"The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing."


Glenn Reynolds:

Barack Obama:
"Impossible to transcend."

Albert A. Gore, Jr.:
"An incontinent brute."

Rev. Jeremiah Wright:
"God damn the Gentleman Farmer."

Friends of GF's Sons:
"Is that really your dad?"

Kickball Girl:
"Keeping 'em alive until 7:45."

Hired Hand:
"I think . . . we forgot the pheasant."

I'm an
Alcoholic Yeti
in the
TTLB Ecosystem

Friday, February 13, 2009

At War With the Word

If one were to write a political history of Montana, it might well be possible to do so without using the words "Virgin Birth," "Resurrection," or "Evangelism." It would be considerably more difficult to omit those words from a history of, say, the United States. What, for example, would one do about Jonathan Edwards, or the settlement of Mary-land?

Now imagine you've assembled a four-volume "Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization." Omission of those words wouldn't make the task merely impossible, the result would be completely incoherent.

We are apparently mistaken, however:
Wiley-Blackwell, a major academic press, was set to release its four-volume Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization this month. According to the encyclopedia’s editor, George Thomas Kurian, the set had been copy-edited, fact-checked, proofread, publisher-approved, printed, bound, and formally launched (to high praise) at the recent American Academy of Religion/Society of Biblical Literature conference. But protests from a small group of scholars associated with the project have led the press to postpone publication, recall all copies already distributed, and destroy the existing print run. The scholars’ complaint? The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization, they have reportedly argued, is “too Christian.” “They also object to historical references to the persecution and massacres of Christians by Muslims,” Kurian says, “but at the same time want references favorable to Islam.”


The memo also claims that the “words or passages [the critics] want deleted” include “Antichrist,” “BC/AD (as chronological markers),” “Virgin Birth,” “Resurrection,” and “Evangelism.” “To make the treatment ‘more balanced,’” the memo says, the critics “also want the insertion of material denigrating Christianity in some form or fashion.”
Oh my. The use of B.C. and A.D. could certainly be avoided with a little editing. Luther's 95 Theses, for example, could simply be described as having been posted in MMCCLXX A.U.C. The others would be more difficult.


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