Larry Hurtado on Scholarship and Blogging.
I’ve been puzzled in recent days by some readers whose comments suggest that they expect that sound scholarly analysis of serious historical questions can be conveyed persuasively in blog-postings and/or replies to comments. There seems to be some notion that they shouldn’t have to read books and articles, plow through the data, etc. So, they ask a question; I respond briefly and point them to some book or article for fuller and more adequate discussion; but then the responses sometimes suggest the folk posing the questions really can’t be bothered. Yet they often seem to have firm opinions on the issues involved, challenging me to dislodge them to their satisfaction. So, I think it’s well to try some clarification of things here. Scholarly work intended to have an impact on the field isn’t done in blogging. The amount of data, its complexity, the analysis and argumentation involved, and the engagement with the work of other scholars that forms an essential feature of scholarly work all require more space than a few hundred words of a blog-posting, or a few paragraphs of blog-comment. So, it’s rather unrealistic (not to say bizarre) for some commenters to assume otherwise.
I recently commented on Facebook that my colleagues and I have spent many years acquiring information (sometimes 8–14 hrs per day in class or the divinity library studying, reading, working with the Greek/Hebrew/Aramaic texts, and writing research papers, etc…). Thus, it is sometimes a bit disconcerting when those who usually just want to argue ask us to disseminate this information to their liking in 5 minutes or less in a blog or FB post. As Hurtado says, “blogging is [only] for disseminating BASIC results of scholarly work.”
Good observations on Hurtado’s part!