More book reviews of interest

victor steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Thu May 5 13:47:22 UTC 2011

Mark Kleiman comments on Diarmaid MacCulloch’s Christianity: The First Three
Thousand Years. I wouldn't exactly call it a review, but there is a relevant

MacCulloch’s father was an East Anglian rector, and the book is marked by a
> cheerful courtesy and good humor that it’s hard not to see as the product of
> the best sort of manse upbringing. In discussing the terminological
> conventions he has chosen, MacCulloch writes:
>> I have tried to avoid names which are offensive to those to whom they have
>> been applied, which means that readers may encounter unfamiliar usages, so I
>> speak of “Miaphysites” and “Dyophysites” rather than “Monophysites” or
>> “Nestorians,” or the “Apostolic Catholic Church” rather than “Irvingites.”
>> Some may sneer at this as “political correctness.” When I was young my
>> parents were insistent on the importance of being courteous and respectful
>> of other people’s opinions and I am saddened that those undramatic virtues
>> have now been relabeled in an unfriendly spirit.
> The polemical assignment of nasty names to virtues has become a regular
> practice: we now have “elitism” to denigrate the love of excellence and
> “permissiveness” for to make freedom seem threatening. Whoever invented
> “political correctness” as a bad name for courtesy did a bad day’s work.

This is actually about 2/3 of the entire post.


The American Dialect Society -

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