I recently managed to acquire some of those iconic early issues of that great journal Semeia. Having been at the editorial board meeting in 2002 when the journal was fatefully axed, and having had a supervisor (Robert Culley) who was on the editorital board in those heady early days of the 1970s, I have been keen to get some hard, physical copies of the early issues.
So what does one find?
Who was the first biblical scholar to take a serious interest in Derrida? Stephen Moore? The Postmodern Bible Collective? No, John Dominic Crossan (Semeia 23 in 1982).
Who, as editor, published up to four pieces in one journal issue? John Dominic Crossan (what’s with the ‘Dominic’ anyway?)
And a simple lesson of scholarship. I have always been fascinated with the look back 40, 50, 100 years in order to find out who was hot then. So who was hot at the time of the early Semeia? Was it Derrida? No, he had to wait almost 10 years. Foucault? Hardly. Jameson? You’ve got to be kidding. It was Erhardt Güttgemanns.
Erhardt who? Exactly. These young lads on the Semeia board got very excited over this guy’s ‘Generative Poetics’, translating his stuff (issue 6) and then devoting issues to his work (#10). Largely forgotten now. And that’s the catch with all this wayward research assessment that goes on, using bibliometrics and other quack medicines. It’s an effort to divine the impossible: who will be read in 50 years time?