Here at GetReligion, we make no apologies for nitpicking -- sometimes over the smallest of details.
We believe that quality mainstream news reporting on religion requires accuracy, context and stylistic precision.
With that in mind, I couldn't help but notice this headline on a CNN Belief Blog piece:
Eyeing a national museum, a collector's bibles hit the road
And the lede of the report:
Washington (CNN) -- Steve Green owns a lot of bibles, and he's starting to show them off.
Anybody else notice something unusual there? How about the lowercase "b" on bibles?
Here's what the Associated Press Stylebook, the journalist's bible on style, has to say about the Bible:
Bible Capitalize, without quotation marks, when referring to the Scriptures in the Old Testament or the New Testament.
Now, I realize that CNN cut ties with The Associated Press last year, deciding that the network no longer would use AP news content. But surely CNN didn't throw away all its AP Stylebooks, right?
The other option would be that Green's bibles -- er, Bibles -- aren't actually all Scriptures in the Old Testament or the New Testament. In other words, could it be that his b/Bibles are more generic holy texts? Perhaps.
But the story certainly doesn't read that way. In fact, as you keep reading, capital B's suddenly start appearing in reference to Green's Bible collection:
The president of Hobby Lobby, a national chain of craft stores, Green bought his first biblical artifact less than a year and a half ago. But his is already considered one of the world's largest private collection of biblical texts and artifacts, and Green is taking it on tour in advance of opening what he says will be a national Bible museum.
The tour kicked off last week with a party at the Vatican embassy in Washington that (sic) highlighting samples from a 14,000 square foot traveling exhibition, which is called "Passages." It's a prelude to the high-tech Bible museum Green wants to open in the next five or so years.
"The Bible has had a huge impact on societies - politics, the arts, science, music, literature," says Green, who is Christian. "The impact of the book is a story that we feel needs to be told and that is what we are interested in doing -- and encouraging people to consider what it has to say."
(I don't believe AP has a stylebook entry for "biblical," but my understanding has always been that lowercase is the proper usage. Interestingly enough, AP style for "Scriptural" is uppercase.)
Later in the CNN report, there's this:
From cuneiform tablets dating back thousands of years to parts of the Dead Sea scrolls to brilliantly illuminated psalmodies (collections of psalms), Green's collection encompasses Bibles and books that helped influence the Bible's formation.
Again, there's the capital "B."
Why the piece starts with a lowercase "b," that's a mystery to me.