“The Dean of Divination at Harvard University”

First, by way of introduction: the composition coordinator (Sara) and others of us in the English department at OSU — we keep well-written Writing 121 papers to use as examples and models for future WR 121 students. Well, as you’ll be able to tell (below), we don’t edit them. They come with all their glories as well as all their foibles.

I was just uploading two sample rhetorical analyses to my two Blackboard sites (for each of my two WR 121 classes). And I just noticed this line in one of them: “Prager was outraged by the forced resignation of Ronald F. Thiemann, the Dean of Divination at Harvard University.”

In the July 1999 issue of Weekly Standard, the conservative theologian, Dennis Prager wrote the essay Divinity and Pornography. Prager was outraged by the forced resignation of Ronald F. Thiemann, the Dean of Divination at Harvard University. Prager claims that Thiemann was subject to heterophobia and suggests that liberal parties and feminist are at fault for this discrimination. Prager’s claim is that Thiemann’s resignation was unjust. By tying emotional and logical examples together, Prager is able to riel-up his primary audience of conservative Christians. But by appealing to primarily men, Prager alienates the entire female gender. (emphasis mine)

The Dean of Divination at Harvard University! Hmmm! Must be a new position! And that person must always be on loan from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, because the muggle world, even the muggle United States, doesn’t produce many professors of divination. And I wonder if Sybill Trelawney or Frienze know about this Theimann fellow.  Heheh.

The student obviously meant “Dean of Divinity” or “Dean of the Divinity School.” Reminds me of how at least two people said — when I got my Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree — something like, “Does that mean you’re an expert in chocolate?” Divinity is just no longer a familiar field. At least, it’s no longer half as familiar as the other professional fields, law and medicine.

Anyway, I love that: The Dean of Divination at Harvard University. Sounds like a fun position. As Marjorie said, when I showed her that sentence: “Are you in the beeeeeyooooond?” heheh

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