Friday, April 20, 2012

Bart's Blog

Bart Ehrman has started a blog - CIA. I don't know what he says because you have to pay $24.95 for the privilege.


  1. In fact, you can read part of what he has to say here:

    However, he says, "I have lots to say about this remarkable announcement, some of which I will say here in this public forum and some of which I will reserve for my membership site."

    One thing I do not understand is the following complaint by Bart, "The other thing I will say about this entire business is that publishing such a scrap as a book rather than in an academic journal where claims can be evaluated and reassessed by real scholars in the field is a very poor way to promote scholarship."

    Following the discussion and link that Bart provides, anyone can gather that this fragment and several other early important papyri will be published in a Brill volume (hopefully in a year). So what is the problem with editio princeps in "Brill monograph form"?

    I think that Bart can probably guess that we are talking about items from the Green collection which have been entrusted to various scholars who are working on editions. Perhaps this is mentioned in the private members area.

  2. Indeed, Tommy. Somehow the statement sounds as if the book is not written by real scholars in Bart's view. Seriously, would Brill publish such a book? So yes, I do not understand his complain either.

  3. It sounds like a reference to the peer review procedures of journals. Also, the 25 bones is for charity. Your comment sounds like there is personal enrichment going on.

  4. Jeremiah, charity is good! (although personally I would hesitate in the case of blogs, esp. if scholarly discussion is intended).

  5. I mean I would hesitate to charge money for access.

  6. By the way, I assume in the case of a Brill volume that the publication will appear in a series (passing through the eyes of editors), but apparently it will not be the series that Bart and Eldon Epp edit (NTTSD). Probably it will be the one edited by Stan Porter where other editions have appeared recently.

  7. If I understand what Ehrman is saying, the only real scholarship in early MSS is the one that takes place in journals rather than books, because journals are peer reviewed whereas books are not (Ehrman ignores the point that books are normally peer reviewed AFTER they are published).
    Two points:
    1. Most of what Ehrman writes is in book form - so we are now free to dismiss what he writes as it was not peer reviewed prior to publishing
    2. We can save ourselves a bit of money and not buy access to his website - after all, everything he writes in it has not been peer reviewed

    Matthew Hamilton

  8. Maybe I'm just new to the publishing world, but it seems mind-blowing to think that publications of such magnitude with an academic publisher would not pass before the critical eyes of several specialist scholars before publication! At least the main editors would take a look at. I would also suspect that the co-contributors would have shared material and offered constructive criticism. And is it standard practice to have book transcripts read by critical reviewers before publication?

  9. Re Jeremiah's comment. This is a pay to view blog. It doesn't matter to me what the blogger does with the money he earns from blogging. It is a money-making ploy.
    At least we can be confident that Bart's scholarly ideas will appear in peer-reviewed journals.

  10. So far we've resisted cashing in on the immense popularity of this ETC blog.

  11. @DrWasserman I'm guessing the blog is not going to be geared towards scholars anyway, since the sole purpose is to raise money for charity. It would make sense for him to keep things along the lines of his popular level books. I do resonate somewhat with the frustration as I'm interested to hear what is said regardless of the intended audience, but I don't think the blog warrants any cynicism.

    @DrHead My only problem with where it is being published has to do with the publisher!

  12. Charging for access to a blog (no matter the beneficiary) is a death sentence for discussion and open inquiry. It will probably only ensure that those vehemently in agreement with or opposition to Ehrman will bother shelling out the money, which will distort things.