The following is part of a series of short interviews with academic bloggers. (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).
I am pleased to share a recent interview with Dr. Nijay Gupta (Ph.D. Durham), Assistant Professor of Biblical Theology and Exegesis at Northeastern Seminary, Rochester, NY. In addition to a number of journal articles, Nijay has just published a commentary on Colossians (Smyth and Helwys), and in recent years, Worship That Makes Sense to Paul: A New Approach to the Theology of Paul’s Cultic Metaphors (2010) and Prepare, Succeed, Advance: A Guidebook for Getting a Ph.D. in Biblical Studies and Beyond (2011). He blogs at Crux Sola.
Many thanks to Dr. Gupta for his time!
1. When and why did you start blogging?
I started blogging in early 2007. I started mostly because I had so many questions about doing a Phd and navigating the academic world. I felt frustrated that answers on the internet were hard to find or dispersed all over the place. My desire was to keep a running log of what I had discovered about research and completing the PhD. Many early posts in 2007 and 2008 were “how-to” kinds of things.
2. What are a few of the benefits you see in blogging?
Blogging is a great way to connect with people all over the world and share information and ideas. I love doing surveys and sharing bibliographies. I love that reviews and interviews can be posted instantly. A book can come out on Monday, and by Wednesday a review is posted. Journals often taken months, if not years to get a review out. I love sharing teaching and learning resources (videos, visuals, articles, ideas).
3. Should more academics be blogging?
Tough question to answer. I would say “no.” In 2007, there were about a dozen blogs of interest in Biblical Studies. About 100-300 people read all of these blogs regularly. Now there are hundreds of bibliobloggers and it is just too hard to keep up. I think the best route forward is group blogging, where several academics blog on the same site – whether it is an institutional blog (Duke divinity blog or something), or a publisher (Baker), or a few close friends (Mike Bird and Joel Willitts). It is nice to have Larry Hurtado and Ben WIII blog, but I am not itching to hear other senior scholars, if that is what you are asking. I like that blogging is kind of ruled by the plebs!
4. What advice would you give an academic who is thinking about starting?
Join a group (solo bloggers, like me [oops!] only multiply the high number of bloggers). Have a niche. Take it seriously and be prepared to invest lots of time. Be interactive (rather than “here is what I have to say. Learn it and come back tomorrow”). Be creative. Don’t make enemies by being cruel to other writers or bloggers. Keep posts short. Know that it is unlikely to boost your career. (Having your blog make you famous is rare, and not a reasonable goal. Do it because you feel like what you have to offer is not already out there, and because you think it is fun and interesting.)