Is biblical studies boring? It’s hard to tell. If you ask my wife, she will tell you that the books I read are boring and irrelevant. And this from someone who reads at least two books a week! If you ask me, I kind of like the books in our discipline. Who wouldn’t want to read The Story of Israel in the Book of Qohelet? Right? Right??
Of course, sometimes I like the idea of reading our literature more than I enjoy the actual practice. Let’s be honest, biblical studies as a discipline doesn’t have a reputation for literary sophistication. We include the words “well written” in our published reviews because there weren’t glaring grammatical errors and the book made sense. We didn’t actually enjoy the reading experience.
But is this a problem? Certainly not! Not if you don’t want people reading in your discipline and finding relevance in your work.
Okay, maybe it is a problem!
Thankfully there are young, innovative scholars working hard to redefine our discipline’s literary habits. The Marginalia Review of Books is actively reshaping our discipline, one book review, interview, essay, and editorial at a time. Online, freely accessible, visually and literarily appealing—MRB is raising the standard, not only by challenging us to write better, but also by creating something worth reading in the meantime.
If biblical studies is boring, MRB is making it a little less so.