Does anyone teach history anymore?

This video would argue that the answer to the question in the title is no:

“I don’t think anything predated Christians”?

What about Judaism? You know, the Old Testament, the book in which, Christians say, many prophecies of Jesus’ coming were made?

I’d try to reassure myself that she’s just more ignorant than average about history, but I’m not sure that she is.

(Via Pure Pedantry and Crooked Timber.)

Of course, this is the same woman who doesn’t accept evolution and wouldn’t commit to an opinion about whether the world is flat, as seen in this video:

Any bets on how long before we hear her spouting off about vaccines and autism?


  1. #1 ozzy
    December 6, 2007

    Very scary. The “not thought about whether the world is flat” is Sherri Shepherd. Even though she is now a born-again, she was raised a Jehovah’s Witness and is a great example of religion-induced ignorance. I find it so laughable that her problems (i.e. thinking about her son) don’t allow her to be able to think about “other things.” C’mon you’re a f’ing co-host on the View and probably work 2 hrs a day. Pity you, your life is so hard. Maybe it is better for the gene pool if JWs refuse blood transfusions…

  2. #2 jerad
    December 6, 2007

    The scary thing is most of the audience must not care very much.

  3. #3 G
    December 6, 2007


    I’ve got a great idea that can solve this problem.

  4. #4 Ken Shabby
    December 6, 2007

    My ex got recruited by JWs. A nice lady spend a lot of time with her, winning her over. Once she signed up, she was given over to a group of people she couldn’t stand, so she dumped the whole deal. (I never said ‘I told you so’ — I got too much class.) My understanding of JWs is it is a religion for people who don’t have and can’t make friends. Their peculiar ways justify isolating themselves from the big scary world out there.

  5. #5 ks
    December 6, 2007

    she’ll denounce global warming before vaccines.

  6. #6 kspring
    December 6, 2007

    “I don’t think anything predated Christians”

    How freaking crazy is that! Oh, my stomach hurts from laughing. I think I just found a great bumper sticker!

    I bet Whoopi is wondering why she is in this room with the rest of these fools.

  7. #7 Warren
    December 6, 2007

    My non-god, what a mindless cretin. It’s clear that The View is trying to accurately represent all demographic markets, including the 25% moron-evangelical crowd.

  8. #8 HCN
    December 6, 2007

    She is obviously from some strange Christian sect that NOT believe in reading the Bible, and surely must not read the Christ birth story during the Christmas season. How could she miss all those “begats”?

    Matthew 1, which has 15 lines of begats and then “16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

    ” 17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations. ”


  9. #9 Skeptic4u
    December 6, 2007

    Ignorance is a scary thing.

  10. #10 wfjag
    December 6, 2007

    “Any bets on how long before we hear her spouting off about vaccines and autism?”

    Nah. You can already find out about that on YouTube. “Study: Number of ‘Misleading’ Anti-Vaccination Videos on YouTube Growing”,2933,315502,00.html

    So, I can get my “news” from Jon Stewart, my “history” from The View, and my “science” from YouTube. Think I’ll get out my old Pink Floyd albums.

  11. #11 Sastra
    December 6, 2007

    Listening to her carefully, I think she’s trying to say that Jesus is God. God came before everything. All the people in the Bible who believed in the real God therefore believed in Jesus. Adam and Eve, Noah and his family –they were “Christians” without realizing it, because that was going to be YHWH’s other name, later on. In a sense, even God was a “Christian,” because surely He knew what He was going to do — and, having high self-esteem (the highest!), believed in Himself.

    It’s stupid, but makes slightly more sense than trying to claim that the universe began in the year 1 A.D.

    In addition to mixing up the historical Jesus with God — which is theology, and thus unfalsifiable — she’s also mixing up the ancient Greeks with the ancient Romans. Which is just plain wrong, but not that surprising.

  12. #12 KeithB
    December 6, 2007

    While towards the end she came up with the “Jesus before anything” which can be considered true, that does not excuse the “Greeks throwing Christians to the Lions.”

  13. #13 DLC
    December 6, 2007

    Ugh. This woman’s ignorance stuns me.
    Literally, I sat here speechless for 30 seconds.
    The Greeks threw christians to the lions ?
    This woman was home-schooled, wasn’t she ?

  14. #14 Kristina
    December 6, 2007

    Obviously, there was not history before what’s reported on the View—-and the New Testament was originally written in Latin, I’m sure.

  15. #15 Liz D.
    December 6, 2007

    I gather that the woman was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, who in general believe that before Jesus was incarnated, he was the Archangel Michael — in other words, “Jesus before anything”.

    So if she was so indoctrinated as a child into this erm, well, distinctive sect, it is likely that she shut her ears to teachings in history class that did not align with her parents’ beliefs.

  16. #16 Meng Bomin
    December 6, 2007

    Speaking of vaccinations, I believe one of our Presidential candidates, Chris Dodd, may have some anti-vaccination views:

    Q — Are you satisfied with the government’s response to autism?
    A — Dodd said he was a lead sponsor of a bill that provided $800 million for autism research. But he said more is needed to fight and cure the mysterious disease. Dodd said he wants more study aimed at thimerosal, an additive in some immunizations that some blame for the rise in autism cases.

  17. #17 Sigma_Orionis
    December 6, 2007

    I’d love to be an independent producer and make a TV programme called “The Irrationality Show” and place clips like that with Penn & Teller commenting on it……..

  18. #18 Bing McGhandi
    December 6, 2007

    This comes to me second hand, but a colleague of mine was teaching at a local college, and he asked, thinking that it was more or less rhetorical, which religion is oldest, Christianity, Judaism or Islam. Someone said Christianity, and nobody corrected them. My colleague asked them what religion Jesus was, and class had a collective “A-ha” moment (enlightenment, not the 80s band), so the story goes.



  19. #19 James
    December 7, 2007

    In a well ordered universe, a biblical literalist would have more understanding of the Bible’s contents than a non-believer, including the history that is contemporaneous its various books (at least, the history that doesn’t contradict it).

    I wonder what its like to live in that universe?

  20. #20 MartinM
    December 7, 2007

    She is obviously from some strange Christian sect that NOT believe in reading the Bible

    Not actually all that strange. Quite common, in fact. Many read the Bible the same way they read, say, scientific papers; one sentence at a time, seeing if there’s anything they can pull out to support a preconceived conclusion.

  21. #21 Evinfuilt
    December 7, 2007

    Many read the Bible the same way they read, say, scientific papers; one sentence at a time, seeing if there’s anything they can pull out to support a preconceived conclusion.

    I would be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn’t. If you can sit through a Catholic Mass you’d see that’s the whole basis. Take things out of context, then explain why it defines your version of reality.

    Yes, its often a few sentences at a time, but its the way they look at it. They look at it as phrase book, not a complete novel to be read from front to back. But something you pick up, read a good line and use that to justify your beliefs.

  22. #22 Evinfuilt
    December 7, 2007

    Argh, bad quoting by me above, first paragraph is a quote, trust me.

  23. #23 wfjag
    December 7, 2007

    “Obviously, there was not history before what’s reported on the View—-and the New Testament was originally written in Latin, I’m sure.

    Posted by: Kristina”

    Actually, “no”, the Bible(s) were not originally written in Latin, and the King James Bible (Old and New Testaments) – and those versions based on it – are not based on Latin texts. There are a number of Bibles.

    The Bible of the Coptic Christians may have been written in ancient Egyptian. At least parts of it date to the 3d century BCE. Parts of it clearly were from Hebrew and Greek translations. See, “Who Are the Copts?” (5 Sept 2004),

    At the Council of Chalcedon, held in 451 AD, the Nicene Creed was adopted, the Monophysite doctrine, that Christ had only one nature, was rejected, see, and as the Coptic Christian followed the Monophysite doctrine, the Coptic Christians were declared heretics.

    Earlier, at the First Council of Nicaea, in 325 AD, the heresy of Arianism (which denied the divinity of Christ) had been rejected.;; The Council of Nicaea was historically significant because it was the first effort to attain consensus in the church through an assembly representing all of Christendom.

    Part of the back ground is that there had been a civil war, 322-23 AD, between Emperor Constantine (280 AD to 337 AD) and Emperor Licinius. Earlier in 313 AD, Constantine and Licinius had issued the Edict of Milan to end to institutionalized persecution of Christians in the Empire. Constantine I (called “St. Constantine” by Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic Christians) was an Illyrian Roman Emperor, proclaimed “Augustus” by his troops in 306 AD. Illyria is in Balkans, and associated with the Greeks as far back as Homer. It appears likely that Constantine did not speak Classical Greek. The modern word “Barbarian” comes from the Classical Greek word “Barbaros”, which seemed to mean “thick tongued” as referring to tribes outside of Ancient Greece who spoke accented Greek, and then more broadly began to include all non-Greek tribes. While you have heard of the Eastern and Western Roman Empires, actually the Empire was split, at various times, into up to four parts, each governed by a separate co-emperor or Caesar. Although they were supposed to govern in cooperation, in practice they jockeyed for power and battled each other regularly. By the time of his death, Constantine I governed or controlled most of the Empire.

    It is not historically known whether Constantine I, in convoking the First Council Nicaea, acted solely in his own name or in concert with Pope St. Sylvester I. There was clearly cooperation between them. Moreover, several bishops from outside the Roman Empire (e.g., from Persia) came to the Council, so there was cooperation from and with other branches of the Christian Church, as well.

    While Constantine I is popularly known as the “First Christian Roman Emperor”, when he actually converted to Christianity is unclear. Some sources make it a death bed conversion. Before the decisive battle with Licinius, Constantine I had a vision of some type, in which he saw the Chi-Rho symbol. He ordered his troops to paint it on their shields, and they were led into battle with banners on which it was displayed. Before the battle, it appeared that Licinius held a decisive advantage. However, his troops fled before the Chi-Rho. Constantine is supposed to have given his troops a choice – convert to Christianity or be executed. In any event, after his victory there were mass conversions to Christianity.

    Constantine I’s motives for convening the Counsel of Nicaea are not completely known. Still, ending the schism with the followers of his late brother-in-law, Licinius (who he had killed, along with Licinius’ son) appears to be among them. Most Americans are unaware that historically most nations have had an official state religion. Thus, Constantine I’s “political” motives in seeking to unify the Christian Church within the Roman Empire should not be viewed as distinct from his “religious” motives. Thinking in those terms is a form of revisionism. By including Bishops from throughout and outside of the Empire, the Counsel of Nicaea can also be viewed as having an important international relations aspect (the kingdoms in the area of modern Iran – historic Persia – being among the most unsettled of the Empire’s borders from the end of the 3d Punic War until the final conquest of Constantinople by the Turks and the end of the last remnant of the Roman Empire).

    The Latin Bible, or “Vulgate” is an early 5th century version of the Bible which is largely the result of the labors of Jerome. Jerome was commissioned by Pope Damasus I in 382 AD to make a revision of the old Latin translations. Its Old Testament is the first Latin version translated directly from the Hebrew Tanakh rather than from the Greek Septuagint.

    The Septuagint or “LXX”, is a collection of Jewish scriptures, largely the Hebrew Bible, in Koine Greek, translated in stages between the 3rd and 1st centuries BCE in Alexandria. It incorporates the oldest of several ancient translations of the Hebrew Bible into Greek. The word “septuaginta” means “seventy” in Latin and derives from a tradition that seventy-two Jewish scholars (seventy being the nearest round number) translated the Torah from Hebrew into Greek for the Ptolemaic King of Egypt, Ptolemy II Philadelphus, (285-246 BCE). Since Alexander the Great (356-323 BCE), Greek had become the “Lingua Franca” of the eastern Mediterranean. The Septuagint includes some books that are not in the Hebrew Bible. Many Protestant Bibles follow the Jewish canon and exclude these books. Eastern Orthodox Christians use the Septuagint itself. As an aside, while most of the early Christian writers, like St. Paul, spoke Greek, it is unlikely that it was their first language. The syntax and grammar of Biblical Greek are considerably simpler than that of Classical Greek. Still, as Christianity spread during the first three centuries AD as a popular religion, its language would have been that of the common people, rather than that of the highly educated scholars, who were trained in Classical Greek.

    Later, the “East-West Schism”, divided Medieval Christianity into Western (Latin) and Eastern (Greek) branches, which later became the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church respectively. After an extended period of disputes, in 1054, Pope Leo IX, Archbishop of Rome, and the Eastern Patriarchs (led by the Archbishop of Constantinople) excommunicated each other. The primary causes of the Schism were disputes over papal authority–Pope Leo IX claimed he held authority over the four Eastern Patriarchs, and over the insertion of the filioque clause into the Nicene Creed by the Western Church. Eastern Orthodox today claim that the primacy of the Patriarch of Rome was only honorary, and that he has authority only over his own diocese and does not have the authority to change the decisions of Ecumenical Councils. A theological reason for the Schism was the dispute on whether God is 1 or God is 3 – that is whether the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are 3 aspects of one entity (Roman Catholic doctrine )or 3 entities (Orthodox doctrine). Among the consequences of the Schism is that Latin became the official language of the Roman (Western) Church, and Greek and Cyrillic languages became the official languages of the Orthodox (Eastern) Churches.

    Later still, the “Western Schism” or “Papal Schism” or “Great Schism of Western Christianity” occurred during 1378 to 1417. By its end, three men simultaneously claimed to be the true Pope. Driven by politics (including, ending to influence of the French Crown over the Avignon Papacy), rather than real theological disagreements, it was ended by the Council of Constance (1414-1418). During this schism, what is now England supported the Roman Pope, whereas Scotland supported the Avignon Papacy. As a historical side note, the last Avignon Pope was John XXIII – which is why there were no Pope Johns for over five hundred years, and Pope John XXIII of “Vatican II” fame, when he chose his name, was indicating an intent to reach out to other Christian denominations.

    The King James Version of the Bible, or “Authorized King James Version” as it is known in England, is an English translation of the Bible by the Church of England begun in 1604 and first published in 1611. The New Testament portion was translated from the “Textus Receptus” (Received Text) series of the Greek texts. The Old Testament portion was translated from the Masoretic Hebrew text. And, the Apocrypha was translated from the Septuagint (LXX). At least part of the reason for the translation was to ensure the authority of King James under the Church of England (Anglican Church), which had been established by Henry VIII, to prevent further challenges from the Roman Catholic Church.

    All of this has crept into American jurisprudence. The “historic” rationale for the current “complete separation of church and state” interpretation of the First Amendment is that James Madison (Delegate from Virginia) had worked with Thomas Jefferson (Ambassador to France during the Constitutional Convention) to end the favored status of the Anglican Church in Virginia. It is true that Virginia was founded as an Anglican colony and so, under customary international law, when independence was achieved, the laws favoring the Anglican Church remained until they were abolished by the Commonwealth of Virginia’s government. However, based on this prior cooperation to change Virginia law, the US Supreme Court has referred to Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists as an authoritative text for interpreting the First Amendment. That letter was written over a decade after the Constitution was ratified, and as noted, Jefferson was in France when the Convention and ratification debates occurred. However, ignored is that the text of the First Amendment was drafted by Delegate Fischer Ames of Massachusetts, who was a well-known theologian and educator. He also gave the eulogy at George Washington’s funeral.

    Judged from an historical perspective, Evinfuilt’s observations are quite accurate. Too bad, since historically, culturally and linguistically, it involves many interesting subjects. And, people quoting “the Bible” aren’t the only ones who seem to pick and choose.

  24. #24 Heather
    December 7, 2007

    Wow. I don’t have much to add, I think Orac and the previous commenters have summed it up pretty well, but how can people believe that there was nothing before Christianity? Did people not exist before their Jesus? So…does that make the Old Testament, which they cling to so vehemently, null and void? Because if that is the case…wouldn’t about half the Bible be, well, a lie?

    Oh dear, I think I hear footsteps running angrily toward me. And rosary beads…

  25. #25 HCN
    December 7, 2007

    Just thought of a couple of movies this Sherri woman should see: “Ben Hur” and “Life of Brian”

    Not that she would understand either one.

  26. #26 Laurie
    December 8, 2007

    I can feel brain cells die when I watch “The View”. Occasionaly, I think it can’t be as bad as I remember, and I’m always proven wrong.

    A demotivations poster may have the perfect slogan for the show. “Teamwork. Because none of us is as dumb as all of us.”

  27. #27 DuWayne
    December 8, 2007

    This is the same moronic women who was not sure about the very nature of the planet upon which we reside. Not because she is a flat earther, who believes in conspiracy theories about the moon landings, but because of shear ignorance. Absolutely incredible ignorance, beyond any I have ever seen.

    I would like to say that I am surprised at the depths of her ignorance, unfortunately I am not. What does surprise me, is that she is actually the cohost of a talk show, no matter how banal and ridiculous. Silly me, for not being far more cynical than that.

  28. #28 Mojo
    December 8, 2007

    I think I’ve figured out where the misunderstanding arises.

    This story appeared in a UK newspaper recently:

    To qualify for a prize, users had to scratch away a window to reveal a temperature lower than the figure displayed on each card. As the game had a winter theme, the temperature was usually below freezing.

    But the concept of comparing negative numbers proved too difficult for some. Camelot received dozens of complaints on the first day from players who could not understand how, for example, -5 is higher than -6.

    “On one of my cards it said I had to find temperatures lower than -8. The numbers I uncovered were -6 and -7 so I thought I had won, and so did the woman in the shop. But when she scanned the card the machine said I hadn’t.

    “I phoned Camelot and they fobbed me off with some story that -6 is higher – not lower – than -8 but I’m not having it.”

    Christ was (allegedly) born sometime around 0 A.D.; evidently some people can’t cope with negative dates either.

  29. #29 Uncle Dave
    December 8, 2007

    Holy shit!!
    And she probably makes more money than anyone with a college degree.

    Maybe the end is near……

  30. #30 David Tyler
    December 9, 2007

    These ladies are old enough to vote and by doing so are free to help inflict their ignorance on other people. The dummy down education standards put us all at risk. I find it hard to laugh.

  31. #31 Fred James
    December 9, 2007

    Many interesting views here. Yet, these ladies are no worse than some of my peers, educated professional women holding high level college degrees in responsible positions, telling me that they will vote for Hillary because “Hillary’s a woman.” To heck with logic and evaluating a candidate for that candidate’s views. Makes me wonder.

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