ChristianColleges.com’s Top 100 Theology Blogs Part 9: Academic

by Anna Blanch on February 10, 2009

Post #9 of a review series on Christiancolleges.com’s Top 100 Theology Blogs list. For details about the list, please see Post # 1 and Post # 2 in the series. Links to all the posts in the series can be found at the bottom of this post. Please feel free to offer your assessment or suggest other lists and blogs I should review/annotate.

This is probably section I was most looking forward to reviewing, if for no other reason than a desire to explore the blogs of some fellow scholar-bloggers.

Academic

Merritt contends that “you’ll find a lot to learn from these academic theologists, including professors, researchers, and students”.

The Blogging Parson: Michael Jensen has a doctorate in Martyrdom, and teaches Christian Doctrine at Moore Theological College, Sydney. Jensen is also the author of HIM which I reviewed in post # 5 of the review series. He also Blogs at Sydney Anglicans.net. Jensen refers to the Blogging Parson as being a place for his “recreational blogging.” Posts range between full length sermons, photographs and pithy quotes, and lists of links to reviews of his recently released book “You: an introduction.” The design is simple, but i think the deisgn for HIM is more effective; there is something to be said for keeping font and font size consistent in blog posts.
Making the Grade:
Scope – C+
Quality
– B
Theological LeaningsEvangelical (Sydney) Anglican

Exploring Our Matrix: Dr. James McGrath, associate Professor of Religion at Butler University, writes this blog about exploring the theological aspect of his “matrix” or “world.” The blog is primarily a commentary on popular culture, Christian sub culture, and the responsibilities of Christians to act redemptively when interacting with culture. The header design is striking but the rest of the design is difficult to follow and it is not apparent if there is a clear scope or structure to provide a coherent structure. Also writes on a series of other blogs.
Making the Grade:
ScopeB- (Scope is not clearly defined)
Quality
– B
Theological Leanings – Baptist

Biblical Christianity . . . takes fully seriously the differences between Biblical writings and the development between them, rather than forcing their divergent perspectives into the idolatrous straightjacket of a doctrine of Biblical inerrancy. (139-40)

The Religious Researcher: Subtitled as “cutting edge Christian research on religion today.” The Religious Researcher is the blog of the Institute for Religious Research, a nonprofit, evangelical Christian ministry based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Most of the posts are authored by Rob Bowman, though Sarah Cervantes also appears as an author. This blog directly addresses works of Mormon apologists and has been recently responding to academics from Fuller Seminary who are defending the legitimacy of the Local Church scripturally. While this blog offers reviews of well known works about Christian apologetics and articles and books published in the last 5 years, i am unsure what makes this cutting edge research.
Making the Grade:
Scope – B
Quality
– B
Theological LeaningsEvangelical Christian

Philonica et Neotestamentica: A blog expounding Torrey Seland’s research on Philo of Alexandria as well as 1 Peter. There is no background information on Seland but it appears that this blog is linked to his completed dissertation research on Philo of Alexandria. The blog is updated about once a month.
Making the Grade:
Scope – A (Narrow scope well defined)
Quality
– C+
Theological Leanings – ?

Blue Cord: Blue Cord offers an academic study of the Bible from freelance scholar and lecturer Kevin A. Wilson, PhD. Wilson describes his work:

Blue Cord is a blog dedicated to the academic study of the Bible, particularly the Old Testament. Despite this, I also feel free to discuss any other topic of interest to me, which is why baseball, politics, and Star Trek are often mentioned.

Clear scope with some wiggle room! This is a self-described “biblio-blog” which discusses books, articles on Biblically related topics, along with exhibitions on display around the Boston area. The design is simple, but could use some care and attention.

Making the Grade:
ScopeA
Quality
– B+
Theological LeaningsBaptist

Targuman: Christian Brady, Professor at Penn State in Schreyer Honors College blogs about his research on Targum Lamentations, biblical and rabbinic literature, and Christian theology. The authors name is not on the about page or anywhere very clear on the blog – i figured it out by clicking through to his work blog (that’s alot of effort). Clearly being able to identity the author goes along way to assessing credibility – to his credit he does give a great deal (almost too much) information about his education, his research and his family.
Making the Grade:
Scope – A-
Quality
– B+
Theological LeaningsEpiscopalian (with Presbyterian background)

Katagraphais: Authored by Bryan Lilly, a Graduate student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Katagraphais offers the thoughts of a student thinking out loud. There is benefit (probably more to the student than anyone else) in this kind of blog – though i am wondering why Merritt classified this blog as Academic and others like it as theology….just one of the many confusing aspects of Merrits categorisations (but i have spoken about how i think the ranking system of the Top 100 blogs should be ignored!) Lilley describes his blog as follows:

ΚΑΤΑΓΡΑΦΑΙΣ is a Greek phrase which can be translated “according to the Scriptures.” This blog will be a place where I share ideas, thoughts, and reflections on issues dealing with Christianity, Biblical studies, culture, etc. It is my hope that everything I do is grounded in the Christian worldview, and in order to be so properly grounded, all things must be anchored in the ancient Scriptures which God has revealed to us through the inspired writings. As such, this blog will be a record of the things I am learning (and sometimes relearning!) through Scripture, discussions on the culture we find ourselves living in, and a place to provide links, information, and resources on the reformed faith and cultural commentary.

The blog design is notable and a good choice for this kind of blog – I particularly like the choice of images used by Lilley. I also want to say that while I think it good that Lilley encourages comments his concern that people post with their “real name” so as not to be anonymous ignores the real connection many of us have with our online identities – for example, although i have my “real name” attached to blogger comments and on this blog and profile, I often used Goannatree as my “name” when i comment – because it is clearly linked with this blog (as i always put the blog address in the comments) it is just as REAL as using my first name. It’s just a tiny bit school ma’amish…though its his blog and he can do what he wants, but if he cared about what i thought, i’d politely suggest he tone down the rhetoric some. Note: there’s only a handful of comments so it doesn’t seem like he’s worrying about masses of people knocking down the virtual door!
Making the Grade:
Scope – B-
Quality
– B-
Theological LeaningsSouthern Baptist

The Christian Journey: Check out this blog to find a collection of Bible teaching and devotional writings. Chris, a data analyst in a technology industry, is the author of this blog. The blog includes bible studies, authored by Chris, and links and reviews of podcasts and sermons available online. The design is simple, but functional, and appropriate for this type of blog.

Note: this is not the fault of the blogger, but let me comment that this blog is completely miscategorised as ACADEMIC…..

Making the Grade:
Scope – B
Quality
– B
Theological LeaningsReformed Protestant

The Fire and the Rose: David Congdon is a PhD student in systematic theology at Princeton Theological Seminary. He also blogs at God as the Mystery of Theology , The Ring in the Rock, and Aquinas Institute RCIA. The design is simple and generally effective. He’s been a little busy lately with the arrival of his first child. He writes about the things he studies and reads, lik modern theology and poetry, independent and foreign films, and music. It’s not the best of its kind, but it is another viewpoint, and one of the first blog like this i have seen from a Catolic viewpoint and that is worth encouraging.
Making the Grade:
Scope – B
Quality
– B
Theological LeaningsCatholic

Related Posts in the Review Series
Part 1 – Introduction
Part 2 – General Theology (Post 1)
Part 3 – General Theology (Post 2)
Part 4 – General Theology (Post 3)
Part 5 – General Theology (Post 4)
Part 6 – Criticism
Part 7 – Politics
Part 8 – History
Part 9 – Academic (Part 1)
Part 10 – Academic (Part 2)
Part 11 – Clergy
Part 12 – Writings (Part 1)
Part 13 – Writings (Part 2)
Part 14 – Society and Culture
Summary and Wrap up

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