April 26, 2005

A Biblical Studies Wiki?

Mark Goodacre's blog entry on online glossaries for biblical studies raises an intriguing notion to me. When I think of the folks I read on B-Greek, Xtalk, Synoptic-L, other lists and Bibliobloggers as well, it makes me wonder about the possibility of a Bible Dictionary Wiki. What incredible potential really. Problem is, the push of users to suppress alternative viewpoints, would potentially make entries little more than a battleground of agendas. But, is something extra needed? Have a look at the Wikipedia entry for Synoptic Problem. I rather think it's quite good. However, having a look at the Biblical Criticism category shows a paltry 39 random entries. It makes me think that a new endeavour would be worthwhile. However, Wikis work in bulk. They work best as a consensus affirms new edits to a text, and in the absence of a critical mass to assess the wiki entries, who knows what would sometimes rise to the top. It would take some diligent person(s) also present to quickly erase graffiti or grossly errant editing--I have a person in mind.


Stephen C. Carlson said...

Thanks for noticing. The Wikipedia article on the synoptic problem was based on an old essay of mine on my synoptic problem homepage that I later superseded. It's not plagiarism because I was the one who donated it to the Wikipedia.

Joe Weaks said...

No wonder I thought it was rather good. :)
Wikis can be set up to give credit. But, once it has been edited enough, the original poster won't want their name associated with it, assuredly.
Perhaps, in light of the ongoing discussions about the availability of articles and dissertations on the web, a nice parallel would be an index of topics similar to what you find in ABD, but the contents of which are links to online material availablle in various sources.

Tim said...

Actually a group of us are looking at doing something like this but in a less "open source" and more conventional scholarship way. The Wiki will only be open to authorised authors, and material would not go live till peer-reviewed, so that authors will get credit for their publication. Users will therefore get information that has more assured provenance. Though, of course, we will miss out on some of the advantages of instant updateability and community contribution.

(I don't know how much I should mention here, as we are still at the planning stage... That's why I have not really blogged much about the project.)

Peter Kirby said...

I should note the underway TheoWiki project, which has dozens of people registered for it already and a couple megabytes of articles. There's no need to fragment our efforts any more than they are already (i.e., there is the question whether these efforts should really just be rolled back into wikipedia). Joe Weaks, I would be happy to make you or a person you nominate (or both) an administrator there. (Sorry for noticing this so late.)