Thursday, May 14, 2015

Fea: "David Barton on the American Bible Society"

From John Fea here. A taste:
Most of what [Barton] says about the founding of the American Bible Society is accurate, but he does not paint an entire picture of the founding or the men involved in the founding.

For example:
  • Boudinot did indeed respect the Bible.  He defended its inspiration and authority against attacks from skeptics like Thomas Paine.  He also turned to it to make predictions about the end of the world and to claim that native Americans were the ten lost tribes of Israel
  • John Jay was a devout Anglican Christian.  He also tried to ban Catholics from participating in New York government.


Tom Van Dyke said...

This video is a good example of why David Barton is more a politician than a historian and why his "historical" presentations need to be looked at very critically.

True. Unfortunately that's also true of a large number of academics who agree with leftist Howard Zinn's assertion "You can't be neutral on a moving train."


Brian Tubbs said...

Well said, Tom. It never ceases to amaze me how the left routinely castigates Barton for selective, agenda-driven scholarship while giving blatant, agenda-driven revisionists like Howard Zinn a pass. But not only pass, they often pour effusive praise on Zinn! The inconsistency and outright hypocrisy on their part is infuriating.

John Fea said...

I have tried to very fair on this issue. There are bad historical thinkers on both the left and the right. If anyone know this, it is Tom Van Dyke:

This from 2009:

So is this:

So let's be careful before we accuse people of inconsistency and hypocrisy.

Tom Van Dyke said...

John, in your comments section, I excepted you from the double standards that prevail in academia.

Further, in my extended discussion with your colleague Tim Schoettle

I drew a distinction between the Ivory "Tower" [legit scholarship] and the "Forum", where Barton and historical movies like 12 Years a Slave

and Neil deGrasse Tyson's amateurish ditherings as a "public intellectual"


The lowly pop plebe Barton is not included in the Tower, but the irony is he's held to standards that Zinn, an inhabitant of the Tower, is.

As for your work from 2009, it's good you draw the equivalency between Barton and Zinn, but in the years since, the Zinn Project

has been baldly infiltrating out schools, with barely a peep from the Tower. Barton's dinky popular videos are in a different--and less crucial--category.

If it seemed I was pointing fingers at you in particular, I withdraw any such insinuation, with apologies.

Jonathan Rowe said...

I think John is eminently fair which is why I often link to him on this and related issues.

Art Deco said...

I have tried to very fair on this issue. There are bad historical thinkers on both the left and the right.

At a time when you can run through a list of three dozen faculty at a university history department and find not one registered Republican, the fact that you can find a trade-book author who trafficks in dubious history is pretty inconsequential. You're telling us all that to be fair you'll allocate equal amounts of time and effort to chasing cockroaches around the periphery of the room as you will to the big pink elephant crapping on the oriental rug.