May 092014
 

Discussion-GroupIn 1999, not a single biblioblog existed. Even Paleojudaica and NT Blog, two of the first, were yet to emerge. A lot of discussion still happened on Usenet, an ancient internet protocol that most reasonable people have abandoned. Yahoo! would soon acquire a popular service for managing e-mail lists, with lists such as Crosstalk being hot stuff at the time. Web-based forums were also gaining ground at this time.

By 2004, the Bible blogs had started gaining serious steam. These steadily peeled off the most active participants from the mailing lists as they established their own blogs and worked on building them up. Companies such as WordPress and Blogger facilitated this revolution. The bandwidth on e-mail lists was still brisk, but it was soon to be on the decline. Facebook was born.

In 2014, nearly all of the e-mail lists have died off or slowed to a crawl. The “Web 2.0” revolution is now the old guard, and people are most comfortable with using the web protocol for everything. Yahoo! Groups has gone the way of Pluto: still there but not what it used to be. If Facebook is now the size of Jupiter, the blogosphere is Saturn with its rings, and Reddit is the red planet Mars. Several large web forums exist, but the Bible is only a sideshow for the big ones. A plucky little operation called the Biblical Criticism & History Forum has split off one of them, hoping to survive on its own.

Here are the top 50 discussion groups where you can talk about the Bible online…

Facebook Groups

This is the largest category today. I’ve arranged them by number of members.

New Testament Scholarship Worldwide 5301
Society of Biblical Literature 4055
New Testament Textual Criticism 2857
Theology on the Web 2680
Jewish History, Genealogy and Archaeology 2566
Biblical Archaeology 2397
Jewish Studies on Facebook 1988
ALMMG – Ancient Levant and Mediterranean multidisciplinary Gathering 1538
The Bible Geek Listeners 950
Hebrew Codicology and Paleography 735
Society for New Testament Study 615
European Association of Biblical Studies 598
Canadian Society for Coptic Studies Société Canadienne pour Études Copte 574
The British New Testament Society 569
Enoch Seminar: Second Temple Judaism and Christian Origins 469
Queer Biblical Studies and Theologies 438
CHAOS – Skandinavisk tidsskrift for religionshistoriske studier 383
SBL Student Members 366
IOQS – International Organization for Qumran Studies 366
Greek Isaiah in a Year 239
Corpus Hellenisticum Novi Testamenti (CHNT) 217
4Gospels.com- The Less Sensational Site 215
Nag Hammadi Seminar 203
SECSOR 197
Scriptural Reception History 189
Feminist Theology 98

 

Yahoo! Groups

These survivors have true grit. They’re still active after all these years.

Jesus Mysteries 2532
Biblical Studies 1046
Ancient Bible History 740
Textual Criticism of the Bible 590
Xtalk: Historical Jesus & Christian Origins 534
Synoptic-L 244
The Gospel of Thomas Discussion Group 220

 

Subreddits

They’re actually worth a look. There might be interesting things here that Feedly or the Old Reader missed.

reddit Academic Biblical 3194
reddit Biblical Archaeology 631
reddit Bible 296

 

Sections of Bigger Web Forums

Because talking about the Bible all day long is not for the faint of heart.

Catholic Answers Forum > Apologetics 455443
Christian Forums > History 351763
CARM Discussion Forums > Bible Questions and Discussion 97378
Ummah.com > Comparative Religion 83852
Religious Forums > Biblical Debates 53203
Shia Chat > Philosophy, Atheism/Theism & Other Interfaith Dialogue 44746
Theology Online > Religion 15966
Debating Christianity & Religion > Christianity and Apologetics 10111
OrthodoxChristianity.net > Free-For-All 8555
Rational Skepticism > Christianity 6287
Talk Rational > Theology, Hagiography and Creeds 2809

 

Stand-Alone Forums

It’s tough for a forum to go Sola Scriptura, but these proud few show that it is possible.

B-Greek: The Biblical Greek Forum 1422
Theology Web 669
Biblical Criticism & History Forum 248

 

Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments.

Comments

comments

  6 Responses to “Top 50 Discussion Groups for the Bible”

  1. I am part of a large one on Facebook that is not mentioned (5400+)

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/CFDD1/

    Just thought it should be added to the list!!

  2. Please include the NT Textual Criticism group on Facebook. (Not the same as the New Testament Textual Criticism group there.) Come pillage the files!

  3. Impressive work Peter and a nice summary of recent trends (15 years!). Thanks. I began writing online in 1996 but the software was not there to support conversation. Today there is a chasm for me between Google+ and Facebook. I do not like what G+ did to comments or Picasa integration – but it is their software and I don’t pay for it. I see that your blog integrates FB and local comments – where is all this going!

  4. Peter, is there any discussion groups concerning biblical
    errancy such as Farrell Till’s old errancy discussion list?
    Thanks,
    Kenneth Hawthorne

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