Wednesday, October 20, 2010

ETC Blog Five Year Anniversary


Now in October, this blog has been around for five years. Actually, the founding father, Peter Williams, wrote the first blogpost on 14 Oct 2005, "What this blog is about".

A few days later Peter Head, now my co-editor of the blog, wrote his first main post on 26 October. However, he was present from the very beginning posting the first comment to the first post, in his characteristic way:

I think a white background would be more appropriate for an evangelical blog:
a) more echoes of positive biblical symbolism;
b) better approximation to brightness of original manuscripts (both parchment and papyrus);
c) better reflection of the history of the Bible as a published book;
d) I could probably read it without squinting.

Note, that this blog had a different lay-out in the beginning (hence, Peter's remarks), first briefly with a black background, but then with old burgundy and white letters (a combination which caused problems to some readers). You can see how it looked in the good old days here in the way back machine. As one can see, we were already in November, one month after the launch, a group of 11 ETC contributors.

In the end of 2006, blogmeister Williams was appointed the new warden of Tyndale House, and from about that time he handed over the main responsibility for the blog to Peter Head and myself, although we managed to persuade Pete to stay on the blogteam, which we are still very happy about.

Last year we made some serious updates and experiments with colors and design: here, here, here, and here. Most ETC bloggers and readers who expressed their opinions agreed that we should somehow keep the old burgundy, which gave this blog a distinct characteristic, and so it is still there in the header and the letters.

Over these years we have posted 1510 posts on various topics in textual criticism (and occasionally some other stuff). There have been discussions of manuscripts, passages, reviews, announcements of books, conference reports, quizzes, annual achievement awards, and many other things, not least a good deal of humour. Our circle of readers has steadily increased.

What are your own favourite ETC-blogposts? You can browse through the archives in the right sidebar to refresh your memory.


  1. Well doesn't time fly!

    Glad to be a 'founding father'. Feeling quite old now I'm 40.

    Yes, the initial choice of black background was wisely questioned by Peter Head.

    I had not planned to found the blog when I woke up that morning. It was a spur of the moment thing I did before dinner with Simon Gathercole.

  2. We are now 1/80 of the age of the KJV, but the number will be constantly increasing.

  3. Nice to have your comments here, revered blogfather.

    Actually, I am 40 too.

    What do you think when you read that very first blogpost, what the blog is about; has it developed in the way you expected?

  4. I can't remember much about my original expectations. I'm still happy with what I wrote back then.

    I guess I was not thinking that there would be hundreds of thousands of visits (I know that's small compared with many blogs, but not bad considering the relatively narrow focus and the level of technicality in some discussions). Nor was I expecting the range of followers and readers that I believe we have, nor to be cited in academic conferences and in publications.

    After some initial horrified reactions at the name, the blog has achieved a sense of identity and I hope that it has also broken down barriers that I thought existed previously.

    Previously, my impression was that there were evangelicals who appealed to doctrinal considerations but were typically of a Majority Text or TR persuasion. There were then those who were more persuaded by the general eclectic synthesis who were evangelicals but desperately didn't want to talk about doctrine for fear that it might suggest that they were not objective or truly scholarly.

    I hope that it is now clear that people who are unashamedly confessional can do serious scholarship, and that they do not feel that they need to take doctrinal discussion 'off line'.

    I'm glad that in certain areas some ETC scholars are second to none in expertise.

    But what of the next 5 years?

    It would be nice to see team blogs of this confessional kind in every area of biblical studies.

    It would be great to see more discussion of OT and more expertise on the OT. With apologies to my fellow bloggers, we don't yet have any world class OT TC folk, though I think we have people who are in the top few dozen for NT TC.

  5. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Pete!

  6. I would just like to offer a heart felt thank you to all of you who maintain this blog, and thank you to all who contribute postings. It is refreshing to have a place where scholarship can be discussed in an evangelical environment (to second Dr. Williams's statement). I look forward to the next five years. Let's see what's out there!

  7. Thanks Tommy for reminding us of this momentous event. We should have a competition to celebrate.

  8. Go ahead with a competition Pete!

  9. PJW:
    It would be great to see more discussion of OT and more expertise on the OT.

    OT TC is fundamentally different from NT TC. NT TC is predicated upon the nailing down of "The New Testament in The Original Greek."
    But this has already long since been done for the Hebrew OT. It's called the Masoretic Text, with fewer different editions in 1000 years than Nestle-Aland in 100--leaving us with nothing left to do but second-guess the Maroretes vis-a-vis the wild and fragmentary text of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

  10. White Man,
    I think that there's probably more work to do in OT TC than NT TC even if you believe that the MT is basically the required text.

    The reason for this is that we have no list of all Hebrew OT mss, only vague ideas how many there are, and certainly no sense in detail of how they are genetically related.

    Thus the amount of work to be done to define even what the Masoretic Text is as accurately as the data allow is absolutely massive.

    Moreover, even if one holds that MT is superior over other text forms (as I generally would hold) there is still a significant task to do in rationally accounting for all of the variations from that text that had currency before approximately AD 68.