When headline writers suck

There’s a story percolating through the internet that originally appeared in San Fransisco Chronicle and has now made its way to places like the Huffington Post*. I don’t fault Justin Berton, the Chronicle writer, because i realize that he probably didn’t write the headline. None-the-less, “Biblical scholar’s date for rapture: May 21, 2011” is shite…though it was enough to pique the interest of the fluff chasers at the Huff Po.

Having never heard of Harold Camping before seeing this article, i had to do a little research. My suspicions were confirmed. Mr. Camping isn’t a “Biblical scholar”. I’ve seen no indication that Mr. Camping reads and works with texts in Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic** or even Latin. What i have seen is that Mr. Camping uses a concordance to check questions of language.

Mr. Camping is entitled to believe that the world will end whenever he believes it will end. Fools are welcome to believe that he’s right. But Mr. Camping is not a “Biblical scholar” in any sense of the word. He spends at least two hours every day reading a translation of a translation (and in many cases) of a translation. In all these years he’s never even bothered to learn Greek. On the other hand, i guess i can now call myself a “Biblical scholar” since i actually have more formal training than Mr. Camping.

“Crazy old man thinks the world will end: May 21, 2011”. There, i fixed it. Not only am i a Biblical scholar, i’m a headline writer too.

*The link does not go to the HuffPo. Click it, it goes to an article about that “Internet Newspaper”.

**I realize that Aramaic is not necessary to read the Bible as a scholar because none of the Bible was written in Aramaic. But if we’re discussing what Jesus said, then it’s an important language since Jesus was saying whatever he said in Aramaic.


~ by Lex on January 3, 2010.

One Response to “When headline writers suck”

  1. Great post, and I agree that anyone who puts an exact date on the end of the world is nuts. But – a small correction. Some parts of the Old Testament are written in Aramaic, such as Daniel and Ezra, a verse in Jeremiah, and two words in Genesis. Also, many people believe the New Testament WAS originally written in Aramaic, and this is preserved in the words of the Aramaic Peshitta to this day, except that it has been eclipsed by the popularity of the Greek New Testament.

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