really way out there. Dr. DeConnick persuaded me to buy a couple of her books, not by recommendation but rather by her writings on her blog. So now I know more about the Gospel of Judas (and the disagreements about it) than I ever expected to know. I read regular posts about this and that Gnostic group and pleas that all scholars who actually want to do scholarship on early Christian literature must also learn Coptic. (And I thought I was uneducated because I never learned Latin and I've let my Hebrew slip!) She continues to plan and schedule conferences that I am unable to attend (she is in Houston TX and I am in Philadelphia PA) and recommend papers that will be read at the meetings of the Society for Biblical Literature which I can also not attend. How could I ever explain to the Session that hearing papers on obscure Gnostic texts will somehow help the congregation?
Yesterday Dr. DeConnick recommended a new blog by a colleague of her's from England Larry Hurtado who's specialty is Textual Criticism and other things pertaining to it. Someone named David commented on one of Dr. Hurtado's blog posts which directed me to an old book. Which brings us to the part where I talk about the internet.
One of the nicest things about the internet is that you can find just about anything information you want if you just put the right words together in a web search. That, BTW is how I found the Pinwheel Galaxy. I just googled galaxy names and found a list. On a more serious note David mentioned a book that is an absolute must have for those who are interested in how to do Textual Criticism, The New Testament in the Original Greek: Introduction and Appendix by Hort and Westcott, the folks who really turned Textual Criticism into a science (and who list every possible text available to them in their texual notes in their Greek New Testament). Fortunately their book is old enough to be in the public domain and I am in the process of downloading it right now (it's over 29 mbs). I plan to read this baby on my vacation this summer (which confuses my children and amuses my wife). It seems that libraries are scanning their older texts and placing them online in PDF format. If one is a student at a registered school one already has free access to all kinds of papers available online. Now the books are becoming available too. BTW you can find Mark Twain free online too. So don't neglect that celebrated jumping frog!
And I wouldn't have found Hort and Westcott's book if I hadn't been reading John Shuck's blog which referred to Dr. Deconnick, who referred to Dr. Hurtado on who's blog David commented and made a reference to Hort and Westcott. Thank you John and Dr. Deconnick and Dr. Hurtado (who's blog I have added to my bookmarks) and David!
Who would have thought that when Al Gore invented the internet :) that it would be a scholarly resource for theologians and Biblical scholars and people like me who think reading such is fun! And for free too! As a Scottish immigrant who is a member of Tully Memorial (she's 92 and going strong) says, "There's no point in being Scottish unless you work at it!" Free literature is where it's at!
6 more mbs to go! Have fun out there on the internet ya'll. And be careful out there!
Just a few years ago