Messianic Judaism Wiki:About
The following is an incomplete draft:
Welcome to the Messianic Judaism Wiki! This project is just getting started in earnest and I'm sure you have a lot of questions. Please feel free to look around, contribute, and suggest improvements: that's the whole point of a wiki model—they're the ultimate meritocracy.
Why Are We Here?
This wiki exists to serve the Messianic Jewish Community, the Hebrew Roots movement, and anyone interested in Jewish-Christian relations. As you can see we're a young project so pardon our dust as we continue to improve the Wiki.
What is Our Purpose?
- For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
—Habakkuk 2:14 (WEB:ME)
Our Own Encyclopedia
The Messianic Judaism Wiki exists to provide a special purpose free content encyclopedia about Hebrew Christians, Messianic Jews, and the wider Hebrew Roots movement. But we're more than an encyclopedia of facts: we want to provide genuine value for the community—both for the layman and the serious scholar religious scholar.
We've already uploaded just under 600 biographical articles under a free (CC-BY-SA) license. We seek to update those articles for improved quality, provide extensive bibliographic data, add multimedia, and everything else you might expect. Here on Messianic Judaism Wiki no article is complete without a bibliography or extensive further reading section. This helps scholars, this helps the layman looking for good books on a topic of interest, this promotes Messianic Jewish literacy, and so forth.
You might ask why we'd need an encyclopedia of our own, after all, Messianic Jews are a religious minority (Jews who believe in Jesus) wrapped within a religious minority (wider Judaism) which might suggest we're just too small to warrant an encyclopedia of our own. The fact is that Messianic Judaism is an important movement religiously, sociologically, and historically, and that importance is vastly disproportionate to its actual numbers.
Others might look to Wikipedia as a more appropriate clearinghouse for this information. While it's true Wikipedia has large amounts of information—much of it quite good—it's far from an ideal place to develop a wide body of encyclopedic content related to Messianic Judaism.
Messianic Judaism, even widely defined to include the historical "Primitive Church," generations of historical Hebrew Christians, modern Messianic Judaism and the wider Hebrew Roots movement, is a niche topic. Properly used, Wikipedia makes for a fine general purpose encyclopedia, but sufficiently small niche topics tend to suffer because it's difficult to overcome a perceived lack of notabilty to a wider audience. As such, the best solution is to have a project dedicated to the task of an authoritative reference on all things Messianic Judaism and optimally license it in such a way that both projects can benefit from each other's work.
Our Own Cultural Repository
The goal of the Messianic Judaism Wiki extends beyond encyclopedic content. Indeed, it's our goal to have a place to share freely licensed content with the Messianic community and anyone else who is interested. This can be existing content that is old enough to have passed into Public Domain, or new content licensed under an appropriate free license.
What Kind of Content?
The precise scope of what free content best suits the project is still an open issue. But certainly works of art, music, and public domain historical documents are all more than welcome. We'd also like to see some community-produced documents, for example a freely licensed Haggadah for community use, etc.
What We're Not
For starters, we're not Wikipedia, nor does this site have any relationship with the Wikimedia foundation. We use the Mediawiki software because it's extremely powerful and freely available under an open source license. This is the same software that Wikipedia uses, but the Mediawiki software was chosen because it's the most powerful option and the right tool for the job—nothing more.
Further, the CC-BY-SA license under which content on this site is licensed (unless otherwise specified) because we wanted users to be free to share the content openly—all that we ask is that you give appropriate attribution. As it happens, Wikipedia migrated to this same license from the GFDL circa 2008. This means that both projects can share content freely. Though, please bear in mind the following: historically getting Messianic content onto Wikipedia and keeping it there has been an uphill battle. Also, when importing content from Wikipedia to this project (where appropriate) please note that our policies are not identical with theirs.
We're also not a battleground. We exist to document Messianic Judaism and related movements, preserve and advance its culture and the like. There are a variety of streams of thought within Messianic Judaism (some of which are incompatible) and a number of leaders within the movement that hold many different views. These should be documented in a coherent manner academic manner and preserved.
Most especially, we are not affiliated with any specific Messianic organization. This is not to say the individual contributors don't have their own respective affiliations—of course they do. But we strive for scholastic neutrality within the Messianic movement. Put another way, we're not a soap box for any specific arm of the Messianic Jewish movement. We have a specific declared bias toward faith in a Jewish Jesus and that may be all that certain contributors agree on, but all constructive contributions are welcome.