You Keep Using That Word, ‘Christian’
- Included in: Christianity Today
- Published: May 22, 2018
Lewis Carroll’s novel Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There contains a famous snippet of dialogue between a maddeningly vague Humpty Dumpty and an increasingly puzzled Alice. Humpty insists that by the word glory he means a powerful argument, and Alice counters that glory doesn’t mean that. Carroll describes what happens next:When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty, “which is to be master—that is all.”
Professor Micah Watson reviews the book, Christian: The Politics of a Word in America. Written by Matthew Bowman and published by Harvard University Press.