For nokre år tilbake las eg boka De gnostiske evangelier av Elaine Pagels. Boka var full av påstandar om alt frå biskopar til kyrkjefedrar, utan hald i røyndomen. Difor fekk eg meg ein god latter medan eg surfa litt rundt på nettet, og fann denne kommentaren om Pagels, på nettsidene til Jimmy Akin. Bakgrunnen er at Pagels endra litt på eit sitat, fordi Irenæus ikkje sa det ho ville han skulle seie. Kommentaren kjem frå Fr. Paul Mankowski, og handlar om at Pagels ikkje er noko vitskapskvinne:
Pagels has carpentered a non-existent quotation, putatively from an ancient source, by silent suppression of relevant context, silent omission of troublesome words, and a mid-sentence shift of 34 chapters backwards through the cited text, so as deliberately to pervert the meaning of the original. While her endnote calls the quote “conflated,” the word doesn’t fit even as a euphemism: what we have is not conflation but creation.
Put simply, Irenaeus did not write what Prof. Pagels wished he would have written, so she made good the defect by silently changing the text. Creativity, when applied to one’s sources, is not a compliment. She is a very naughty historian.
Or she would be, were she judged by the conventional canons of scholarship. At the post-graduate institute where I teach, and at any university with which I am familiar, for a professor or a grad student intentionally to falsify a source is a career-ending offense. Among professional scholars, witness tampering is no joke: once the charge is proven, the miscreant is dismissed from the guild and not re-admitted.
I am not calling for academic sanctions but, more simply, for clarification. Pagels should be billed accurately — not as an expert on Gnosticism or Coptic Christianity but as what she is: a lady novelist.
Eg trur eg seier som Jimmy Akin: Ouch!