A Hebrew Bible/Old Testament scholar looks at the Bible and culture…

Choosing the Conversation

There’s an argument/debate going on among those who blog on the Bible (bibliobloggers) about why women haven’t been making it into the top 50 list.  April DeConick has taken on the quest of promoting the work of female bloggers and is encouraging others to do the same.

I appreciate April’s zeal and encourage support of all blogs that have something interesting to say.

But the popularity of my blog doesn’t motivate me to write. Of course I want readers, but what I really want is to find out if anyone cares about the questions I’m asking and wants to join me in conversation.  What I’m talking about matters to me.  And I want to spend my time here talking with other people for whom it matters rather than having debates with other bloggers about the justice of our rankings.

While I teach and speak on diverse aspects of biblical texts, what I’m interested in right now is the literary/ideological dimensions of texts and how paying attention to those dimensions can help people talk about their own experiences.  I respect people who talk about historical dimensions of the Bible, and I carry out historical work myself.  But, in my blog, I’m interested in how the Bible is playing out in the public square and hoping (maybe naively) that I can get some public discussion started about the Bible as meaningful literature.



2 Responses to Choosing the Conversation

  • Of course I want readers, but what I really want is to find out if anyone cares about the questions I’m asking and wants to join me in conversation. What I’m talking about matters to me.

    My read of several blogs by male writers in particular is that they do long for popularity and a wide audience. My guess from reading April DeConick’s post is that she’s more like you, much interested in conversations about matters of her work.

    The critical issue, nonetheless, is the problem of gender blindness at best and of sexism at worst. Does gender matter in bibliooblogging? Is maleness unmarked and masculinity the defaut? Will inequalities just evolve away if left unchecked? Won’t we all – girls and boys alike – have lost much if our answers to these questions tend to be negative, or if we avoid asking them?

  • Of course gender matters. It affects what we (m and f and other) write about, what we care about, how we write, how we relate to one another. I’ve spent a large portion of my life arguing this case and in pointing out how it does matter. But the question is whether the matter is as simple as male unwillingness to read/support women bloggers. I think it’s bigger than that. Personally (perhaps due to my gender socialization) I find it frustrating that the prime way to generate interest in the Bible still is to get an argument going between scholars. I support what April’s doing, but she’s also following a path pretty well-worn by others: start a controversy to get people’s attention. As I’ve been talking about in my blog, the criterion of sensationalism is getting old.

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