Thisby Thestoop and the Black Mountain

It’s fair to say that I read a good number of books children’s books. Having kids of my own, I like to pilfer their shelves from time to time. In our house, we like to stock “the classics” as a sort of quality guarantee. Since children’s books became a genre there have been writers who have tried to cash in on the children’s market as a way to make a quick buck with little effort. Reading “the classics” means that you get the best books from every era without having to wade through the formulaic twaddle, most of which has mercifully been forgotten over the years.
It’s a different story with modern children’s books. Picking up a new children’s book means taking a chance on wasting your time, and the modern children’s book publishing machine loves tried and true formulas. After the success of Harry Potter we got books about schools for magical/mythological/specially talented kids who are sorted into groups based on their personalities. After The Hunger Games took off, we’ve have had m…

Witness to the Truth

I had quite a visceral response Witness to the Truth by Edith Hamilton. Literally every margin in the entire book is now covered with notes that I wrote in response to this lady. Phooey. Why such a reaction? Is it because she attacks deeply held beliefs or suggests that the Jesus of Christian theology is not the Jesus of history? No, I can certainly stomach Christopher Hitchens or Bertrand Russell and any number of similar atheists with no problem. In fact I have the book A History of God by Karen Armstrong on my shelf and am eagerly looking forward to reading it. It's just that fact that in this book Edith Hamilton's sloppy scholarship evidenced in her books on the Greeks is ramped up by about 500%. So, this review will be a bit...non-standard.

< rant >
Edith Hamilton wrote this book in 1948, meaning that by the time it was published it was simply warmed over liberalism at least half a century old. And like all early 20th century theological liberals, she is smug and condescending not only to the culture of the early church, but also to the writers of the New Testament and all orthodox Christians for nearly 2000 years. The most frustrating thing is that her reading of the New Testament is weak at best. She cuts and pastes at her own whim to create characters out of the NT writers to her liking, and then arbitrarily removes all bits that she believes (on nothing more than rampant speculation) to be added at a later date. Hamilton’s books on the Greeks were weak and lacked any sort of academic rigor, but this book on Christ and Paul is atrocious. I can think of nothing of value you might get from this book unless you’re the type of person who likes to dive in open sewers to find a few shiny pennies. The arguments are puerile, the scholarship is non-existent, and most of her assertions are products of outdated and now discredited textual criticism.
< /rant >

1/5 stars


Erica said…
She also appears to have an obsession with the letter T.

Or perhaps the cover artist did. Because highlighting the T's in the words isn't particularly relevant at all. Just...random.