Question about Plagiarism

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Posts 43
Brandon | Forum Activity | Posted: Sat, Jan 26 2019 12:43 PM

I've been preparing to start a sermon series on the book of Judges. 

I came across this gem when reading the introduction in Daniel Block's commentary (NAC)

"rather than lifting up the kings as an ideal above the confusion of this period, the addition of “everyone did as he saw fit” in 17:6 and 21:25 reduces the population to the moral and spiritual level of Israel’s kings in later years. Rebellion against God is democratized. In the mind of the author, during this period Israel did not need a king to lead them into sin; they could all do so on their own."

Block, D. I. (1999). Judges, Ruth (Vol. 6, p. 59). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

Great insight right? It was memorable enough for me for it to raise flags when I read this in the Introduction to Judges from the HCSB Study Bible (written at least 6 years later)

"Rather than lifting up the kings as an ideal above the confusion of this period, the addition of "everyone did whatever he wanted" (17:6, 21:25) reduced the population to the moral and spiritual level of Israel's kings in later years. In other words, rebellion against God is democratized. Israel did not need a king to lead them into sin; they could fall into immorality all on their own".

Nearly identical. So here's my question. Is it plagiarism when a publisher uses the original work of one of its authors without crediting him? Nowhere that I have found was Daniel Block credited for the introduction to this book in the study Bible. Both books were published by Holman so there may be a legal loophole here. Or perhaps Daniel Block gave permission for Holman to use his work without citation. Still, it doesn't sit right that he's not credited anywhere.

Posts 41
Dan Starcevich | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 26 2019 12:48 PM

Let's look at the definition of plagiarism

the practice of taking someone else's work or ideas and passing them off as one's own (define plagiarism)

Based on this, I would say yes this is plagiarism

Posts 43
Brandon | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 26 2019 12:58 PM

Thanks for your reply. I understand the basic definition of plagiarism, though it's helpful to see it again. The question arises because Holman owns both works and its unclear who is credited for the introduction for Judges in the study Bible. I can easily see a scenario where Holman reached out to Dr. Block and he gave permission for it to be used anonymously. I'm just unsure of how these things work and whether it's appropriate to automatically assume plagiarism.   

Posts 18577
Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 26 2019 1:20 PM

Block is credited as one of the essay contributors in Holman's CSB Study Bible.

The intros to each of the books of the Bible are not specifically credited to anyone, but it's quite likely that the people who wrote them are the authors of the Holman volumes on those books and are among the essay contributors who are credited. At least that's the case with Garrett, Clendenin, Stein, Setzer, Patterson, Merrill, Blomberg. In any event, I'm sure they all were consulted in the creation of this volume and permissions were granted. I doubt that plagiarism occurred.

Posts 1736
David Thomas | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 26 2019 1:31 PM


I believe (and I may be wrong) that the highlighted comment in the HCSB Study Bible Introduction clearly states that there were many contributors and I have yet to see a Study Bible that cites the source of each note. I always assume (maybe wrongly) that a Study Bible's notes are the work of a committee and should not be held to the same level of citation, which is why I would never quotes a Study Bible in an academic paper.

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Posts 2016
GaoLu | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 26 2019 2:42 PM

Ouch. 

Makes me think that I have thousands of pages of writing, teaching for other languages and cultures.  Because of translation and culture differences I didn't worry much about giving credit for borrowed ideas and sometimes wordings, because my audience would never have any idea to  whom or what I was referring. To do so would be meaningless to them. However, after many years, I now have all that work and all those writings without adequate credits and can never publish them without a huge amount of work.  Owell. My kids will enjoy them.

But what you describe is a very different thing and appears to be plagiarism. For publication or for speaking to an English audience,  I would not quote that commentary from HCSB Study Bible knowing what Block wrote in the NAC. 

On the other hand, a Study Bible that stands alone might be a little different case.  The publishers recognize the author, just not in a specific passage.  What you and I do, knowing Block wrote in the NAC is not the same.

Posts 43
Brandon | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 26 2019 2:58 PM

Rosie Perera:

Block is credited as one of the essay contributors in Holman's CSB Study Bible.

The intros to each of the books of the Bible are not specifically credited to anyone, but it's quite likely that the people who wrote them are the authors of the Holman volumes on those books and are among the essay contributors who are credited. At least that's the case with Garrett, Clendenin, Stein, Setzer, Patterson, Merrill, Blomberg. In any event, I'm sure they all were consulted in the creation of this volume and permissions were granted. I doubt that plagiarism occurred.

You must be looking at a revised edition. I'm working with the original 2010 print edition where that essay is not included.

David Thomas:


I believe (and I may be wrong) that the highlighted comment in the HCSB Study Bible Introduction clearly states that there were many contributors and I have yet to see a Study Bible that cites the source of each note. I always assume (maybe wrongly) that a Study Bible's notes are the work of a committee and should not be held to the same level of citation, which is why I would never quotes a Study Bible in an academic paper.

I would also assume that there are many contributors whose thoughts are pooled together in these types of things. However, this is a direct quote from a major and well reviewed work by Bock. I'm not ready to call it outright plagiarism because It's possible that Bock knew about it and gave his blessing. However, I think he should be credited along with the other contributors in the Study Bible if only so people like me could be directed to his more thorough and excellent introduction in the NAC.

Posts 5232
Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jan 27 2019 11:24 AM

Plagiarism is serious but two things to remember is as mentioned he is a contributor of the SB and the same publisher holds rights to both works. Study Bibles have very limited space and could never attribute every quote and still be printed. There is a different level of exception of attribution of quotes for various things. Now I am reminded of Barclay whose DSB was written as a newspaper column originally and when it was published even though a much broader work apologized for the inability to remember all his sources. A university paper should and must have diligent footnotes of sources. A magazine article for example would not necessarily publish the same level of attributing, and as long as the author upon request will show all sources and does not try to claim his original creation of work that is clearly another persons I am ok with that. There is of course the case of having so absorbed something that you do not know if it is your thought a lone or you read it somewhere. One example I have trouble believing is Spurgeon I am told published a sermon claiming it was his but it was proven that virtually verbatim it was one he heard 7 years before, he apologized and said he had not remembered hearing it (seems a stretch but who am I to doubt his testimony ).

-dan

Posts 18577
Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jan 27 2019 9:59 PM

Dan Francis:
One example I have trouble believing is Spurgeon I am told published a sermon claiming it was his but it was proven that virtually verbatim it was one he heard 7 years before, he apologized and said he had not remembered hearing it (seems a stretch but who am I to doubt his testimony ).

That sort of thing has happened in music before too, though usually not claiming it was one's own. The example I'm thinking of is when young Mozart at age 14 was taken by his father on tour in Italy and they attended an Easter service in the Sistine Chapel where they heard Allegri's Miserere being performed. That piece was so highly protected by the Vatican that the music for it was not allowed to be reproduced nor performed by anyone else. Mozart came back to the room where they were staying and wrote out the entire 15-minute piece from memory. And it is only thanks to his genius that we have that piece now and it's played and recorded for all to hear. Yes, what he did was "illegal" at the time, but thanks be to God that he did it. It is heavenly music.

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