In 2013 we wrote 482 blog posts, including this one. That is down from 651 in 2012, 969 in 2011, and 831 in 2010. In part, this has a lot to do with my own self-imposed restrictions. I’ve decided to blog less in general. Often, instead of sharing my thoughts here I will put them into my Evernote program for later. If I don’t need immediate feedback I keep my ideas to myself. Also, I decided that it would be wise not to share my opinion on a wide range of topics. Usually, this is because I’ve realized I have a lot more to learn before I can present a well-informed perspective on a given subject. Sometimes it has more to do with the violence of the blogosphere: I don’t have the same time, energy, or interest in debating most of the things that enliven the blogosphere and Twitter. I think my co-bloggers share this general sentiment, which is why we’ve seen less posts from them as well.
So, for those who have been reading this blog for a while let me give you a list of general subjects I plan to discuss here—subjects that will correspond with whatever I need to be reading at the moment—so you’ll know whether or not you should pay much attention to this blog this year (I don’t know what my co-bloggers have in mind, so even if my interests bore you please keep us in your feed).
– Historiography/Social Memory Theory
– The Gospels: mostly the Christology presented in juxtaposition with John the Baptist and their Pneumatology
– Messianism in early Judaism
– Pneumatology in early Judaism/Christianity
– Resources to help me improve my reading comprehension in German, French, and other research languages
– Book by/about Rudolf Bultmann
One of my motivations for blogging has been that it allows me to hear your recommendations, so if you know of any books or resources related to the above subjects please pass them along to me! I hope we continue to have enlightening and mutually beneficial conversations here in 2014!
Thanks, Brian. Nice to hear what’s behind your approach a little further (you’d shared some of it earlier, too.)
You’re focusing on some of the areas and issues I think are particularly important as well as interesting (probably no surprise). I can’t think of add’l books right off which deal specifically with those areas, and don’t pursue such a lot. But I will suggest one for a couple reasons. It is Burton Mack’s “The Christian Myth”. First one (probably main one in your case): I believe one can only do justice to the topic of social memory and its analog in personal memory if one simultaneously deals with surrounding issues that influence it, particularly what Mack has called “social interest”. Mack I believe was and still may be the main “organizer” or developer of what has become a pretty well developed “theory” re. the interplay of social needs and dynamics with religious beliefs and practices, worked out in social settings. (Thus “myth” is not mere conjecture or illustrative story, but something broader and quite deep.) So this book may be the best, most direct of his to fairly quickly get a sense of what the focus of his life work has been (as of about 2001), but after which he wrote up the theory more formally and thoroughly than in his other works… called “Social Interest Theory” (or something similar). So you might prefer the latter, but the former book also covers a range of issues for further research, etc., as it is mainly a compendium of some journal articles or papers he’d presented. So, although a bit shorter I think, it may represent the range of his work as well or better… and show connecting points to your interests and projects.
So I guess I’ve gotten to the second reason in my flow of consciousness there. Anyway, out of time for now. But I think that Mack is either best or one of the best to provide a broad inter-disciplinary framework for understanding what is being plumbed in more depth and detail with recent social memory works. For those who object to the conjecture in his details, it may be that Mack is most valuable and helpful in dealing with large paradigm issues and complex “wholes” with many interlinking “parts”. Few are theory builders on the scale that he has been, esp. as taken in conjunction with Jonathan Z. Smith.
Thank you for the recommendation Howard. It looks like used versions are quite inexpensive, so I may try to pick one up soon via Amazon.com or see if any nearby used bookstores have a copy. Wish there was a Kindle version!
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