Defining Digital Theology: Barthian Reflections on the Role of Open Access and Electronic Publishing in the Theological Toolkit

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Race MoChridhe


As a student member of the Atla Press Coordinating Committee, the presenter has spent the past eight months evaluating, developing, and implementing digital tools to support the Press' initiatives in open access scholarship. This session frames those efforts in the context of theology's status as a "minor participant" (Hutchings 2015) in the digital humanities as well as the emergence of a trans-disciplinary domain increasingly identified as “digital theology” (Phillips 2014). Drawing on Anderson’s (2018) analysis of theology’s disciplinary distance from the main body of digital humanities work, the presenter outlines a case for the distinctive primacy of digital publishing tools and open access commitments in digital theology, as compared with the broader suite of research tools and methods that constitute the “cultural capital” (Schroeder 2016) of digital humanities as generally understood. Particular attention is paid in this regard to Karl Barth’s vision of a “proclamation-centered” (Hector, 2015) theological method as the basis for an ecclesiological critique of closed access publication models.

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