“To them I dedicate the effort represented in this book”

Suffice it to say, I hope, that I have nothing against this author or book. In fact, the book itself seems pretty interesting, and I may very well track down a copy. BUT . . . is it it just me, or does the final paragraph of the Acknowledgments page seem a bit, shall we say, much?

I know this bit of snark borders on being distasteful, due both the author’s earnestness and the motivation for his being so earnest. And perhaps I deserve your scorn more than he or it. But it is a risk I’m willing to take.

11 thoughts on ““To them I dedicate the effort represented in this book”

  1. Yeah, I considered that, but only after publishing the post. It seems like if that was the case, you’d say so.

    Obviously, the sentiment expressed is a sound one. No doubt about that. It’s just that something about the expansiveness of the sentiment, when most Acknowledgments stick to banal things like “my darling wife,” or kids, or certain seminars or colleagues, just seemed a little off to me. I imagined the following conversation:

    “I hear you have a new book. Did you put me in the Acknowledgments? HA HA”
    [Seriously] “No. I acknowledged victims of the Holocaust.”
    “Uh…. yeah. Probably better, that.”

  2. Unless he has a direct connection, it does seem perhaps slightly presumptuous – as if it would be significant to anyone?

    On a lighter note, how about the unexpected acknowledgment. I was acknowledged in a book on Derrida, and couldn’t actually remember having read much Derrida, and then the author reminded me of the reading group we had. ‘Oh yes’, I said. Though I still couldn’t remember saying anything worthwhile. He assures me I did.

  3. Umm . . . no, actually. Although as the author says, it’s really more a dedication than an acknowledgement.

    Unfortunately, the mentality the author cites is still with us. Witness what comes up weekly in the average Bible study class. Because of that, calling the connection to people’s attention remains one of those things people need to do to avoid being complicit.

  4. My question is whether anything he actually says in the book takes direct aim at an anti-Judaic reading of the text. Even if he argues that the text is anti-Judaic, one can hardly hold Paul responsible in any way whatsoever for the Shoah. If there is a history of using Paul to support the persecution of Jews during the middle ages or afterwards, the book should take aim at that use in a concrete and explicit way rather than simply acknowledge the text’s involvement in anti-Jewish persecution by making some broad accusation against the text as somehow involved in the Shoah. It is a leap from Paul to Hitler and it does no one any good put the two together and evade the hard task of looking at the history that intervenes between the two. And, as I said, Paul might have had persecutorial impulses, but he is not the author of a first-century Mein Kampf.

  5. Bruce,

    Based on a rather too-quick glance through the book, I get the impression the author does in fact take aim at the use of Paul to support persecution; rather than accuse the text itself. I could be wrong, but the latter did not seem immediately to be the case.

  6. I once read a MA thesis when I was doing research on something and it was dedicated to the author’s local bartenders and a few of the “barflies” he met along the way of his graduate education by name.

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