Middle of the Earth

more smelly fish

Early last year, I did a piece on Jack Kinsella and suspected plagiarism. The gist of the first half of that post was that I occasionally have a sense for when something is not right in someone’s writing. When that sense overwhelms me, I will follow up on and check things out to see if they’re kosher. In the case of Kinsella, my suspicions were proven correct (see the second half of that post).

Earlier this week, I did a post on the recently published, Middle of the Earth by Allen Austin, where I (admittedly) critiqued the premises and assumptions in a rather blunt fashion. This afternoon, Mr Austin offered his feedback to my post (see the comments in the aforementioned link). I can appreciate his objection to my critique, one formulated without having read the book; thus, I offered my time to read through his arguments if Xulon Press would graciously send me a review copy. Since I had my doubts that such graciousness would be extended to me, I decided to have a look-see on GoogleBooks. Thankfully, GB had a preview of it.

I made my way through the Preface, and I honestly found myself confused at what Mr Austin was advocating and where he planned to go with it. Since one of his main contentions is that what he argues in the book is founded on biblical truths (revealed to him via God’s leading [p. viii]), it was no surprise to find a discussion about the nature of the Bible. However, it was here that something didn’t seem right. The writing style changed, and the level of argumentation was markedly different from what preceded it. I smelled fish. After a quick search, here is what I found.

First, read Mr Austin’s comments on page xiv of his Middle of the Earth (found here, you’ll have to scroll down a bit)–beginning with the phrase: ‘Much of the Old Testament . . .’ Go ahead, I’ll wait for you. Now that you’re done with that, go here and scroll down to the fourth paragraph. Once there, begin reading from the third sentence –the one that starts with: ‘Much of the Old Testament . . .’ Look familiar? It should. Either Mr Austin moonlights as ‘Steven Solomon’ (i.e. it’s Austin’s pseudonym) or Austin lifted his material from Solomon without permission. Not a wise move.

one of a handful of problems

with self-publishing is the lack of specialist review/critique.

Case in point (and I apologise if this comes off a bit rude): had Allen Austin’s recently pressed, The Middle of the Earth (Xulon Press, 2011) been given a once-over by an outside reader, specifically a ‘Simon Cowell’ of ancient and biblical history, it might not have seen the light of day–at least in it’s present form.  (Go here for the story about the book, and here for the publisher’s summary).

The premises are weak and, from what I remember from my studies of ancient Egyptian religion, certainly not in harmony with what is known about ancient beliefs.  Moreover, the historical assumptions are not only outlandish; they are flat-out laughable.  Especially this one:

I am making claims which most people have never heard or even thought about. The mummified body of Adam, the first created being, was laid in the sarcophagus of the Great Pyramid until the resurrection of Jesus. The Egyptians recorded it. This book gives a true perspective of our history, which should compel anyone towards God.

Dude, the reason why ‘most people have never heard of even though about’ your claims is because no one has put the time and effort into examining them–primarily because they’re not worth the time or effort.  Adam was mummified in Egypt, resurrected some 2000 years ago and ‘[t]he Egyptians recorded it’.  Really?!  Are you seriously going to make that argument?  Simon Jacobovici isn’t even that bold.  (Or, maybe he is).

HT: Dr. Platypus