From my diary

A couple of interesting posts have caught my eye, which I thought I would share.

From AWOL:

Open Access ProQuest Dissertations & Theses (PQDT Open)

PQDT Open provides the full text of open access dissertations and theses free of charge.You can quickly and easily locate dissertations and theses  relevant to your discipline, and view the complete text in PDF format.  The authors of these dissertations and theses have opted to publish as open access. Open Access Publishing  is a new service offered by ProQuest’s UMI Dissertation Publishing. ProQuest expects to have many more open access dissertations and theses over  time.

The database includes hundreds of theses and dissertations related to antiquity from American academic  institutions.

For other aggregations of open access dissertations see also:

I have a question, tho.  ProQuest has made money by selling access to dissertations.  So what is the open source idea?  How does this work?  I think we have only part of the story here.

Another couple of items from the same source:

Johnson, Scott Fitzgerald, editor, Greek Literature in Late Antiquity: Dynamism, Didacticism, Classicism. Originally published in 2006 by Ashgate Books. Published online by permission of the editor.

Now that looks interesting!  I must get that.  And well done the editor for making it available now.

Next the Ehrman Project, mentioned at ETC and Evangelion.  The latter comments:

Michael Gorman draws attention to the launch of a website dedicated to engaging/refuting the various works of Prof. Bart D. Ehrman. It is called the Ehrman Project and it was actually begun by Miles O’Neil who works for UNC Chapel Hill where Ehrman is a Professor. Ehrman has written a number of works about textual criticism, the historical Jesus, the early church, God and Evil, etc. and ordinarily with the aim of debunking Christianity and promoting unbelief.

I respect Ehrman’s works greatly, esp. his early TC stuff. But I confess that I simply find it astounding that Ehrman will argue in one book that the biblical manuscripts are unreliable and corrupted and then in the next book he’ll use these corrupted manuscripts to reconstruct the historical figure of Jesus, Paul, Peter, Mary Magdalene, the whole early church. It is kinda like announcing that the emperor has no clothes in one book and in the next book criticizing what the emperor wore to the royal tea party. It’s one or the other!

Indeed it is.  Ehrman is doing great harm to all studies of ancient literature by convincing people that books cannot be transmitted from antiquity.  For instance today I also came across this announcement at PaleoJudaica, of a speech at the University of Tennesse:

Ehrman’s lecture is titled “Does The New Testament Contain Forgeries? The Surprising Claims of Modern Scholars” and is presented by UT’s Department of Religious Studies.

Why go to the Bible belt and introduce the claims of “modern scholars” by insulting their religion?  If I wanted to talk about scholarship, I wouldn’t start by trying to insult my chosen audience’s religion.  That would guarantee that they would not listen.  On the other hand, if I wanted to insult their religion, as my primary aim, of course I wouldn’t care about scholarship except as a means to an end.   I can’t help feeling that this is what is happening here.

I do wish I knew what Ehrman’s actual scholarly contribution was, tho.  Being outside NT studies, I don’t know.

6 thoughts on “From my diary

  1. EthOS used to be free in the past; now you have to pay for the service. Bad or justified? I don’t know!

  2. EthOS is now charging?! Good grief! I didn’t know that.

    If so it’s bad, of course, because it means normal people cannot access it. And since the public has already paid for the contents, via grants in education, asking them to pay again is greedy.

    That will kill EthOS, tho, I think. After all, if you had a dissertation, why would you put it up for others to make money off?

  3. But are you sure they are charging (although it is evident that they want to — greedy British Library swine)?

    I went in a moment ago (although the website then went down) and searched for Syriac, hit “view thesis”, then placed an order, hit view pricing and it was zero.

  4. I hope I am mistaken. In the past you could download theses without need to login, now you have to. Also, the announcement at the front page that from this month an increased VAT price will apply!

  5. Ehrman is a great “source” for ancient sources and modern bibliographies. Start from his index, and disregard his text!

  6. @Dioscorus: I always had to login to EthOS to do anything. It was a free registration, so I did a junk password as I always do. But yes, I saw that VAT note too!

    @Walter: I always feel that the footnotes are much the most interesting part of a book anyway, or should be. As you say, the text is incidental; what we need are the primary sources.

    Mind you, then you get treacherous publishers who put the footnotes at the back, so you can’t judge how well referenced the statements are by flicking your eye to the foot of the page. Hate that!

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