Blogging my Book – Avoiding, at all costs, the hint of plagiarism

Two weekends ago, Dr. Goodacre posted something about some creative borrowing, etc… involving John Drane.

That got me to thinking… When you follow a scholar closely enough, you become sorta in tune with theirĀ verbiage, right? This is, sorta like imitation, right? You know what I mean…

Anyway, over the past few months, I’ve read over ten thousand pages… some of them more than once. There are a few scholars that I prefer, of course.

So, in reading my work, I’ve noticed some too-familiar word choices. I’m attempting to correct some of that. I mean, I am not doing it purpose, and it is not facts, etc… only points of view.

So, how do you… when you are reading, writing, and writing, how do you avoid any the hint of unintentional borrowing in admiration, rather than in theft?

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10 Replies to “Blogging my Book – Avoiding, at all costs, the hint of plagiarism”

  1. If you fear that might be happening at a particular place in your argument, you can always insert a note that says “My thinking on this issue has been influenced by . . .”, or “I am indebted to n’s discussion of these matters”, presenting, of course, direct references to the pages where readers can access a fuller discussion.

    1. that, i can do. I did use your article on the compositional study in relation to the Synoptic problem, btw

      and… even included a note about the NLT.

  2. Maybe you think about the phrases that you most often use and try to figure out which of them are also used by other authors. I’ve seen N.T. Wright’s “put the world to rights” used multiple times, although usually, those other authors acknowledge at some point his influence in their work.

    I have no scholarly reason to say this, but I have a feeling that you’re not copying someone else’s phrasing if you only say something once. It’s probably the stuff you say most often that is the most suspect. But that’s just me, and I could very well be wrong.

    1. Justin,

      I dont think “put the world to rights” is a particular Wrightian thing, its something relatively common to english speakers (as opposed to American English speakers, Canadian English speakers, Australian English speakers, etc)
      “Putting something to rights” is a particular way of speaking .. I use it all the time..

  3. Um…

    First, there is no Proto-Mark. Imitation is actually an acceptable practice and encouraged in ancient times. Plagiarism – we actually have an instance of this in Martial, I think, who complains someone attempted to steal his stuff and pass it off by under their name – is a huge, huge difference from imitation, a standard practice that benefited the author and the student.

    If Mark, who used imitation, saw his work being copied through imitation, then he would have been okay with it. They weren’t writing to make money, after all.

    The book of Revelation’s author, in Mark’s community, didn’t include that as a copyright notice, btw.

    1. I am taking on Burkett, and some of Q.

      I don’t think you fully understand the wide range of imitation, Jefferey.

      What you are doing is presenting hypotheticals that act in circles, without any real proof.

      1. Permission of the author is a rather new concept. No one asked Homer if they could borrow his work, but it was assumed that they would. Many ancient writers wrote in such a way as to urge recycling – we see this in Mark, actually.

        Further, the author copied is the author preserved.

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