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Life Arts    H4'ed 8/7/16

Stanley Fish's New Book WINNING ARGUMENTS (Review Essay)

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We Americans can thank the Hebrew Bible in English translation known as the King James Bible for helping to inspire American Protestants to develop what the Jewish scholar in American studies at Harvard University Sacvan Bercovitch writes about in his book The American Jeremiad, 2nd ed. (University of Wisconsin Press, 2012).

For a more recent discussion of the American jeremiad tradition in American culture, see the law-school professor Cathleen Kaveny's book Prophecy Without Contempt: Religious Discourse in the Public Square (Harvard University Press, 2016).

In any event, it strikes me that we Americans today are not in danger of having a shortage of American jeremiadists, or American jeremiads.

Nevertheless, I can readily understand why Kaveny advocates "Prophecy Without Contempt" for religionists to practice in "Religious Discourse in the Public Square." For when religionists express contempt for people who disagree with their views, those people might understandably stop pay attention to them.

But I wish that she had discuss secularists and their expressions of contempt for religionists and religious views. When secularists express contempt for religionists and religious faith, those people may be inclined to respond in kind.

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Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three degrees from Saint Louis University (SLU): B.A. in English, 1966; M.A.(T) in English 1968; Ph.D.in higher education, 1974. On May 16, 1969, the editors of the SLU student newspaper named him Man of the Year, an honor customarily conferred on an administrator or a faculty member, not on a graduate student -- nor on a woman up to that time. He is the proud author of the book (more...)
 

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