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<< Return to SBL Forum Archive Welcome to the Biblical Studies Carnival

Everyone loves a carnival, or so the saying goes. But those who are not regular readers of various biblical studies blogs likely have no idea what a "Biblical Studies Carnival" is.

Before I remedy that situation, perhaps I should back up even further. For those who are unaware, "blog" is short for "weblog," which is an active web page or online journal where someone, with the help of blogging software, regularly posts personal reflections and opinions, news items, interesting links, reviews, among other things. The entries are displayed in reverse chronological order, so that the most recent information is listed first. Biblical studies blogs (also known as "biblioblogs") are weblogs that post predominantly — though not exclusively — on topics relating to biblical studies. Posts on a biblioblog include short notes or more substantial essays on biblical topics; links to news items of interest to biblical studies, with or without commentary; notices and reviews of biblical studies books and articles, software, film, and multimedia; reports from academic conferences and lectures; reflections on pedagogy and method; as well as sundry personal musings. Some biblical studies blogs have a narrow focus and post almost exclusively on one topic, while others, like my own blog, "Codex: Biblical Studies Blogspot," tend to be more eclectic and post on a wide variety of topics relating to biblical studies and cognate areas. For a more extensive introduction to biblical studies blogging, see the previous SBL Forum article, "Assimilated to the Blogosphere: Blogging Ancient Judaism," by James R. Davila. There is also a directory of biblical studies blogs at

One of the present challenges with blogging in general, and biblical studies blogging in particular, is the exponential growth in the number of blogs on the web. The blog search engine Technorati is currently tracking 63.2 million blogs. While only a very small — even infinitesimal — percentage of these blogs may be considered biblical studies blogs, the number of biblioblogs is growing at such a rate that it is difficult to keep track of them all. Enter the Biblical Studies Carnival.

A "blog carnival" is a blog post where a host blogger links to and sums up the best blog articles in a given subject area over a specific period of time. The host typically rotates among a number of different bloggers, thereby ensuring diversity and different perspectives in the subject area. Some carnival hosts will group entries following different themes, while others go through the entries in order of submission. There are regular blog carnivals on a whole host of subjects, many of which may be of interest to readers of this article. One of the best places to see what carnivals are up and running is to check out , which indexes and tracks almost one thousand blog carnivals. The "Biblical Studies Carnival" is a monthly blog carnival showcasing the best of weblog posts in the area of academic biblical studies. By "academic biblical studies" we mean:

  • Posts must represent an academic approach to the discipline of biblical studies rather than, for instance, a devotional approach. This does not mean that posts have to be written by an academic, PhD, or professor — amateurs are more than welcome! Nor does it mean that posts must take an historical critical approach — methodological variety is also encouraged.

  • Posts should also be broadly focused on the discipline of biblical studies and cognate disciplines, including ancient Near East, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Christian Origins/New Testament, Intertestamental/Second Temple literature (e.g., LXX, Dead Sea Scrolls, Philo, and Josephus), Patristics, Biblical Criticisms and Hermeneutics, Biblical Studies and popular culture, among other things.

In addition, the Biblical Studies Carnival serves to highlight a variety of blogs — from well known to lesser known. Biblical Studies as a discipline has a long and distinguished history. We hope that each carnival represents something of this heterogenous past by showcasing a wide range of blogs and topics so that there is always something for everyone. All blogs are welcome to submit relevant posts to the Carnival. In this way, the Carnival is an excellent way to let others know about a blog readers frequent or gain readership to a new blog.

The first Biblical Studies Carnival was hosted by Joel Ng, at the now defunct Ebla Logs, in April 2005. The Biblical Studies Carnival lay dormant for almost a year until it was resurrected in February 2006. Since then, there have been regular Biblical Studies Carnivals published each month by different bloggers, as well as a special "Best of 2006" edition.

Those who have not read many biblical studies blogs and want an introduction to some of the best posts in the area of academic biblical studies are encouraged to check out an edition of the Biblical Studies Carnival today:

There are other carnivals that may interest readers of this article, including Carnivalesque, a monthly blog carnival dedicated to pre-modern history. A recent newcomer in a field related to biblical studies is the quarterly Patristics Carnival, initiated by Phillip Snider at his hyperekperissou blog.

A listing of past and future Biblical Studies Carnivals, as well as other valuable information about the Carnival, may be consulted at the Biblical Studies Carnival Homepage. Readers with a blog devoted to academic biblical studies are encouraged to submit a post to the next Biblical Studies Carnival. If not, why not start a biblioblog blog today?

Happy blogging!

Tyler F. Williams, Taylor University College and Seminary

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Citation: Tyler F. Williams, " Welcome to the Biblical Studies Carnival," SBL Forum , n.p. [cited March 2007]. Online:


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