On at least two previous occasions, we have reflected upon the unnerving sycophancy of most publisher’s blurbs. One of those times, I mentioned that in a moment of unusual inspiration, I myself had crafted a blurb of such perfection as to be (or so I thought) without peer:
Thus far, the earth has rotated around its axis in anticipation of this book. Now that it is here, it does so in thanksgiving.
I said then that I eagerly awaited an opportunity to put this bouquet of blandiloquence to good use, but alas, it appears that I may have to wait much longer than originally expected to endorse anything in those terms. You see, during a recent visit to the local Borders, I discovered, much to my dismay, a bit of publisher’s copy that so closely parallels my blurb that it could potentially raise troubling questions of plagiarism. The line in question is found on the back cover of Scot McKnight’s book, The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008), where we read:
Until Scot McKnight wrote The Blue Parakeet, today’s Christian had little choice—either side with out-of-touch fundamentalists or unrealistic liberals . . . which left millions in the middle disenfranchised, unsure how to read the Bible in a postmodern world.
Aside from the mislaid ellipsis issue, the similarities are clear to the naked eye. Obviously the publication of McKnight’s book is the pivot on which the history of hermeneutics turns, since prior to it (and in spite of the oceans of ink spilled on the subject), today’s Christian had no other possibility than to choose from either of two equally undesirable models. Oh, the doubt! Oh, the insecurity! Well, my gentle snowflakes, be of good cheer: that was so only until the publication of The Blue Parakeet. Up to that point, the whole created universe in all its parts had groaned as if in the pangs of childbirth; since then, it has clearly entered the glorious hermeneutical freedom of the children of God.
Seriously, who comes up with this stuff?