Bibliogians and Bibliology

Bibliogians and Bibliology May 16, 2015

Pete Enns wrote a blog post pointing out that, while there is a one word answer to the question “What do you do for a living?” that philosophers, theologians, historians, physicists, and other academics can give, if your field is Biblical studies, there is no equivalent term – you have to say something like “Biblical scholar.”

And so he has coined a new word, and proposes that we be called bibliogians©.

Presumably that makes the field we study bibliology.

What do you think of this proposed terminology? I’m not sure whether he intends for it to seriously catch on, but I think it could. But do you think it should? Why or why not?



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  • A one word term for somebody who studies the book?

    How about “bookie”?


    • ccws

      Hello, my name is Sparky [Hello, Sparky] and I am a Bookaholic – and I don’t WANT to be cured!

  • ccws

    I’m not sure it’s an improvement. Any Bible scholar worth his/her salt has to wear so many different hats – historian, linguist, archaeologist, literary critic, student of comparative religion, and usually (but not always) theologian (just to name a few) – that it would just obfuscate things.

    • ccws

      It also occurred to me after I posted this that the word “bibliology” might already be in use academically, and here’s what I found (Webster’s):

      Definition of BIBLIOLOGY
      1 : the history and science of books as physical objects : bibliography
      2 often capitalized : the study of the theological doctrine of the Bible

      So it’s confusing on both levels – he wants to use it for a specific “book/library,” and it’s already in use to cover a specific aspect of scholarship on the subject. So he’d end up having to explain himself anyway…

  • Tim Bulkeley

    Well, biblioblog caught on, despite the fact that what we study is ta bibblia so perhaps…

  • I had never thought of this before. Are biblical scholars different than other scholars. Would there be a similar problem with someone who studies Greek philosophers, for example? Some of them would consider themselves historians, some linguists, some philosophers, depending upon the basis of their study. Do biblical scholars combine fields of study in ways that other scholars of ancient literature do not?

    • Biblical scholars tend to be a lot like Classicists, inasmuch as we deal with a field of ancient literature from a wide array of perspectives, including archaeology, history, literature, and linguistics.

      The suggestion that we need a new name was made somewhat tongue in cheek, I believe. Enns’ main concern was that saying “Biblical scholar” sounds like it could be boasting – inserting ‘scholar’ where other scholars don’t need to.

      • Maybe biblical scholars could be Classicists. Then if anyone asks for details, you could discuss your specialty in Biblical literature.

        • New Testament/early Christianity could be folded into Classics. But Classics tends to focus not so much on works in Greek and Latin, as works by Greeks and Romans. And so perhaps Jewish studies would be a better fit? Hebrew Bible could fit there, or in Ancient Near Eastern studies. Of course, we could just lump all of these together under the heading of ancient languages, literature, and history. But then that becomes unwieldy and so we are looking for ways to subdivide things again.

      • Nick G

        That reminds me of the squib (with which I don’t necessarily agree) that any field which has to put “science” in its name, isn’t one.

  • AmbassadorHerald

    What about the term Biblicist? I use this term and I like it. Bibliogian could work, but sounds odd as a word. And Bibliology doesn’t seem to give the impression that you want it to.

    • Biblicist sounds like someone entangled in the sin of biblicism, which is not what we’re looking for…

      • AmbassadorHerald

        For anything to be a sin, it must be a crime against God. How is Biblicism a sin?

        • It is idolatry. It treats the work of human hands as though it had attributes like inerrancy which belong to God alone.

          • AmbassadorHerald

            So, in your opinion, the Ten Commandments are inerrant?

          • No – I am guessing you say that because you accept without evidence the story claiming they were written with God’s own hand? And so presumably for you the alternate version of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 34 are not inerrant?

          • AmbassadorHerald

            So, if the Ten Commandments are faulty, why do you use faulty laws to condemn a position?

          • You seem to have only two categories – “God said it, and thus it is inerrant,” and “humans said it, therefore it is wrong.” I disagree with that premise.

          • AmbassadorHerald

            Merriam-Webster defines it as “free from error”. Well, if something is not free from error, then it is able to be in error. If the Ten Commandments could have errors in them, how do you know they are safe to use?

          • I don’t presume ancient commands are “free from error” or “safe to use.” Rather, I find the argument against idolatry as made by human theologians to be compelling.

          • AmbassadorHerald

            But you do not believe The Ten Commandments were written by Yahweh’s finger, you do not believe Jesus was divine and therefore made mistakes, and do not believe Yahweh gave us a book to learn about Himself. So, just what God do you believe in and how do we know about him/her/it?

          • I suggest you start with the many posts I have already written about what I believe and why, over the past decade, and then if you actually manage to find a question I have not already amswered, then it would be appropriate to ask.

          • AmbassadorHerald

            Do you have any recommendations for where I should start reading?

          • Why not start with tags and keyword searches related to what you want to know?

          • AmbassadorHerald

            I have done so and my only real comment on your beliefs is that you and I are in two completely different religions.