Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

RE: [GTh] Are e-lists dying?

Expand Messages
  • David Hindley
    Hello Andrew, Yes, by my observation the decline of academic e-lists started around 2003, although there were signs of trouble before that. IMHO, the trouble
    Message 1 of 22 , Jun 24, 2008
    • 0 Attachment
      Hello Andrew,

      Yes, by my observation the decline of academic e-lists started around 2003, although there were signs of trouble before that. IMHO,
      the trouble seems to center on the issue of whether such lists should be for the accredited academic only, or serve a larger
      constituency including informed amateurs. Even on Crosstalk2 (XTalk), where membership represented a good cross-section of academics
      coming from all angles, and a considerable number of especially well informed amateurs, some professional academics found it
      annoying to deal with some of the amateurs. Some also did not want to discuss the philosophy of history as this got in the way of
      the fun stuff. This was exacerbated by a few especially large egos, most notable among the amateurs but not excluding a professional
      or two. "Wag-ism", a situation where supposedly witty posts are directed to "in-groups", and perhaps intended to freeze out those
      outside the intended group, became more common.

      The Christian Origins e-list started by William Arnal and Zeba Crook was, IMO, an extreme reaction by professionals who found some
      of the amateurs, end even a few of the professionals, intensely annoying. Not liking the way the game was being played on
      Crosstalk2, they took their ball and went home, forming their own list, and setting academic qualifications for full participation
      in discussion that few amateurs could meet (exceptions were made for a few). Interested amateurs received a 2nd tier membership, and
      must be content to watch real scholars discuss deep meaningful issues without muddying the waters with questions that betray their
      ignorance and lack of sophistication. Wasn't that what the Westar discussion group is/was all about? Last I heard, they were in a
      tizzy over the fact that conservative evangelicals have become more vocal at SBL meetings, both as presenters and listeners. I guess
      the sky really is falling ... I lost respect for several of the professionals who quickly jumped to this list and stopped posting on
      Crosstalk2 on account of this.

      Now it seems that everyone wants to blog. Because blogs are basically running commentaries, wags love them. I'm not saying every
      blogger is on an ego trip, but a lot of them (even the few really interesting ones) are pretty eccentric. Cleverness and witticisms
      become as important as the subject covered, it seems. I like to periodically check into a few, even when I don't always agree with
      the opinions expressed, especially if the blogger seems to be receptive to opinions other than his or her own. Personally, I do not
      like blogs as much as e-lists and consequently have refrained from large scale participation in them.

      Perhaps the lull in e-list interest is just a reflection of the times, with sociological roots in changes occurring in North
      American and Western cultures in general, and may change for the better in the future. I sure hope so. Many of the discussions were
      fun and informative, and prompted me (at least) to read the literature, investigate methodological questions, and gawd help me, bone
      up on the philosophy of history.

      Respectfully,

      Dave Hindley
      Newton Falls, Ohio USA


      -----Original Message-----
      From: sentto-1127921-7992-1214200759-dhindley=compuserve.com@...
      [mailto:sentto-1127921-7992-1214200759-dhindley=compuserve.com@...] On Behalf Of Andrew
      Sent: Monday, June 23, 2008 1:59 AM
      To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [GTh] Are e-lists dying?


      (Apologies for cross posting)

      Hello all-

      Two summers ago, I announced the publication of the hardback edition of my book, Other Early Christian Gospels: A Critical Edition
      of the Surviving Greek Manuscripts, via email discussion lists. It seemed at the time that the lists offered a great way to reach
      potential readers interested in the subject, and I planned to make a similar announcement for the paperback edition this summer (for
      those interested, see my website: gospels.net) However, I can't help but notice that the times seem to have changed significantly.

      With the exception of B-greek, all the early Christianity e-lists I'm subscribed to (crosstalk2, gthomas, textualcriticism,
      TC-Alternate- List, etc.) seem to have fallen largely into disuse. I used to learn about important new publications and follow
      substantive, ongoing debates involving many participants. Now, I can only glean precious little information from the ever more
      infrequent messages that get posted (many of which are just references to blogs). I even checked Mark Goodacre's ntgateway.com (the
      "website-of-record" for New Testament studies, in my opinion) to see if I was missing something and discovered that it now only
      mentions four lists (Synoptic-L, Kata Markon, John Lit Internet Discussion, and Acts-L) and two of these (Synoptic-L & John Lit)
      appear to have disappeared (apologies, Mark, for dragging you into this). What gives?!

      Is my perception wrong? If not, where have all the scholars (and
      others) who used to contribute to the e-lists gone? Has everyone given up on studying early Christianity? I highly doubt that
      (though perhaps interest in the "historical Jesus" has waned). Have they given up on using the internet in their research? I highly
      doubt that as well. My suspicion is that they are simply using the internet in new ways to gather and disseminate information
      (blogs, RSS feeds, etc.), but I'm not fully aware of how they are going about it.
      So, if others are willing to share their secrets, my question is simply this: HOW ARE OTHERS _NOW_ USING THE INTERNET IN THEIR STUDY
      OF EARLY CHRISTIANITY? How are are people using the internet to get information about significant new publications (books and
      articles)?
      How are people navigating the blogosphere (and what are the most widely read blogs)? What else am I missing? (I'm guessing a an
      awful lot).

      Thanks in advance for any guidance!

      Andrew


      ------------------------------------

      Gospel of Thomas Homepage: http://home.epix.net/~miser17/Thomas.html
      Interlinear translation: http://www.geocities.com/mwgrondin/x_transl.htm
      Yahoo! Groups Links
    • Stephen C. Carlson
      My theory is that successful e-lists need to have good conversation starters. The decline in e-lists would be due to those people no longer starting threads.
      Message 2 of 22 , Jun 24, 2008
      • 0 Attachment
        My theory is that successful e-lists need to have good
        conversation starters. The decline in e-lists would be
        due to those people no longer starting threads. Some of
        them have moved on to other e-lists or "forums," and
        many of them now blog instead. For Synoptic-L, our most
        productive conversation starter passed away from cancer.

        The problem is that many of the qualities that go into a
        good conversation starter can come off as somewhat
        crankish. For example, there is a fine line between
        having a healthy, albeit single-minded, devotion to
        one's passions and being a crank about it, hijacking
        every thread in favor of some idiosyncratic thesis.

        It's like a Gresham's Law of e-lists: the bad cranks
        drive out the good conversation starters.

        Stephen

        --
        Stephen C. Carlson
        Ph.D. student, Religion, Duke University
        Author of The Gospel Hoax: Morton Smith's Invention of Secret Mark (Baylor, 2005)
      • Michael Grondin
        Hi Dave- I suspect your note is going to cause some controversy, especially your characterization of motivations behind the Christian Origins group, but I
        Message 3 of 22 , Jun 24, 2008
        • 0 Attachment
          Hi Dave-

          I suspect your note is going to cause some controversy, especially
          your characterization of motivations behind the Christian Origins group,
          but I won't be here to see the fun, since I'm being dragged off to
          Minneapolis for five days (Wed-Sun) by my own She Who Must Be
          Obeyed. I trust the other moderators will take up the slack.

          As to your remarks about the C-O group, you failed to mention that
          their main reason-for-being is to focus on a secular/humanist approach
          to Biblical studies. Thus, your remarks about their wanting to create an
          (almost) amateur-free zone didn't adequately cover motivation. (If
          it's any consolation, they have far less activity than we do.)

          (To compare Dave's remarks to C-O's own self-description, go to:
          http://groups.yahoo.com/group/christian_origins/ )

          Well, controversy is one thing that builds message-volume, so this
          discussion may, ironically, at least temporarily assuage its own
          object-problem (if you know what I mean :-). More constructive and
          long-lasting solutions are needed, however. I like Stephen Carlson's
          observation that just came in about conversation-starters, because it
          jibes with an idea I've been mulling over of somehow luring a number
          of listers into agreeing to contribute a new thread or a couple messages
          each week or so. Not sure what would get someone to do that, though.
          (I do it because this is my home list, and I've found that writing and
          interacting about some subject stimulates the creation of other ideas
          I mightn't have had otherwise.)

          In other news, I've jazzed up our group main page a bit by adding
          a nice picture of one of the pages of Thomas, taken by a Coptic
          museum attendant by request of April DeConick, when she was
          there, and which appears on one of the pages of her website.
          I've also added a little to our group description. See:

          http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gthomas/

          Mike Grondin
          (off-line till next Monday)
        • mottrogere3
          ... List ... activity ... Hi Mike, I was one of the individuals on your inactive e-mail broadcast. I was surprised as I faithfully have read every message
          Message 4 of 22 , Jun 25, 2008
          • 0 Attachment
            --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "Michael Grondin" <mwgrondin@...>
            wrote:
            >
            > I've always believed that such meta-issues as you bring up are in
            > order, and I think the other moderators agree, so don't worry about
            > that. In fact, I had been thinking about posting a "State of the
            List"
            > message to discuss the relatively low number of contributors lately,
            > despite my efforts to get inactive members (i.e., those who don't
            > receive email messages) more interested/active, by sending offlist
            > messages to let them know what we had been discussing. That didn't
            > work, but I haven't yet given up on the goal of increasing list
            activity
            > without sacrificing quality.
            >

            Hi Mike,

            I was one of the individuals on your "inactive" e-mail broadcast. I
            was surprised as I faithfully have read every message off the home
            page since subscribing to the list over a year ago. I even replied
            to your "broadcast e-mail to stimulate interest message" to your off
            line e-mail address with information. I wonder if you have several e-
            mail addresses flagged as spam or even blocked. Someone else here
            recently had that experience too so I hope you have checked that out.

            Have fun in Minneapolis.

            Roger Mott
            Waterloo, Iowa
          • Andrew
            Apologies again for crossposting. I m really glad I asked the question I did (see subject). The feedback has been tremendous. I think I m starting to get a
            Message 5 of 22 , Jun 26, 2008
            • 0 Attachment
              Apologies again for crossposting.

              I'm really glad I asked the question I did (see subject).

              The feedback has been tremendous. I think I'm starting to get a sense
              of what the core issues are, and (hopefully) what can be done.

              I've read every email on the three lists I was allowed to post on
              (thanks again to the moderators for the leeway). Currently, I'm sorting
              through it all.

              Any more thoughts, ideas, etc, please share.

              I'll be posting again on the topic towards the end of the weekend.

              Best,
              Andrew Bernhard
            • Rick Hubbard
              I may as well offer my two cents about this topic. Speaking personally, the reasons why my own participation in e-list discussions have radically diminished
              Message 6 of 22 , Jun 27, 2008
              • 0 Attachment
                I may as well offer my two cents about this topic.

                Speaking personally, the reasons why my own participation in e-list
                discussions have radically diminished can be distilled into two words:
                fatigue and boredom.

                My fatigue proceeds from trying to keep up with discussions on not only
                multiple e-lists but also an ever-growing number of blogs. These forums are
                too dispersed and it is simply too time intensive to follow them all.

                Boredom. It sometimes seems there is "nothing new under the sun". The topics
                of discussion on many lists and blogs frequently seem to be endlessly
                repetitive. Worse still, I have the impression (and I emphasis that it is
                only an impression) that many of the list participants pursue what can only
                be called an "apologetic" agenda. The redundancy itself is boring but
                persistent efforts to commandeer empirical scholarship to score theological
                points are nothing less than mind-numbing.

                Perhaps this discussion raises a legitimate question: What will it take to
                reinvigorate e-list participation? Again, speaking strictly from my own
                perspective, I'd be more interested in discussions about BIG issues rather
                than minutia. For example, I'd find it much more interesting to discuss WHY
                the Gospel of Thomas is an important artifact for the study of the
                development of "early Christianity" and HOW it either confirms or alters our
                collective historical consciousness instead of debating topics like the date
                of composition or the document's literary integrity.

                Okay, so maybe this is more than two cents worth, but in any case-there you
                have it.

                Rick Hubbard

                Humble Maine Woodsman
              • Michael Grondin
                Hi Roger, Yahoogroups allows four levels of contact between a group and a subscriber: individual emails , daily digest , special notices , or no email .
                Message 7 of 22 , Jul 1, 2008
                • 0 Attachment
                  Hi Roger,

                  Yahoogroups allows four levels of contact between a group and a
                  subscriber: "individual emails", "daily digest", "special notices", or
                  "no email". The former two I would count as relatively interested
                  members, the latter two as relatively uninterested - though there are
                  exceptions like yourself. Judging from my own experience, most folks
                  are probably subscribed to a lot of groups, get email from a few of them,
                  check a few others from time to time, but (if they're like me) still belong
                  to
                  many groups that they no longer pay much attention to. (BTW, I don't know
                  what "special notices" are, or to whom they go.)

                  When I began contacting "relatively uninterested" subscribers, they
                  were 48% of our membership. Because they don't normally receive
                  any email beyond the original group welcome, most of the addresses
                  had been unverified for a long time, and it turned out that about twenty
                  of them (as I recall off the top of my head) were dead addresses.
                  These were deleted (I don't think any other group has ever done this),
                  with the result that these types of subscribers dropped to around 40%.
                  I received only two responses - your own and one other person. Another
                  couple of folks unsubscribed - as I suggested they do if they were no
                  longer interested in the list. Overall though, the response was markedly
                  underwhelming, given a hundred or so messages sent out.

                  As to this thread, I'm pleased to note that the number of responses on
                  our list are about the same as appeared on Crosstalk - both substantially
                  higher than those on John-Lit.

                  Mike Grondin

                  > Hi Mike,
                  >
                  > I was one of the individuals on your "inactive" e-mail broadcast. I
                  > was surprised as I faithfully have read every message off the home
                  > page since subscribing to the list over a year ago. I even replied
                  > to your "broadcast e-mail to stimulate interest message" to your off
                  > line e-mail address with information. I wonder if you have several e-
                  > mail addresses flagged as spam or even blocked. Someone else here
                  > recently had that experience too so I hope you have checked that out.
                  >
                  > Have fun in Minneapolis.
                  >
                  > Roger Mott
                  > Waterloo, Iowa
                • Michael Grondin
                  Hi Andrew, I notice that one of the variables mentioned on Crosstalk was specialization, i.e., that groups with a narrow focus tended to fade away more readily
                  Message 8 of 22 , Jul 1, 2008
                  • 0 Attachment
                    Hi Andrew,

                    I notice that one of the variables mentioned on Crosstalk was
                    specialization, i.e., that groups with a narrow focus tended to
                    fade away more readily than those with a broader focus. Well, of
                    course our group has a rather narrow explicit focus, but I think
                    that we've been open to many areas of interest which can reasonably
                    be construed as relatively directly connected with the Gospel of Thomas
                    and its manuscripts - from early Christian history in various geographic
                    areas, to other Thomasine literature (The Book of Thomas the Contender,
                    The Acts of Thomas - including notably the Hymn of the Pearl) to other
                    tractates of Codex II, other sayings gospels (e.g., Q), even to the
                    specifics of codex-production and the use of sacra nomina, and to issues
                    of the preservation of ancient texts. In short, just about anything that can
                    be directly connected to GThomas and its manuscripts is fair game, as
                    far as I'm concerned. (As well as meta-issues, of course.)

                    Regards,
                    Mike
                  • Chris Weimer
                    Mike, You walk a dangerous line doing that, however. I have my subscription status as No Email , but I still get every message that goes through gthomas
                    Message 9 of 22 , Jul 1, 2008
                    • 0 Attachment
                      Mike,

                      You walk a dangerous line doing that, however. I have my subscription
                      status as "No Email", but I still get every message that goes through
                      gthomas because of bloglines RSS reader. Imagine if you came across my
                      "No Email" status and deleted my subscription, and upon seeing this or
                      another message went to post and found out that I couldn't!

                      Chris Weimer
                      University of Memphis

                      --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "Michael Grondin" <mwgrondin@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Hi Roger,
                      >
                      > Yahoogroups allows four levels of contact between a group and a
                      > subscriber: "individual emails", "daily digest", "special notices", or
                      > "no email". The former two I would count as relatively interested
                      > members, the latter two as relatively uninterested - though there are
                      > exceptions like yourself. Judging from my own experience, most folks
                      > are probably subscribed to a lot of groups, get email from a few of
                      them,
                      > check a few others from time to time, but (if they're like me) still
                      belong
                      > to
                      > many groups that they no longer pay much attention to. (BTW, I don't
                      know
                      > what "special notices" are, or to whom they go.)
                      >
                      > When I began contacting "relatively uninterested" subscribers, they
                      > were 48% of our membership. Because they don't normally receive
                      > any email beyond the original group welcome, most of the addresses
                      > had been unverified for a long time, and it turned out that about twenty
                      > of them (as I recall off the top of my head) were dead addresses.
                      > These were deleted (I don't think any other group has ever done this),
                      > with the result that these types of subscribers dropped to around 40%.
                      > I received only two responses - your own and one other person. Another
                      > couple of folks unsubscribed - as I suggested they do if they were no
                      > longer interested in the list. Overall though, the response was markedly
                      > underwhelming, given a hundred or so messages sent out.
                      >
                      > As to this thread, I'm pleased to note that the number of responses on
                      > our list are about the same as appeared on Crosstalk - both
                      substantially
                      > higher than those on John-Lit.
                      >
                      > Mike Grondin
                      >
                      > > Hi Mike,
                      > >
                      > > I was one of the individuals on your "inactive" e-mail broadcast. I
                      > > was surprised as I faithfully have read every message off the home
                      > > page since subscribing to the list over a year ago. I even replied
                      > > to your "broadcast e-mail to stimulate interest message" to your off
                      > > line e-mail address with information. I wonder if you have several e-
                      > > mail addresses flagged as spam or even blocked. Someone else here
                      > > recently had that experience too so I hope you have checked that out.
                      > >
                      > > Have fun in Minneapolis.
                      > >
                      > > Roger Mott
                      > > Waterloo, Iowa
                      >
                    • Michael Grondin
                      Hi Chris, Nice to hear from you. I don t follow your reasoning, however. As I said, I only deleted dead addresses, i.e., addresses where the server in question
                      Message 10 of 22 , Jul 1, 2008
                      • 0 Attachment
                        Hi Chris,

                        Nice to hear from you. I don't follow your reasoning, however.
                        As I said, I only deleted dead addresses, i.e., addresses where
                        the server in question indicated that the address was no longer
                        valid. Of course, if someone subscribes to a group with one
                        email address, then lets it go dead and gets a Bloglines feed
                        through another address, the scenario you suggest could happen.
                        Doesn't sound like that's what you had in mind, though. Anyway,
                        I didn't know that one could get group messages thru Bloglines.
                        That's interesting. So there could be more folks listening in than
                        we're aware of?

                        Mike

                        > Mike,
                        >
                        > You walk a dangerous line doing that, however. I have my subscription
                        > status as "No Email", but I still get every message that goes through
                        > gthomas because of bloglines RSS reader. Imagine if you came across my
                        > "No Email" status and deleted my subscription, and upon seeing this or
                        > another message went to post and found out that I couldn't!
                        >
                        > Chris Weimer
                        > University of Memphis
                      • Chris Weimer
                        Hey Mike, Ah, I see. I was hoping you weren t just deleting emails that didn t respond to you, as we re all busy enough to not respond to emails some point or
                        Message 11 of 22 , Jul 1, 2008
                        • 0 Attachment
                          Hey Mike,

                          Ah, I see. I was hoping you weren't just deleting emails that didn't
                          respond to you, as we're all busy enough to not respond to emails some
                          point or another (I am all the time).

                          I honestly don't know enough about the feeds and cookies of Yahoo
                          groups, but I assume that the RSS feed should work for any group that
                          allows RSS. I don't want to unsubscribe to see what happens, though.
                          But certainly readership is probably higher than you expected. I know
                          I'm not alone in using RSS readers to read email lists.

                          All the best,

                          Chris Weimer

                          --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "Michael Grondin" <mwgrondin@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > Hi Chris,
                          >
                          > Nice to hear from you. I don't follow your reasoning, however.
                          > As I said, I only deleted dead addresses, i.e., addresses where
                          > the server in question indicated that the address was no longer
                          > valid. Of course, if someone subscribes to a group with one
                          > email address, then lets it go dead and gets a Bloglines feed
                          > through another address, the scenario you suggest could happen.
                          > Doesn't sound like that's what you had in mind, though. Anyway,
                          > I didn't know that one could get group messages thru Bloglines.
                          > That's interesting. So there could be more folks listening in than
                          > we're aware of?
                          >
                          > Mike
                          >
                          > > Mike,
                          > >
                          > > You walk a dangerous line doing that, however. I have my subscription
                          > > status as "No Email", but I still get every message that goes through
                          > > gthomas because of bloglines RSS reader. Imagine if you came across my
                          > > "No Email" status and deleted my subscription, and upon seeing this or
                          > > another message went to post and found out that I couldn't!
                          > >
                          > > Chris Weimer
                          > > University of Memphis
                          >
                        • Michael Grondin
                          ... I agree, Rick. I d only add that one of the factors that seems to contribute to repetition is the apparent love of scholars for undecidable questions.
                          Message 12 of 22 , Jul 2, 2008
                          • 0 Attachment
                            Rick Hubbard wrote:
                            > It sometimes seems there is "nothing new under the sun". The topics
                            > of discussion on many lists and blogs frequently seem to be endlessly
                            > repetitive. Worse still, I have the impression (and I [emphasize] that it
                            > is only an impression) that many of the list participants pursue what can
                            > only be called an "apologetic" agenda. The redundancy itself is boring
                            > but persistent efforts to commandeer empirical scholarship to score
                            > theological points are nothing less than mind-numbing.

                            I agree, Rick. I'd only add that one of the factors that seems to contribute
                            to repetition is the apparent love of scholars for undecidable questions.
                            (This is apart from questions that _are_ decidable on empirical grounds,
                            but which some participants insist on regarding as open questions.)

                            > Perhaps this discussion raises a legitimate question: What will it take to
                            > reinvigorate e-list participation? Again, speaking strictly from my own
                            > perspective, I'd be more interested in discussions about BIG issues rather
                            > than minutia. For example, I'd find it much more interesting to discuss
                            > WHY the Gospel of Thomas is an important artifact for the study of the
                            > development of "early Christianity" and HOW it either confirms or alters
                            > our collective historical consciousness instead of debating topics like
                            > the date of composition or the document's literary integrity.

                            "Collective historical consciousness"? You're not going Jungian, are you?
                            In any case, I wouldn't call the date of composition question 'minutia' so
                            much as one of those questions endlessly debated precisely because
                            it's essentially undecidable, so no one's in danger of being shown to be
                            conclusively wrong (except maybe Nicholas Perrin :-).

                            Mike
                          • Rick Hubbard
                            Hi Mike-- ... Jungian, Eh? Well, I don t think I ve gone around that particular bend, but who knows. When I was growing bald, I didn t really notice that was
                            Message 13 of 22 , Jul 4, 2008
                            • 0 Attachment
                              Hi Mike--

                              You Wrote:
                              ||"Collective historical consciousness"? You're not going Jungian, are
                              ||you?

                              Jungian, Eh? Well, I don't think I've gone around that particular bend, but
                              who knows. When I was growing bald, I didn't really notice that was
                              happening either!

                              Maybe I should clarify what I meant by "collective historical
                              consciousness". In most societies there is a more or less shared
                              understanding about cultural foundations. Among those foundations, and
                              especially in the American tradition, is the almost subconscious conviction
                              that the truths of certain primal stories of origin are unimpeachable. You
                              know the ones I mean-George Washington slinging a silver dollar across the
                              Potomac, and such. I'd guess that another set of these "myths of origin"
                              probably includes communal beliefs that the Bible (66 books of it, no more
                              and no less) accurately describe the genesis of our broader religious
                              traditions (Christianity and Judaism). Since the closing decades of the
                              nineteenth century, when critical historical scholarship became prominent,
                              there seems to have been an increasing sense of un-ease about the way "that
                              old time religion" has been called in to question more and more. I'm
                              becoming increasingly interested about the social and cultural responses to
                              this dissonance.

                              The mere presence of the Gospel of Thomas is undeniable evidence that the
                              legitimacy of conventional understandings of Western society's collective
                              are suspect. The Gospel of Thomas, as well as the substantial number of
                              other "non-canonical" texts that are more or less contemporaneous with it,
                              have become "the elephants in the room" - they are pretty damn hard to miss,
                              but nobody wants to admit they are there. What I find fascinating is the
                              contrived responses to this herd of pachyderms.

                              Lately I've been reading as much as I can find about North American
                              responses to the rise of evolutionary theory, critical historical (biblical)
                              scholarship and technological advances during the late nineteenth and early
                              twentieth century. These three things, among others, contributed to the
                              growth of a rabid fundamentalist movement in Christianity in the early
                              twentieth century here in the United States. The fortunes of Christian
                              fundamentalism have waxed and waned and the shape of the movement has
                              frequently been re-shaped during the course of the last hundred years.
                              Oddly, although fundamentalism has never been much more than a marginal
                              segment of society it seems to have exerted much more influence on our
                              collective historical consciousness than one would reasonably expect.

                              In any case, awareness of the Gospel of Thomas MAY be contributing to the
                              development of yet ANOTHER reactionary trend in the American religious
                              traditions. I'm very interested in how this plays out, but somewhat less
                              interested these days in the questions of GTh's compositional history or
                              precisely when it all happened. It's NOT that these are unimportant topics,
                              it simply that I find discussion about less compelling than in the past.

                              Rick Hubbard
                              Humble Maine Woodsman

                              ||-----Original Message-----
                              ||From: gthomas@yahoogroups.com [mailto:gthomas@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
                              ||Of Michael Grondin
                              ||Sent: Wednesday, July 02, 2008 3:30 PM
                              ||To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
                              ||Subject: Re: [GTh] Re: Are e-lists dying?
                              ||
                              ||Rick Hubbard wrote:
                              ||> It sometimes seems there is "nothing new under the sun". The topics
                              ||> of discussion on many lists and blogs frequently seem to be endlessly
                              ||> repetitive. Worse still, I have the impression (and I [emphasize] that
                              ||it
                              ||> is only an impression) that many of the list participants pursue what
                              ||can
                              ||> only be called an "apologetic" agenda. The redundancy itself is boring
                              ||> but persistent efforts to commandeer empirical scholarship to score
                              ||> theological points are nothing less than mind-numbing.
                              ||
                              ||I agree, Rick. I'd only add that one of the factors that seems to
                              ||contribute
                              ||to repetition is the apparent love of scholars for undecidable
                              ||questions.
                              ||(This is apart from questions that _are_ decidable on empirical grounds,
                              ||but which some participants insist on regarding as open questions.)
                              ||
                              ||> Perhaps this discussion raises a legitimate question: What will it
                              ||take to
                              ||> reinvigorate e-list participation? Again, speaking strictly from my
                              ||own
                              ||> perspective, I'd be more interested in discussions about BIG issues
                              ||rather
                              ||> than minutia. For example, I'd find it much more interesting to
                              ||discuss
                              ||> WHY the Gospel of Thomas is an important artifact for the study of the
                              ||> development of "early Christianity" and HOW it either confirms or
                              ||alters
                              ||> our collective historical consciousness instead of debating topics
                              ||like
                              ||> the date of composition or the document's literary integrity.
                              ||
                              ||In any case, I wouldn't call the date of composition question 'minutia'
                              ||so
                              ||much as one of those questions endlessly debated precisely because
                              ||it's essentially undecidable, so no one's in danger of being shown to be
                              ||conclusively wrong (except maybe Nicholas Perrin :-).
                              ||
                              ||Mike
                              ||
                              ||
                              ||
                              ||------------------------------------
                              ||
                              ||Gospel of Thomas Homepage: http://home.epix.net/~miser17/Thomas.html
                              ||Interlinear translation: http://www.geocities.com/mwgrondin/x_transl.htm
                              ||Yahoo! Groups Links
                              ||
                              ||
                              ||
                            Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.