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Christian Conceptual Poetry: Divine Authorship or Appropriation?

By Emily Warn

Several Christian poets invented conceptual poetry long before Kenny G. All four claim to have composed–with the help of divine inspiration–a popular Christian poem called “Footprints” and all “have memories of the precise moment when they dreamed up these lines.” Rachel Aviv first reported on this “accidental plagiarism” here.
Carl Jung first coined the term “Cryptomnesia” to describe this phenomenon. In a 1905 paper by that name he argues, according to Aviv, “that it’s impossible to know for certain which ideas are one’s own. ‘Our unconsciousness . . . swarms with strange intruders,’ he writes. He accuses Nietzsche of unwittingly copying another’s work, and urges all writers to sift through their memories and locate the origin of every idea before putting it to paper: ” ‘Ask each thought: Do I know you, or are you new?’
Last week the Washington Post, citing Aviv’s story, reported that the authors are now suing one another.

Comments (3)

  • On June 11, 2008 at 10:27 am D. A. Powell wrote:

    What? Four Christian authors appropriating material and presenting it as their own? That smacks of orthodoxy!

  • On June 11, 2008 at 6:16 pm Brian Salchert wrote:

    I have a dry sense of humor.
    It is so dry/ co-workers often said:
    “That’s not funny.”
    My usual response was:
    “it’s not supposed to be.”
    Sometimes, however, I told them
    I got it from the Imp from the Garbage Universe
    and that I was going to kill him when I die.

  • On June 11, 2008 at 6:19 pm Michael Robbins wrote:

    A wonderful opportunity to combine Christian appropriation & Flarf exists at youvebeenleftbehind.com, which offers a “Rapture-triggered” email alert system: in case of rapture, pre-crafted personal entreaties to turn to Christ will be sent to yr loved ones & friends (only $40 for the first year, with reduced subscription rates after that: but, hey, none knows the hour).
    Rest assured that all of Harriet is on my list. Enjoy yr thousand years of darkness, suckas!

Posted in Uncategorized on Wednesday, June 11th, 2008 by Emily Warn.