A Blog-Based Consensus?

A Blog-Based Consensus? September 22, 2015

Andrew Bernhard has shared his analysis of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife, showing the likelihood that the forger used Mike Grondin’s online interlinear of the Gospel of Thomas, on both Mark Goodacre’s and Bart Ehrman’s blogs.

What struck me most was his reference to there appearing to be a consensus on the matter among scholars.

There have been two journal issues dedicated to the subject, but most of the discussion has taken place in the blogosphere.

And so this seems to me quite possibly to be the first time that it has been possible to talk of a scholarly consensus achieved and arrived at primarily via blogs.

In fact, Candida Moss and Joel Baden have written an article for The Atlantic about the fact that scientists and humanists have been drawing different conclusions about the papyrus fragment.

I will be speaking about this topic at the upcoming York Christian Apocrypha Symposium, and the focus of my paper is the way blogging is changing scholarship, and how we make sure that the changes are for the better, using the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife as a test case. I firmly believe that the added speed that online interaction (especially, but not exclusively, blogging) makes possible can be truly positive thing – provided that we do not allow the added speed, and the smaller number of scholars who blog, lead us in unhelpful directions.

And so let me ask a key question: how do we make sure that discussions in the blogosphere involve the working towards consensus that historic scholarship involves? It seems to me that if one does a survey on blogs, one might find that rejection of the traditional two-source solution to the Synoptic is more common than it is in the academy as a whole. And so it is clear that the blogging scholars agree that the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife is a fake. How do we get from there to determining whether the rest of the scholarly community feels the same way?

This is a genuine question – and if you help me find the answer, your comment might be cited in my treatment of this subject!

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