New Usenet group: soc.history.ancient is alive and well

joe at joe at
Fri Feb 14 05:35:50 UTC 1997

Hi, folks.  My apologies to those of you who are on more than one of these
lists, for the cross-post.

The Usenet newsgroup which I previously wrote to each of these lists about
the effort to create - soc.history.ancient - has now, in fact, been
created.  It's an unmoderated group whose charter defines the topic as
history as it can be known from contemporary textual sources, worldwide, up
to AD 700.

The vote on the group's creation, to my extreme delight, was 333 YES, 13
NO, and 1 ABSTAIN.  By Usenet Big 8 voting standards, this was an
exceptionally favourable response.  My thanks to any of you who took the
time to inform yourselves about the proposal and vote.

I've delayed somewhat in sending this notice because I wanted to see the
group before writing, and my own Internet service provider has taken
several days to make it available.  But I did finally get the chance
tonight to read some 25 messages (not the first ones in the group), and
what I found was two spams, one (courteous) post about Zechariah Sitchin,
one discourteous post about allegedly close-minded scholars, and 21
on-topic and basically sane posts.  For an unmoderated group on Usenet,
this is really a fine showing.  The majority of posts were focused on
Europe or the Near East (though one asked about Laozi's real name, and I'd
be particularly happy if anyone from EAAN could spare the time to correct
or elaborate on the answer I gave), across the full chronological range of
the group.

Anyway.  I must confess that there seemed to be more questions than
answers.  It would be delightful to see scholars arrive in the group in
such force that the much-feared kooks would flee screaming :-).  I realise
no newsgroup will take the place of the more specialised mailing lists, but
rather hope that it may become, at best, a tool for contact among the
scholars and other interested parties on different mailing lists, as well
as a way of acquainting the general public with scholars' results.  Toward
these ends I'm working on several FAQs for the group, and I suspect most of
you will be hearing from me in due course, via these lists, about various
pieces of that job.

Looking forward to seeing (at least some of) you on soc.history.ancient...   :-)

Joe Bernstein
joe at

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