England's Past Being Erased?

The Telegraph has an interesting story concerning revisions made to the Oxford Junior Dictionary. One of the more striking assumptions behind the revision is that children need a special dictionary, and that urban, late modern, religiously pluralist or secular children need a dictionary to explain things to them they already know such as “mp3” and other tech related terms. I guess that children in this class probably need to know what an “abbey” is and what a “Bishop,” is. They probably can already tell us what a iPod is (HT: Adiaphora) The English used to have a saying about “coals to Newcastle.”

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  1. As an English non-conformist I was getting excited. No more Abbey, altar, bishop, monastery, monk, nun, nunnery, and vicar – finally the Reformation can come to the UK!

    But then I saw that chapel, disciple, minister, pew, psalm, pulpit, sin, devil, had gone as well and realised it wasn’t as great as I first thought. But then how different is this dictionary to the mainline non-conformist denominations?

    As a side note my local council is putting posters up encouraging people to put their chewing gum in the bin which has a picture of a hand dropping gum with the word SIN written next to it. The righteous alternative is displayed as BIN.
    I’m now imagining the conversations of kids and their parents…
    “Mum, what’s sin?”
    “I don’t know let’s look in your Oxford Junior Dictionary… It’s not there. Obviously it’s not something you need to worry about.”

  2. I don’t see the big deal; the purpose of a dictionary (especially a children’s dictionary) is descriptive, not prescriptive. It is not the job of dictionaries to make sure children are straight on their theological categories. I wonder if there is an appropriate tool for that? Could it be…[church lady pause]


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