On Scott Hahn

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I have enormous respect for Scott Hahn and his work. But I just can't seem to get over his writing style.

I was looking for books on Scripture written by/for Catholics. I came upon Hahn's Scripture Matters, and it shows the same unfortunate propensity for bad puns that bedevils his other works. To its credit, it appears (at least in the introduction available at Amazon) to be a somewhat more scholarly and serious consideration of the material at hand. But I sure wish I could overcome my personal dislike of this style of things.

I know I am in a minority. I know that most people truly benefit from Hahn's articulations of central truths; I regret only that I cannot be part of that audience. I know I am missing out, but it is something about which I can do very little.

I suppose I can savor Mr. Hahn's work in the Ignatius Study Bible, where there is very little room for the more appalling linguistic displays I have seen in some of his full-length works.

And worst of all, I really like well-constructed, well-considered puns--they are a real art form when they are used to produce a fruitful ambiguity in a work of literature. Joyce and Shakespeare both used them to brilliant effect, as do a great many lesser writers. I'm afraid that they are a trope in Mr. Hahn's hands that serves only to grate on my nerves. Ah well, chacun á son goût!

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Just have a loved one paste whatever Hahn essay you wish to read on Word (or some other WP) and zap all the puns before you read it. He also sees to be more subdued in the pun production dept. when speaking on "Scripture Matters".


Oh, I'm totally with you. It's not just the puns, though. It's the infomercial style of writing in general. I tried a couple of his books back in the days just before I began blogging, and found them to be full of serious yuck factor when it came to style. In fact, I couln't ever seriously evaluate the content because the style so badly grated.


If all things were equally appealing to all people what a dull place this would be!

Hooray! I'm not alone in the world! At each of Dr. Hahn's cutesy section titles I pause to let it grate on me, heave a sigh and struggle with the temptation to heave the book over with it. Really, they're revolting enough to make it difficult to finish his books.

A while back I posted this over at Mark Shea's blog (while people were blasting Scott Hahn, inaccurately, IMO):

"There is one criticism of Scott's work that I wholeheartedly endorse--the terribleness of his heretical and wholly novel use of puns.

Bad puns. Groan-inducing puns. Puns that should never be made.

Such as:

The Venerable Beads (referring to the Rosary)

Venerators of the Lost Ark

A Rome-Antic Reunion

Parish the Thought

And so on.

For these and other puns, Scott should be . . .?

What's the proper punishment?"

Here I stand. I can do no other. ;)

I concur; I think that Scott is a much better speaker than he is a writer. Perhaps he should write kid's books on the side to get some of that dreck out of his system.

Ditto. I just hold my breath and avert my eyes as I skip over the chapter and section headings.

Kid's books? The puns are fit only for joke books.

Well folks, keep in mind his intended audience and his own more humble beginnings. I kind of appreciate the fact that I don't have to read Dr. Hahn with a dictionary and thesaurus nearby.

I like my coffee beans already ground, and I drink $3 wine. Scott Hahn is good enough for me. :-) My edumacated opininion is that his puns are fine. He's just trying to get a chuckle and maybe help you remember a point he's trying to make.

Sure, my '93 Ford Escort Wagon looks rough, but it's paid for. How 'bout those car payments y'all? LOL!!



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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on September 22, 2004 1:11 PM.

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