UPDATE: Canon Press, publisher of A Justice Primer, has discontinued the book
1. an act or instance of using or closely imitating the language and thoughts of another author without authorization and the representation of that author’s work as one’s own, as by not crediting the original author
In the process of writing my review of A Justice Primer, I ran across a sentence that seemed familiar. I searched and discovered that it was one of those quotes that has a million versions and no one knows where exactly it originated. While searching, I ran several excerpts from the book in a plagiarism checker and had unexpected results. I expected that many quotes would have links to Doug Wilson’s or Randy Booth’s websites, and they did, However, some quotes had links to other sites.
The images that follow are comparisons. Each image has a page from A Justice Primer on the left and a page from another source on the right. The verbatim (word for word) text is highlighted, generally in yellow. The paraphrased (similar) wording is highlighted in tan. None of the highlighted sections were attributed in the book to the original authors or sources.
Four of the instances are definitions: Bulverism, jurisdiction, poetic justice, weasel words (“Weasel words” requires three images because its definition spans two pages in A Justice Primer and two different sections of Wikipedia). Click on an image to enlarge, a gallery will open with all of these images. Click on the “x” in the left hand corner to return to the post.
Four are excerpts from other known authors: Tim Challies, Iain Murray, Greg Bahnsen, and Ellen G. White. Click on an image to enlarge, a gallery will open with all of these images. Click on the “x” in the left hand corner to return to the post.
The largest and most significant example comes from a chapter in A Justice Primer entitled, “Justice and Character.” In these images there are both yellow and blue highlighting to illustrate that the material comes from two separate sources. The yellow text is from an article by Paul Rose, and the blue text is from a devotional by Wayne Blank. The Bible verses are highlighted in tan because a different translation of the Bible was used, although the verses are grouped and used in the same manner as the Wayne Blank devotional.
The first group of images shows the side by side comparison of the book chapter pages and each source. Because of the way the two sources were woven together in the book chapter, the images may seem repetitive, but each image has pertinent details. Click on an image to enlarge, a gallery will open with all of these images. Click on the “x” in the left hand corner to return to the post.
These next images show the text of the book chapter with all of the copied text highlighted, along with the full text of the Paul Rose article and Wayne Blank devotional. This is to illustrate the amount of material taken from each source. Click on an image to enlarge, a gallery will open with all of these images. Click on the “x” in the left hand corner to return to the post.
This is a significant amount of unoriginal work, and it’s not the first time that Doug Wilson has had a book with plagiarized material. Southern Slavery: As It Was was written by Doug Wilson and Steve Wilkins. When the plagiarism was uncovered, the book was pulled by Canon Press and later revised and republished as Black and Tan without Steve Wilkins as co-author. Wilson wrote regarding the charges of plagiarism:
And this is the reason the issue of intentionality is so important to us (and to them). Both Steve and I are ministers of the gospel. If either of us intentionally stole the intellectual property of Fogel and Engerman, then we should resign from the ministry. We would be disqualified from our office, having disgraced it. That is the difference between intentional and unintentional in this, and it is not a trifle. It does not matter — if we have been out stealing stereos, automobiles, or ideas — we need to figure out another way to feed our families.