'Too Christian' for Academia?
#1
link [nationalreview.com]

'Too Christian' for Academia?
A four-volume encyclopedia gets pulped in the name of political correctness.

By Edward Feser

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 "They also object to historical references to the persecution and massacres of Christians by Muslims," Kurian says, "but at the same time want references favorable to Islam."

Political correctness in academic publishing is nothing new, but it would be unusual, to say the least, for ideological pressure to lead a publisher to reverse itself so late in the process, especially given the significant financial losses involved in pulping a print run of a gigantic four-volume encyclopedia. As Kurian puts it, "This is probably the first instance of mass book-burning in the 21st century."

Last week, Kurian e-mailed a memo to his nearly 400 contributors informing them of Wiley-Blackwell’s decision, and of his intention of pursuing on their behalf a class-action breach-of-contract lawsuit. Kurian’s memo was soon distributed on the e-mail list of the Society of Christian Philosophers, and is getting attention in the blogosphere. (Full disclosure: I am one of the contributors to the encyclopedia; to my knowledge, no complaints were raised about anything I wrote.)

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."

Quote:Reality check: the work is/was titled The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization!

Kurian reports that critics objected to contributions from a number of established scholars, some from prominent academic departments and widely published in mainstream journals and academic presses—their work was deemed too theologically conservative and orthodox.

A representative of Wiley-Blackwell has sent an e-mail of his own to the encyclopedia's contributors, insisting that Kurian’s charges are "completely without foundation." The press’s actions, the representative claims, stem simply from a concern for "standards of appropriate scholarship." This concern has led it to decide that the work's articles require further review before publication. The publisher has not explained why its academic standards did not prevent it from granting final editorial approval and printing the encyclopedia. To paraphrase John Kerry, it would seem that Wiley-Blackwell was for publication before it was against it.
Reply
#2
This is only more proof that the Academia is often the perfect place to successfully generate the offspring of Satan.
Reply
#3
Marc Wrote:"BC/AD"

The recent objections to "BC/AD" time keeping is absurd. The substitutes, BCE (Before Common Era)/ CE (Common Era), count off from the same historical event, namely the birth of Christ. Besides that, the term "Common Era" is inaccurate as any number of groups count-off from different dates. The Mohammedan calendar for instance counts from the Hijra, and Hindu, Buddhist, and Zoroastrians all have various reckonings of time. Our current year, 2009, isn't exactly "common."
Reply
#4
I'm very disappointed in Blackwell, but I don't anticipate I'll stop buying their books anytime soon. A very solid publisher in spite of this.
Reply
#5
Credo Wrote:
Marc Wrote:"BC/AD"

The recent objections to "BC/AD" time keeping is absurd. The substitutes, BCE (Before Common Era)/ CE (Common Era), count off from the same historical event, namely the birth of Christ. Besides that, the term "Common Era" is inaccurate as any number of groups count-off from different dates. The Mohammedan calendar for instance counts from the Hijra, and Hindu, Buddhist, and Zoroastrians all have various reckonings of time. Our current year, 2009, isn't exactly "common."

BCE/CE is one of my pet peeves. For no good reason, academia and the media -- the people with the power to change language in an artificial manner -- changed something that had worked perfectly well for hundreds of years. There's been too much of that in the past fifty years.
Reply
#6
Quote:BCE (Before Common Era)/ CE (Common Era)

Just to piss people off, insist on reading them as "Before Christian Era" and "Christian Era". :P
Reply
#7
The BCE rubbish is a passing fad. But "Christian vs Academia" is no passing fad - that's a division that has always existed and always will. That's why Doctors like Aquinas who unite the two are so revered by some and so reviled by others.
Reply




Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)