Blogging Temples (and Jim Davila the Prophet)

Blogging Temples (and Jim Davila the Prophet) October 15, 2015

Jim Davila has been highlighting how the New York Times has been backtracking on and correcting an article which engaged in the common denialist tactic of treating diverse scholarly views about specific details as though it were evidence that the existence of the very thing under investigation were in doubt – in this case, in relation to the existence of temples on the temple mount in Jerusalem. I thought his final note about the role of scholarly blogs in relation to the media deserves to be shared. Here is what he wrote:

“In 2005 I published an essay about blogging on the SBL Forum website in which I predicted that there would come a time when:

… any professional news story will be subject to immediate criticism by experts and eyewitnesses; these worthwhile responses will be indexed next to the story itself by intelligent software; and everyone will know to check for them. The emergent order we can see developing around us even now will let the cream rise to the top and hold the media (and bloggers!) accountable for their every word as soon as it is uttered.

And I have further comments on the subject in a 2010 SBL paper. We aren't there yet, but we're getting closer.”

In addition to Jim's comments above and in the article and paper he links to, see the piece in The Conversation about the role of bloggers in the investigation of the Gospel of Jesus' Wife.


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  • arcseconds

    The ‘intelligent software’ thing sounds great!

    But I wonder whether we have the infrastructure and the cultural orientation to do this.

    I’m not talking about the technological infrastructure. It really does not require much in the way of software innovation: if an appropriate organisation wanted to do this, they could make it happen tomorrow.

    (It might require some sophistication if you wanted a search engine to work out who the experts are automatically somehow, but if you wanted something like this you could just get human beings to work out who the expert bloggers are and maintain lists manually)

    However, I think it would take a significant change in the attitude of news organisations. Rather than being self-sufficient instructors of the public, they would have to start seeing themselves more as conduits to experts, which may take the form of reprocessing expert opinion in a traditional news story, but also just linking directly to expert opinion.

    And if they keep up the current fad for ‘balanced’ reporting meaning being indifferent between two sides, no matter how crazy one of them is, one might expect such links to include Carrier and Answers in Genesis.

    (Some other organisation could do this: track both the news and the expert opinion… not easy to penetrate the market, one suspects, though. Suppose Google could do it.)