Writing Recycling: A New Wrinkle in the Mark Driscoll Plagiarism Controversy?

In 2012, journalist Jonah Lehrer came under fire for self-plagiarism.* Lehrer eventually lost his job due to recycling and inventing material, notably attributing false quotes to Bob Dylan. While writing for the New Yorker, Lehrer posted a column which began in nearly the same manner as a column published by the Wall Street Journal during the previous year. Jim Romenesko first reported Lehrer’s recycled material. To see how similar they are (nearly identical), you can go to Romenesko’s blog and/or compare the Wall Street Journal article with the New Yorker version. A lengthy description of recycling is provided by the Reluctant Habits blog.
Once the New Yorker learned of the reuse of material, the editor posted the following statement:

Editors’ Note: The introductory paragraphs of this post appeared in similar form in an October, 2011, column by Jonah Lehrer for the Wall Street Journal. We regret the duplication of material.

Eventually, it was learned that Lehrer had double dipped on other occasions. Although some complained about the term, “self-plagiarism,” his conduct was of intense interest to his peers. Lehrer eventually said about his actions, “It was a stupid thing to do and incredibly lazy and absolutely wrong.”
In summary, the publishers involved took the recycling seriously, they made readers aware of the duplication, and Lehrer said what he did was stupid, lazy and wrong.
It is unclear to me how the Christian publishing world regards recycling material when multiple publishers are involved. In this post, I am simply going to point out an occasion of recycling in Mark Driscoll’s books. I have been reading several of them, and I can tell you there are more instances. For now, I will stick with the case of Driscoll recycling material from Religion Saves: And Nine Other Misconceptions published by Crossway Books in 2009 into Real Marriage published by Thomas Nelson in 2012.
First, both books contain a description of pornography. They are nearly identical.**

In both books following the description of porn, Driscoll provides a summary of the aspects of pornography.  In Real Marriage, it comes on page 143.

As an aside, no experts are cited and I haven’t figured out where he got that list.
Now, here is the same material from Religion Saves published earlier by Crossway Books.

The passages are identical. Perhaps there is some undisclosed arrangement between the publishers, but I can’t find any permission or acknowledgment in Real Marriage that this material comes from a book published by Crossway.
In Real Marriage on page 113, Driscoll writes:

The life of a prostitute is incredibly dark: 62 percent report having been raped in prostitution. In one study, 75 percent of women in escort prostitution had attempted suicide; prostituted women comprised 15 percent of all completed suicides reported by hospitals.

On page 140 in Religion Saves, the same opening sentence is written (“The life of a prostitute is incredibly dark”) with the same statistics, albeit with a few additional stats.
On page 112 of Real Marriage, Driscoll writes:

The sexual revolution of the 1960s and ’70s radically altered the sexual landscape of our nation, so that today sex before marriage and viewing pornography are the culturally accepted norm.

The identical sentence can be found on page 130 of Religion Saves.
Much of chapter 5 in Religion Saves is recycled in Real Marriage. In both, Driscoll cites Jim Dobson on the story of Ted Bundy, and Patrick Carnes on sexual addiction. He recycles the material on sexual addiction with the same sexual addition criteria list from Carnes. He has identical statements about pornography and lust. Much of the same ground is covered in both books with no mention in Real Marriage of the exact same material being first published by Crossway in 2009.
Jonah Lehrer found that recycling material (and other misdeeds) caused quite a stir among journalists and led to publishers pursuing vigorous public actions to protect their interests and reputations.  To me, the situations seem quite similar. It remains to be seen how Christian publishers will view extensive recycling of material from one publisher’s book to another by the same author.
*I first learned of the Lehrer story from Jake Dockter at The Great White Whale. In his piece Dockter asked many pointed questions based on what was known at the time. Many of those questions remain unanswered.
**I added this image as an update to the original article.

Another Publisher Investigates Mark Driscoll's Books

Another Christian publisher is conducting a review of Mark Driscoll’s books. This evening, Becky Garrison reports at Religion Dispatches that publisher Crossway is conducting an internal review of Mark Driscoll’s books to ensure “proper citation and documentation.” That is the same thing Crossway told me when I asked about my prior posts on Death By Love, a book authored by Driscoll and Gerry Breshears and published by Crossway.
I contacted Crossway’s Executive Director of Marketing James Kinnard for comment about prior posts regarding Death By Love. In reply, Kinnard wrote:

I assure you we are in touch with Mars Hill and are conducting an internal review to ensure that our books published by Mark Driscoll have proper citation and documentation.

I also reached out to Driscoll via Mars Hill and his co-author Gerry Breshears. Breshears pointed me to Driscoll’s recent apology concerning his book on Peter, but declined to comment further on other instances which have been raised.
Driscoll has published nine books with Crossway, three of which are out of print.
In her RD article, Garrison asks pointed questions about how Tyndale House has addressed the controversy as compared to how secular media have handled similar situations. Head on over to RD and give it a read.
See also:
On The Allegations Of Plagiarism Against Mark Driscoll (12/2/13)
Zombies, Plagiarism And Mark Driscoll Helped Me Write This Blog Post (12/3/13)
Mark Driscoll And His Church On Plagiarism (12/4/13)
Janet Mefferd Removes Evidence Relating To Charges Of Plagiarism Against Mark Driscoll; Apologizes To Audience (12/4/13)
Ingrid Schlueter Resigns From Janet Mefferd Show Over Mark Driscoll Plagiarism Controversy (12/5/13)
Who’s Talking About The Mark Driscoll Plagiarism Controversy? (12/7/13)
IVP Says Bible Commentary Improperly Appeared In Book by Mark Driscoll; Mars Hill Church Responds, Blames Researcher Mistakes for Errors (12/9/13)
Mars Hill Church Alters Statement on Mark Driscoll Plagiarism Controversy (UPDATED) (12/10/13)
Mars Hill’s Sermon Series Battle Plan Reveals Background of Mark Driscoll’s Book on Peter (12/10/13)
Mars Hill’s Sermon Series Document Reveals Background of Mark Driscoll’s Book on Peter, Part Two (12/12/13)
Mars Hill Church, Mark Driscoll and the Case of the Disappearing Links (12/16/13)
Historical Problems In Mark Driscoll’s Death By Love (12/16/13)
Mark Driscoll’s Death By Love And Dan Allender’s The Wounded Heart: Is This Plagiarism? (12/17/13)
More IVP Reference Material Shows Up Without Citation in a Book by Mark Driscoll (12/18/13)
Mark Driscoll and Tyndale House Release Statement of Apology to Christian Post (12/18/13)
See all posts on this topic here.