Introduction to this Home Page
Why did I do this?
I had been experimenting with "grouped textual fields" which are print pages on which more than one text is present (see my Facing the Abusing God: A Theology of Protest, Westminster / John Knox: 1993, part two). It is the usual way of publishing texts in rabbinic tradition. Its advantage is that more than one voice can be seen / heard at once; indeed, contradictory voices can fight for attention on such a page. Then, I wrote the article entitled "Reading Creation" and it contained nine voices. This exceeded the capacity of my word-processing program and I had to hire someone to compose these pages for print publication and, even then, it was awkward. So, I decided to learn hypertexting. Finally, I began working on "Meditations on the Ashrei (Psalm 145)" and realized that I need embedded cartoons to demonstrate the mystical techniques and, again, I needed hypertext to present all the voices that clamored for attention when studying this psalm in its liturgical context.
In addtion, I realized that many of my students were fully familiar with the web and I knew that I would have to be able to talk to them in their own mode and style.
Finally, I decided that the web was the proper place to share articles, book reviews, and course syllabi and teaching materials. The wider the availability of these items, the greater their possible use -- especially in a world of instant and anytime communication.
To make matters easier for everyone
It quickly became clear that I would need to make matters as simple as possible for myself and for visitors to the site. So, I have created and observed the following rules:
1- Graphics are kept to a minimum in order to keep load-time down. For those of you expecting jazzy graphics, this is not the place.
2- I create my files in Word, save them as rtf, and use rtftohtml to convert them into pages that are usable on the web. I read the html files in Claris Home Page, which I recommend highly because one does not need to learn html code; it is all embedded. The transfer process preserves even footnotes and I have not taken the time to change the rather pedestrian method used in the conversion into something more jazzy. (I did experiment for a while with jazzy footnote modes; see the articles labeled "Experiments.")
3- When following footnotes, click on the footnote number and you will get to the proper footnote. To return to where you were in the text, click "Back" in your browser ruler.
4- I have tried to create short web pages in order to reduce the scrolling in long documents. This follows the Yale C/AIM guidelines. To print these items: choose the "print" version in which the whole item is in one file and print; or, use the download or save function in your browser, store on your computer, and print.
5- Some of this material is copyrighted by the journals in which it was published. The rest is copyrighted by me. Readers are more than welcome to use it. I ask only that any material used contain an acknowledgement of its source. This is required by law, Jewish tradition, and common professional courtesy.
6- I periodically update this Home Page and indicate that at the bottom of the page. To revisit this Home Page, use the "Add Bookmark" in your browser.
It is my joyous task to acknowledge and thank the people who have helped me, in so many ways, to develop my home page and the pages that are linked to it.
First, I wish to thank very profoundly Steve Taylor and Selden Deemer. These friends, who work somewhere between the library and the computing center, have reconfigured my computers, advised me on programs, taught me to convert files, helped me scan in images, and generally have, with their patience and cheerfulness, supported my wobbly first steps into this new world. They didn't even blink when I crashed their high-powered computer. I could not have come this far without them. "Thank you, both."
Second, I wish to thank Marie Matthews, of the computing center, for her timely house-call and continuing advice; and Pescha Penso, of the Department of Religion, who has continued to be a few steps ahead of me in this process and has been unfailingly helpful in so many ways.
Lastly, I want to acknowledge my students, some of whom know much more than I and some of whom know much less than I in this realm. Their combined knowledge and ignorance has urged me on to ever more complicated forms of participation in the new world of web communications.
"Thank you, everybody."
David Blumenthal's HomePage