I’m making some sort of progress towards some consistency in the blog’s categories and tags (well into the categories right now having reduced them from around 50 million to a tenth of a million; but have yet to start seriously on eliminating overlaps in the tags). Here are some questions that are bugging me at the moment and maybe some readers may like to comment on them. (I’m too close to it all to think afresh at the moment, I think.) . . . .
On the Ancient Literature category:
Original intention was to include here all non-Jewish works. Should this separation stand? What of Ezekiel the Tragedian or Artapanus of Alexandria and other similar Jewish authors in a “secular/Hellenistic” world? Is the subsequent breakdown into child categories justified?
On the Levant (Mesopotamia, Canaan…) child category:
Not the best name for this category. Alternative? Refers to all literature from Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, Syria, Phoenecia-Canaan/Palestine, Egypt. Includes works about this literature.
On the Novels and Fables child category:
Should this be renamed, simply, Fiction? Refers to Greco-Roman works of fiction, normally in prose. Includes works about these authors and genres.
On the Philosophy child category:
Works by and about authors of ancient philosophical works (Plato, Cicero, etc.) Keep in mind that ancient philosophy often included what we would consider to be ideas of a religious dimension.
— Should this category include Philo or should there be a separate category for Jewish authors?)
— Should this category be extended to include authors of technical, medical, etc works?
On the Poetry and epics (Greco-Roman) child category:
Works by and about authors like Homer, Virgil, Pindar, etc.
Should it rather be, Poetry and Drama?
On the Ancient Religious Culture category:
“Religious culture” is used instead of “Religion” because our concept of religion does not match what was often the thinking and practices in ancient cultures. This category includes temple and priestly practices as well as mythical ideas related to gods and the supernatural. Jewish religious culture is placed under Biblical Studies.
On the Biblical Studies category:
Should this category include the ancient history of Palestine-Judea, including second temple era and Bar Kochba rebellion and rise of rabbinic culture? If so, should Biblical Studies itself be renamed in some way?
On the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha child category:
Jewish and Christian (OT and NT) works included here. Where should Philo and Pseudo-Philo be placed?
On the Biblical Scholars child category:
Prominent and not-so-prominent scholars of the Bible. Should this category be restricted to individuals with discussions of scholars collectively to be included within Biblical Scholarship? Scholars of the Bible should include persons who produce scholarly quality works even if not a member of a biblical studies academy or department (e.g. classicist like John Moles; historian like Richard Carrier). Technically I also think Earl Doherty and Rene Salm should be part of this category but would their inclusion raise problems? If so, in what category should such persons be included? What of Acharya S and others of questionable scholarly standards? Perhaps better to keep names like these within a Category related to discussions of the Christ Myth Hypothesis.
On the Church Fathers child category:
See the list of Church Fathers at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_Fathers#Great_Fathers But where does Eusebius fit? And Dionysius the Areopagite? Note that these names extend beyond the reference range of Biblical Studies. Where do Biblical Studies end and Christian (and rabbinical) history begin?
On the Dead Sea Scrolls child category:
Rename this category to show inclusion of discussions of Essenes? Or should both DSS and Essenes each be made tags? Should they be included in Intertestamental period?
On the Martyrs and Martyrdom child category:
Another to be made a tag? The idea was to include here Jewish martyrs of the Maccabean era along with Christian martyrs. Include biblical martyrs, e.g. in Daniel and Acts.
On the New Testament child category:
Mostly straightforward but still some questions arise. Where does New Testament end and Church history and question of Christian origins, also certain roles of Marcion, begin? (Marcion’s argued influence on NT should be included here; also evidence of early readings found in Fathers like Tertullian.) Relevant manuscript discoveries and analysis belong here, including histories of their later copying.
On the Old Testament child category:
Should there be another child category to sit alongside NT and OT and cover Intertestamental period? Should that include Philo? What effect will that have on the child category Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha?
On the Early Christianities category:
Where should the possibility of pre-Christian Jewish gnosticism fit? Where should we place the dividing line between events inferred from Acts/gospels/epistles on the one hand and accounts derived from Pliny the Younger, Tacitus, Suetonius on the other? Should they all be included in Biblical Studies? If so, at what point do we break off that area and begin second century sources, then those of late antiquity? Marcion is second century but has an influence on biblical works. But how can we justify all of early Christianity into late antiquity and beyond being part of Biblical Studies? Ebionites are assigned to near apostolic times but are only found in late antiquity documents. Do we need a dividing line? Where do we put documents like Odes of Solomon that are seen by some to be pre-Christian but related to what emerged as more recognizable Christianity?
On the Gnosticism child category:
This category should almost certainly be placed under “Early Christianities” but see there for issues raised. What of non-Christian (i.e. Jewish) gnosticism?
On the History and Methods category:
A broad church. Initially included Historiography in the name. Is “History” too broad and potentially misleading? This category includes discussions of research methods by historians as well as philosophical discussions about both the nature of history and the nature of the writing of history. Includes the problematic methods of biblical scholars. Or should the latter be moved to Biblical Studies as incompatible with the former? (Compare the difference between astronomy and astrology.) Does not include the methods of research and narrating history by ancient authors. See under Ancient Literature.
On the Messiahs and messianism category:
How can this category be brought within both Biblical Studies and (non-biblical) history of Judea-Israel?
On the Politics and Society category:
At present this includes posts on history of Zionism and modern Israel and Palestine as well as current events. Continue this setup? What of other histories? Adjust name of category? Currently includes Islamism (distinct from Islam) as an ideology of terrorism. Also currently includes Islamophobia and hostile denunciations of Islam — but see the question on Islam in Religion and Atheism.
On the Religion and Atheism category:
Distinct from Biblical Studies. Includes studies in origins and nature of religious ideas; posts on religions in history and contemporary world (e.g. Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism.) Should this include post-biblical Christianity and rabbinical Judaism of late antiquity, the direct outgrowths of Second Temple era? Also includes various types of Christianity (e.g. fundamentalism) and debates with atheists. Posts on atheism and atheist world views per se are also included, of course. It does not include Islamism as the matrix of terrorism — that goes into Politics and Society. But here we get into a grey area. Compare social attitudes towards and criticisms of Islam related to Islamism and terrorism.
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