Tuesday, 25 August 2015

I am shaping up my blog

I am shaping up my blog. I have been blogging for two years and felt that it was time to decide whether I should stop (this is what happens to most blogs), or continue and, if so, in which format. I have decided to continue, and I am making some changes.

First. Although I have decided to keep the fluffy name, I have written an introductory statement presenting the explicit purposes and limits of my blog. This is a blog on the history of transmission, use and transformation of the so-called Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, drawing on my ongoing research on the reception of 2 Baruch and related literature. At the heart of the blog are methodological and theoretical reflections on the manuscripts that contain these writings, the media culture that decided their use in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, and the scholarly paradigms that form the way we think about them today. Hence, on this blog you will find some posts on manuscript details, but more commonly I will share reflections on scholarly practices and engagement with the manuscript material, inspired by insights from New Philology, Book History and Media Studies, as well as studies of ritual and materiality.

Second. I will focus on posting a limited number of substantial posts. From now on you will find one to three of these posts each semester, in addition to the occasional smaller posts on relevant conferences, new publications, etc. These substantial posts are drawing explicitly on my research, and as such I consider them part of the wider dissemination of my academic work. Hence, I kindly ask you to cite them (Liv Ingeborg Lied, “[Title of the post]”, posted on Religion – Manuscripts – Media Culture [date], [URL], [Date of retrieval]) or to enter into discussion with me. Note, however, that the posts published on this blog will contain neither the central parts of my research, nor my main findings – those are reserved for my book-in-progress and articles published in established, ‘vintage’ academic media. The items published on this blog are all those other things: those interesting details in the source material I happen to come across while looking for something else, the material I could not find room for in an article on a topic but still find relevant, things I want to put out there for discussion immediately or because I assume that it will be helpful for somebody, reflections on my work that matter to a wider academic audience, and my reflections on carrying out scholarship in a digital era. 
Third. I will be much more careful how I style myself and when selecting what I choose to post (and not). I will not try to entertain you or attract clicks. Sure, in some ways this runs against the grain of the blog medium, it might make my blog more boring, and it means that I choose a different direction to many other bloggers, but I do it for a reason. Here is what I have learned during these two years: a blog is a very powerful medium. Some of my blog posts have more readers than my articles and books, for sure. And, I suppose that many of those coming here will never read any of my other publications. And let’s face it (even though we don’t have to like it): some readers may even use online sites like this one as their main venue for gathering information and for learning. Furthermore, I will be explicit on what I do in my research and what I don’t. My work is interdisciplinary. I cut across disciplinary borders and draw on insights from various fields, while not necessarily obeying completely any established disciplinary canon. This makes it particularly important to communicate clearly what I do and what I don’t, what I am and what I am not. I am a professor of the Study of Religions, I have published on the OT Pseudepigrapha in their ancient context, I have also published on New Philology and Media Culture (medieval and modern), and now I am tracing the reception history of the Pseudepigrapha, starting with the main media that contain them: the manuscripts.

 The blog posts that will appear here in the foreseeable future are,

  • a post on 4 Ezra, “4 Ezra in Syriac lectionary manuscripts – three points for further reflection” (in a few weeks),  

  • a post on the possible liturgical use of the Syriac Codex Ambrosianus, “Details in the margin – not marginal details: a liturgical annotation in the Codex Ambrosianus” (September/ October)

  • another post on 4 Ezra, discussing cross-disciplinary interaction and things ‘lost in translation’ between academic fields

  • a post on the Epistle of Baruch, discussing some editorial choices and paradigms.