NYTimes Tries to Correct Glaring Biblical Error in David Brooks Column, But Fails

As we've shown here and here, the New York Times has trouble understanding the central Christian doctrine of the resurrection of Christ. As my colleague Clay Waters noted back in April, even in issuing a correction to a doozy of an error in a story this year, Times editors made another mistake in the correction that referred to the "resurrection into heaven" of Jesus.

Well, the Times has once again demonstrated it needs to go back to Sunday School. Take the June 14 David Brooks column -- " Religion and Inequality" -- wherein the quasi-conservative scribe misattributed a biblical passage by the Apostle Paul to Jesus. The Times dutifully issued a correction, but as you'll see below, it's still deficient (emphasis mine):

Correction: June 14, 2013

An earlier version of this column misattributed a passage from Corinthians that ends with the statement, “God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” The letter to the Corinthians is by Paul, not Jesus.

There is, of course, no such book of the Bible as "Corinthians." There are, two: 1st Corinthians and 2nd Corinthians, two separate epistles by the Apostle Paul written to the church in Corinth.

It's kind of like referring to Raleigh, North Carolina, or Columbia, South Carolina, as the capital city of the State of Carolina.

But beyond that, the corrected text still leaves readers with a rather nonsensical statement that shows a basic unfamiliarity with the New Testament:

In the New Testament, Jesus blesses the poor, “for yours is the kingdom of God.” But “woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort.”

In Corinthians, Paul tells the crowds, “Not many of you were wise by worldly standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.”

Of course, Paul is the author of I Corinthians, a letter that's addressed to be read publicly in a church service not to "crowds" but rather "the church of God that is in Corinth." Jesus did not personally write any of the books of the New Testament and accounts of his earthly ministry are located in the gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The way Brooks wrote his column, it seems he thinks "Corinthians" was some sort of narrative gospel account, not an epistle.

Is this all much ado about nothing? In the grand scheme of liberal media bias, Brooks and this column are small potatoes, but this does illustrate both biblical ignorance and sloppiness on the part of Brooks and his editors.

The bottom line: you're going to attempt to rip Jesus out of context to service a political argument, as Brooks was doing in his column, at the very least it behooves you to know the books of the Bible, who wrote them, and the type of genre of the books in question (gospel vs. epistle, etc.).

Is that too much to ask of an elite opinion journalist considered "wise by worldly standards"?

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is a writer living in New Carrollton, Md.