Crowdsourcing Paul’s Letters to Corinth

Last week I noted a few of the many new tools and online sites available for reading and interpreting Paul’s Corinthian correspondence. I was a little surprised to find so few digitally annotated commentaries on 1 and 2 Corinthians given the relative ease of coding a text through TEI markup language, the availability of online platforms that have simplified the process, and the currency of crowdsourcing in the digital humanities. One can find commentaries through subscriptions in biblegateway, of course, but there are now platforms available for producing collaborative crowdsourced commentaries.

Consider Genius, a site freely available for annotating musical lyrics. Their website claims to have made available annotations of literally millions of songs that include “all of Kanye and Kendrick, but also Hamlet, TV and movie scripts, Kurt Cobain’s suicide note, and even the Chipotle menu…”. The platform allows users to highlight difficult or obscure lyrics, annotate, comment, and add context and images to help individuals make sense of text. The site also provides a Genius Web Annotator which, through a Chrome extension, gives users the ability to mark up any internet page, make one’s own website annotatable, and easily share annotations with anyone. The website already has many Corinthian-related texts uploaded by their user community including Pausanias’ Book 2, Lord Byron’s “Siege of Corinth,” and chapters from modern scholarship such as Dale Martin’s The Corinthian Body.Genius

For one successful model in using Genius to mark up the Corinthian correspondence, check out Professor Laura Nasrallah‘s commentaries on the Pauline epistles and the Corinthian correspondence crowdsourced by Harvard University undergraduates. Nasrallah’s guide for students includes both practical suggestions such as formatting and multimedia, as well as contextual questions for students to consider as they annotate:

  • What is the significance of the historical context of the political power of the Roman Empire?
  • What is the significance of the socio-economic context of the first century CE?
  • What do the various arguments within the Pauline correspondence reveal about the debates in which the earliest Christians were engaged?
  • How does your experience help you to bring new interpretive contexts and to ask better questions?

CrowdsourcedCorinthiansNasrallah’s student commentaries build on earlier semesters with the result that students may interact with earlier classes. You can see the full list of Nasrallah’s annotated chapters and books here.

Crowdsourced platforms such as Genius have a wide range of potential uses that include but go well beyond academic contexts for reading Corinthian texts. Virtually any group or community could use such a platform for a collaborative study of 1 and 2 Corinthians. And it would be great to see someone put together a digital patristic commentary on these letters–an online version of Gerald Bray’s ancient Christian commentaries on 1-2 Corinthians. If you have worked to digitally annotate these letters, send me a link and I’ll add it a static webpage when I convert some of these posts into more static pages.

This is the sixth post in a series on resources for the study of ancient religion and Christianity in Corinth. Earlier posts include:

 

 

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Categories: Commentaries, Digital Corinthia, Periods, Roman, Religion, 1 Corinthians, Religion, 2 Corinthians

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