I am quite interested in the new affiliation between SBL and the Biblioblogging community. I see this relationship as a positive step towards increasing the relevance of academic blogs within the field of Biblical scholarship. I can only guess that the more blogging becomes accepted within the guild the more prominent professors will begin to have blogs of their own. Additionally, the more integrated blogs become with the field the greater the opportunity for producing original scholarship in blog format. I imagine a day (possibly in the distant future) in which scholars are free to post their work on their blog without fear that it will be published in a journal by someone else. Also, it seems that as blogging becomes more accepted within the guild the quality and number of academic blogs will increase. There are a number of high ranking scholars whom I hope will start blogs and this affiliation may be the first step in bringing them into the fold of biblioblogging.
On a personal note one of the reasons I hesitated for over a year in starting my own blog was the wild west atmosphere of internet knowledge. There is so much pseudo-scholarship on the web that I was hesitant to participate. Additionally, I have thus far been unwilling to post any original scholarship for fear that it will be co-opted into the work of others before I am able to publish it. I realize I may be being paranoid on this point but I prefer to call myself pragmatic. I am hoping over the next several years this affiliation with SBL will allow me more freedom in what I post and may add some degree of oversight to the wild west that is internet biblical knowledge. Fortunately there is already some degree of oversight over those who classify themselves as Bibliobloggers since we tend to comment on each other’s blogs.
I certainly can understand the fear that not all blogs affiliated with SBL will be of the same quality but that seem to be inevitable. What might be an interesting future development is a short list of SBL approved academic blogs maintained by actively publishing respected members of the guild chosen by other actively publishing respected members of the guild. This would provide students and other interested parties with a starting point for their internet research. Of course this list would be only a small starting point as many fine blogs are neither academic or maintained by high ranking scholars.
Finally, though I am not sure precisely how helpful having a unit on biblioblogging at SBL will be, the very fact that there will be one seems to add credibility to all Bibliobloggers. Additionally, having a unit with a qualified steering committee should provide some useful guidance for the development of biblioblogging as a whole. I will proudly display our logo despite its bulky look.