Tyndale House Publishers or MLA Handbook?

“While there are many nuanced definitions of plagiarism, most definitions agree that plagiarism is a writer’s deliberate use of someone’s words or ideas, and claiming them as their own with no intent to provide credit to the original source,” Tyndale House Publishers said in part of a statement released back in December.

Previously, as the Pastor Mark Driscoll plagiarism controversy has continued, I have pointed out how Tyndale House Publishers’ statement is at odds with The Chicago Manual of Style and The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.

Excerpts from the other manuals provide different angles for professional rebuttals of Tyndale House’s position.

Here, I’ll just point out two things from the sixth edition of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, published by the Modern Language Association, or MLA. (Admittedly, the seventh edition is the most recent.)

First, the MLA Handbook has a section devoted to “Unintentional Plagiarism” on page 69. So, as I noted previously, “deliberate use” is not part of the equation, despite what Tyndale House claims.

Second, the citation errors that Warren Throckmorton has found in Driscoll’s books seem similar to, if not the same as, the “Forms of Plagiarism” found on pages 70-73 of the MLA Handbook (sixth edition). Most of those citation errors were noted by Throckmorton after Janet Mefferd’s initial confrontation of Driscoll to which Tyndale House replied.

Driscoll apologized for some of the citation errors.


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