What is a Biblioblog?
by James Tabor
How many web sites are on the internet today? The answer is, no one really knows since there is no fully comprehensive central tracking system. This, of course, is one of the beauties of the internet–its crazy independence and freedom. Netcraft’s latest July estimate for total web sites is 665,916,461 visited by an estimated 2.3 billion internet users. Alexa tracks only 30 million of these sites and Widestat, which I prefer for detailed analysis, currently lists 633,998 sites.
When it comes to counting blogs or “web logs” the numbers vary widely. I have seen some estimates of over 500 million “active” English language blogs, but this would not include a vast number of other languages, Chinese in particular. One should keep in mind that there are countless blogs coming from businesses and the media, and often the difference between a “blog” and a “website” are hard to define. On the other hand, like many of the Facebook and Twitter accounts one notices in browsing those sites, many blogs are basically “inactive” or “dormant,” or have an extremely limited “me, my dog, and I” readership.
A “biblioblog” is one of the many subsets of this vast blogging genre that makes up a tiny part of what some affectionately refer to as the “blogosphere.” Simply put, a biblioblog is one that deals primarily “with matters concerning academic biblical studies.” There is no official or authoritative list but the latest count by the Biblioblog Reference Library, maintained by the doggedly dedicated Steve Caruso, includes nearly 600 blogs under about 20 subcategories. The list is worth browsing and one comes away with a sense of the vast sweep of this enterprise and its very fluid definitional parameters. In other words just about anyone who has anything to say of a serious nature about Biblical Studies can be included in this vast umbrella. Since 2009 “Bibliobloggers” were granted an official status by the Society of Biblical Literature, as a way of recognizing this new medium as providing a significant method of advancing the academic study of the Bible among SBL members.
Top biblioblogs are listed, aggregated, archived and ranked at The Biblioblog Reference Library and the rankings are announced monthly at The Biblioblog Top 50.The number 1 Biblioblog currently is called, ironically, “Debunking Christianity,” which has about 70,000 visits per month, which is far and away higher than sites ranking 2-10 that drop into the 10,000 to 25,000 visitors range.
TaborBlog, that just joined this ranking system on June 21, 2012, so traffic was only counted the last ten days of the month, happily came in at 17 in the June with 6746 monthly “hits.” Had its total June traffic been included it would have come in around number 10. If you have never done so take a look at the interesting list of those blogs in the top 50 this month and and do a bit of browsing of those that strike your interest. It is a vast and fascinating world out there, and one full of intrigue, interest, controversy, and I think, here and there, some genuine learning.