I recently asked Jim West what his definition of a Fundamentalist was and this has led to some disagreement between Jim and Joe Cathey. The problem is that for most people the word “Fundamentalist” is nothing more than a term of abuse for those more theologically conservative than themselves. For example, a humanist might refer to all Christians as “Fundamentalists”, while a liberal Christian might call all Evangelicals by that name, a member of the “Evangelical Left” might refer to more conservative Evangelicals as such, and so on. The definition thus depends on your own perspective.
I was recently given a copy of New Age Bible Versions by Home Economics lecturer Gail Riplinger. It is sad that such a book has achieved such notoriety, given that its arguments are so flawed. I was grateful for the work done by James R. White in his book: James R. White, The King James Only Controversy: Can You Trust the Modern Translations? Bethany House Publishers, 1995. Pbk. ISBN: 1556615752. pp.286. and for his on-line article, available here. I know from personal experience how seductive this kind of conspiracy theory can be and can only hope that common sense and sound reasoning will ultimately prevail.
Update: 9th June 2006: Observant readers of this blog will have noticed that this entry has been been graced by a visit from Mrs Riplinger herself. When I read that Gail now styles herself “Dr” I wondered how she had managed to earn this qualification, but am reliable informed that she hasn’t – it is an honorary doctorate from Hyles-Anderson College. While this institution can award these pieces of paper to however they wish it is generally regarded as very bad form to use them in order to mislead people into thinking that you have an earned qualification. I am still awaiting a reply from Kent State University regarding which courses she taught there. It seems clear that whatever courses Mrs Riplinger taught within the Home Economics Department at Kent State, they are all a long way from textual criticism and theology! 4/7/06: New Comment: Dear Mr Bradshaw, I note that you are in the process of investigating Dr Mrs Riplinger’s background at Kent State. Should that investigation vindicate the comments that she has posted, will you be issuing a public apology to her? Yours sincerely Alan O’Reilly – Of course if Mrs Riplinger taught anything that is remotely connected with Textual Criticism and Theology she deserves an apology. Her own comment in my blog does not lead to me to think that this is the case. It would seem from Bob & Gretchen Passantino’s research on the subject: New Age Bible Versions: A Critical Review That my description is accurate:
Gail Riplinger does not have any advanced degrees in Bible, theology, linguistics, textual criticism, or any other academic subject related to the subject of this book. She has not been associated with any well-known, accepted counter cult organization or expert, nor has she had previous books published on biblical issues. No reputable biblical scholar has endorsed her thesis or her arguments. Riplinger has advanced degrees in Industrial and Environmental Design (a branch of what used to be called Home Economics) and taught Family and Consumer Studies and Retail Space Plans (Home Economics) for a few years at Kent State University in Ohio. When she is asked what facility she has in biblical languages, she says that as a school girl she took Latin, and after graduation from high school, she worked as an English tutor with Greek immigrants. On a radio program she admitted she could not read Greek or Hebrew.
It would appear that no apology is necessary on my part.
I have recently uploaded Gordon Wenham’s summary of developments in academic Pentateuchal studies up to 1996:
More articles from Themelios are available here.