Secret societies: biblioblogging in Religion Bulletin

Secret Society, after Harold Lincoln Gray by Mike Licht NotionsCapital.com

Jim West and a number of other well known bloggers on biblical studies related topics have “published” articles about blogging, they appeared in Religion Bulletin:

  • Blogging the Bible: A Short History  Jim West
  • Biblioblogging Our Matrix: Exploring the Potential and Perplexities of Academic Blogging James McGrath
  • The Benefit of Blogging for Archaeology Robert Cargill
  • Why Do I (Biblio)Blog? Roland Boer
  • Biblioblogging, ‘Religion’, and the Manufacturing of Catastrophe James Crossley

You can find it here. However these articles are “published” in the technical academic sense, that is they are announced, but not made available, except to a privileged select few. In this case subscribers to the journal in question or those willing to pay per article.In such specialised usage “to publish” means something close to the opposite of its everyday usage, referring as it does to secret arcane gnosis shared only with a circle of initiates and patrons.

Recently this secrecy that shrouds academic “publishing” has weakened many journals are now collected in substantial electronic journal collections and available through libraries. Sadly. as far as I can see Religion Bulletin is not available in R&P (Religion & Philosophy), ProQuest Religion, or Academic Search Premier. So I can’t see these probably fine articles, and therefore I cannot comment on their content.

Thus academe seeks to protect its sacred and secret arcana from profanation. There is an irony when the topic of the “publication” is a medium as open to public review and scrutiny as blogging is “published” in this way ;)

PS: As part of academic systems that play the secret society game, and reward scholars from hiding gtheir work from the public, I do not blame these bloggers for “publishing” in this way, we all play the games we are employed to play. But it is, I think, worthwhile pointing out from time to time how bizarre and ritualistic the academic game has become in the early 21st centrury. When publishing technology offers the potential to make “publish” really mean “to issue publicly”!

3 comments on “Secret societies: biblioblogging in Religion Bulletin

  1. Evan

    An annual individual print subscription to the journal is 35 USD in North America, 17.50 GBP elsewhere. What’s your trouble? Do you get TIME magazine for free or something? How is this set-up any different than most any other publishing situation out there?

    And don’t get me wrong, I’m all for criticizing over-priced academic literature. I do it a lot. But $35 a year isn’t even that bad.

  2. jim

    oh SNAP! evan served it up hot for ya tim. ;-)

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