Twenty Years of Theological Markup Languages A Retro- and Prospective

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Race J. MoChridhe


ThML—the first open, XML-based markup language designed specifically for digital libraries handling theological collections—was first conceived in 1998, sparking a period of development in discipline-specific markup languages for theology that lasted until the early 2000s, when the dominance of the TEI standard led the field to stagnate. Despite the disappearance of the active developer communities behind most of the projects as well as technical improvements in the TEI, however, ThML and other languages developed during that period remain in use by several notable projects. After presenting a brief history of theology-specific markup, this article seeks to understand what its persistence tells us about the discipline-specific needs of biblical and theological studies that are still not being met by the TEI, and offers insights as to the lessons that may be drawn from these projects for the future of theological markup.

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