The following interview on academic blogging is part of series of short interviews academics in biblical studies from around the world. (The ‘hub’ for the discussion is the initial post on Starting an Academic Blog where the discussion and links to interviews are kept up-to-date). Today we hear from Dr. Anthony Le Donne.
Anthony Le Donne (PhD, Durham) is a visiting lecturer at the University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA. He has a authored a number of articles, essays, and books, including The Historiographical Jesus: Memory, Typology, and the Son of David (2009) and Historical Jesus: What Can We Know and How Can We Know It? (2011). His latest book, The Wife of Jesus: Ancient Texts and Modern Scandals, is due out in November. He co-blogs with Dr. Chris Keith about historical Jesus studies at the Jesus Blog.
1. When and why did you start blogging?
My co-blogger, Chris Keith, and I started the Jesus Blog in September of 2012. So our blog has been active for just under a year. I noticed that there was no blog that was known as “the place to go” on the blogosphere for all things related to historical Jesus research. There were plenty of popular New Testament blogs, or blogs devoted to specific books/corpi of the Jesus tradition, but nothing specifically devoted to the historical Jesus. Prof. Keith and I decided to step into this lacuna and become rich and famous.
2. What are a few of the benefits you see in blogging?
The greatest benefit to blogging is the possibility for professional networking. Not only have I had a chance to interact with several scholars that I’ve never met in person, but I’ve met many interested hobbyists that are very well read and who have some very challenging perspectives. I can honestly say that I have learned to think in new ways about my research from interacting with these folks.
3. Should more academics be blogging?
I don’t think it is a question of “should.” I appreciate many professionals who do blog. I wouldn’t necessarily encourage folks who are on the fence about the media to jump into it. Sometimes I wonder if there are more defunct or dormant blogs out there than active ones. So perhaps we need a few more professionals to pick up this slack.
4. What advice would you give an academic who is thinking about starting?
From my very limited perspective, I think that most blog readers want less ego. Of course, any dreams of a no-ego utopia in academia are fanciful. We all have some sort of intellectual investment that we’re willing to defend. But my guess is that blog readers like it when academic bloggers don’t take themselves too seriously. I try to post five or six times a week. Most of what I write on the Jesus Blog relates to topics that amuse me. I enjoy taking a whimsical tone to disarm the default position of professional bravado. Once a week or so, I try to post something related to a serious matter in Jesus research. This has worked for me.
Thanks much to Dr. Le Donne for offering his perspective.