Monday, October 12, 2015

Issues from the comment trail

            Jerome asked how you could help with the current chapter. Other than the project for which Roberto and Andrew volunteered, there is nothing specific. We have to read and weigh the material ourselves. Otherwise we’re disconnected from context and miss vital points. That doesn’t keep helpers from rereading the older issues of Zion’s Watch Tower for relevant comments. But it does mean we can’t parcel out specific assignments for the partial chapter posted below.
            Send us what you find and your observations even if you think we may have it. Even if we’ve seen something, it lets us look at material with fresh eyes, and you may find something we haven’t.
            When we begin the writing process, we find connections we overlooked. Today, I returned to an article we extracted from The Indianapolis, Indiana, News of September 14, 1886. We saved it because it was a very early reference to Plan of the Ages, but reading it afresh gave it new importance. The article refers to two earlier publications in a way that adds to our understanding. We will add maybe two sentences to a chapter titled Publishing Ministry and perhaps a paragraph or less to one entitled Advertising the Message. That may seem as if these are small points at issue. And for the former chapter the point is interesting but minor. For the latter it is our first contact with an issue that grew in importance within the next decade. Look at the article and tell me I you can tell what two points we found in this short article:
            Probably the lack of comments to Rachael’s post mean that those who’ve read it shrugged their shoulders, thinking what we’ve written is simple and obvious. If you see this partial chapter as simple and obvious we’ve probably done our job. Our goal is to tell Watch Tower history as simply but completely as we can. However, if you’re familiar with what historians and sociologists write about Watch Tower history in the Russell era, you will see this chapter as differing radically from the usual. Our chapter also differs radically from some Russellite presentations, at least by presenting significantly more detail. (Remember you’ve only seen a partially written chapter and none of the additional documentation that will make its way into the chapter.)
            If you have access to Paton’s magazine, you can look for references to interactions between the two groups. Most of that will go to another chapter, but some will show up in this chapter.
            We are sometimes asked when volume 2 will be ready. We have no clue. Original research is time-consuming. It will appear when it appears.

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