We who write do oft-employ phraseology which leaves the reader either scratching the head or else snorting and clicking out – this journowankery below is one such:

One blustery evening towards the end of Michaelmas term, 2011, two visiting Americans climbed Obbink’s staircase – Drs Scott Carroll and Jerry Pattengale. Both worked for the Greens, a family of American …

I mean – two strikes already – a Guardian writer and also associated with the Bulwer-Lytton er Booker Prize.

Regulars know my aesthetic distaste for single column journowankery anyway but to compound that with schoolgirl level, adjective and adverb drenched wordjobbery is just too much to read.

Pity, because the subject matter has merit [yes, I did wade through it on the second attempt].  Essentially, being the Guardian and also her, an article on lack of due diligence by this group:

… somehow reflects on Christian ‘scholarship’ in general – that’s the dearest hope of the godless Guardian.

But if that was the case, then something seriously odd was going on. The Mark fragment was, supposedly, part of the Green collection. It could not also belong to the EES. What’s more, the reason the fragment was the source of such fascination was that it was from the first century. But the one about to be published was labelled as late-second, or early-third century. Hixson immediately posted a blog on Evangelical Textual Criticism spelling out his puzzlement. As a commenter on the post said, there had either been a catastrophic misunderstanding – or someone was lying.

Holmes is trying to improve practices at the Museum of the Bible. Hobby Lobby and the Greens have, he said, declared a halt to what he called “problematic” acquisitions. Only items with fully researched provenances will be bought. Only papyri that have properly established legal provenance will be displayed online and in the museum, and published in scholarly volumes.

The question of pilfered antiquities is certainly one which should be looked at closely, but not by those with a barrow to push, such as the Guardian. Nor would you trust anyone writing BCE and CE, which is not dissimilar to me being called out for writing G-d instead of God [the former is a Jewish construction].  It’s a dead giveaway.

By the way, just in case anyone tries it on:

This dating system [BC/AD] was devised in 525 by Dionysius Exiguus of Scythia Minor, but was not widely used until after 800.


The expression [BCE/CE] has been traced back to 1615, when it first appeared in a book by Johannes Kepler as the Latin usage annus aerae nostrae vulgaris, and to 1635 in English as “Vulgar[b] Era”.

So when someone tries to tell you that BCE/CE is the ‘traditional’ notation in scholastic circles, he’s being quite naughty in leaving out the first bit about Anno Domini.

This is the state of scholarship I’m afraid – the godless/secular [they would say classical] versus the traditional [post Roman Empire].  At the moment, godless/secular is in the ascendant, just as global leftism is in politics and on social issues.

One thing I did like in that article was that the Mark fragment was C1st but it still doesn’t get us off the hook as far as dating goes. The issue is not C1st or not, the issue is pre or post AD 70, for very specific reasons [posts passim].

And there are very clear and clashing agendas going on here, which comes down to nothing less than the divinity of Christ.

The secular side would say that, having called doubt on the authenticity of fragments, given that many have been stolen [altered/substituted/added to?], then how can anything at all be regarded as ‘safe’ in antiquities?

Yet that can also be extended to the classics, highly sought after but not having quite the same agenda attached to them as anything purportedly Christian.

Unsatisfactory but then again – history never was convenient.

1 comment for “Journowankery

  1. Andy5759
    January 10, 2020 at 19:47

    It was a dark, stormy night… Yeh, I get it. Either the editor wants three thousand words and she’s struggling, or wants an entry in Pseud’s Corner.

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