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Tuesday, January 02, 2007


One one Presbyterian blog there has been some questioning of WJK and the publishing of naughty material (here and here). E.g. Why Christianity Happened. For example:

Here’s the provoking example from today:

Two times lately, the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation (PPC) has released books that embarrass Presbyterians and propound theology in contradiction to our Reformed convictions: in July, Christian Faith and the Truth behind 9/11 by David Ray Griffin, and in November, Why Christianity Happened, by James G. Crossley. The publishing house’s board of directors actually repudiated Griffin’s 9/11 book, but kept right on selling it.

I'll fairly predictably leave Griffin's book to one side and mention my own and defend a religious publisher for publishing something like this. The reason why is that this is an academic discipline and publishers like WHJ engage with an academic audeince. Therefore, I don't see why they should also publish material that would run contrary to the beliefs of a certain type of religious person. Think of the opposite: secular publishers publish religious and faith based books and quite right too. I know they are supposed to be more open in one sense but if a (say) reformed publisher did not do this then they are effectively damned in the academic world by closing down one side of the debate, not only in academic terms but for their own apparent audience. Do religious folk really need to be sheltered from non-religious views? Are they really that fragile? Unlikely. I interact with such people all the time and they are only too happy to tell me where I go wrong and good for them. And clearly given the amount of books dealing with non-religious or liberal people at least some presumably don't want to avoid alternative views. I could understand more if it was a publisher trying to get a minority view heard but the evangelical or reformed or whatever have a solid base and need not worry.


Anonymous Jim said...

I think the complaint might have more weight if the book had been published by Intervarsity Press. They have a clear theological agenda. Westminster John Knox is one of the best publishers in the States. They should be lauded and applauded and not scorned for their decision to publish "outside the box."

January 02, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the other hand - how many religious books does the British Humanist Association publish?

January 02, 2007

Blogger steph said...

the naughty links are misbehaving.

January 02, 2007


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