The David Falk Fiasco revealed a lot that was always lurking beneath the surface but bubbled up in the wake of the reaction to the Egyptologist’s misogyny. One of the more alarming examples of this was that of Joel Edmund Anderson, a self-described “blue collar Bible scholar,” who blogs at his website joeledmundanderson.com. As you’ll see in the guest post below, Anderson all but dismissed Falk’s bigotry, relegating it to a mere 3 out of 10 on the misogyny scale, and let everyone know that the outrage to it was fake. And then, in later posts, Anderson attacked Francesca Stavrakopoulou’s book God: An Anatomy, especially a section that argues the pericope in Isaiah 6 contains language pointing to Yahweh’s genitals, referring to her findings as “stupid.” (Quite the retort!)
In the post below, Chrissy H. discusses all of this and more. One of the most interesting sections deals with an apparent instance of plagiarism, a subject near and dear to my heart given the examples of plagiarism I’ve found in the works of such noteworthy (yes, that’s sarcasm) apologists as SJ Thomason and Robert Clifton Robinson. Passing off another’s work as your own is not only deceptive but it is revealing, especially for those who claim to possess God’s spirit within them, sanctifying them. (It’s also alarming when non-Christians do it, for the record. I am constantly paranoid that I’ve failed to offer proper attribution in my posts.) Yet as interesting as this potential plagiarism is, it is inconsequential compared to the misogyny and transphobia peddled by Anderson, especially when transgender people are being targeted with disheartening regularity.
So, give Chrissy’s piece a read. She documents what she found and offers commentary from the perspective of someone who is transgender. It’s worth the time!
Joel Edmund Anderson, Misogyny,
and Failed Male Academics
I am not sure why, but there is a strange intersection between being a failed cis-male academic, whose work is not even acknowledged as existing by 99% of your colleagues, and also being a misogynistic a-hole who has to draw attention to his own mediocrity by insulting the most prominent women in your field. We know this all by heart now… because David Falk exists. And thus, I coin this intersection of being a mediocre “academic” and a misogynistic prick who takes out their frustration and mediocrity on women as being the Falk’s Law, i.e., that the more mediocre a (cis) male academic’s career, the more likely this male academic is to take his frustration out on women (and/or other minorities) in the field. And today we have another instance of this, providing more empirical evidence of its validity. I should do a full study of this.
Joel Edmund Anderson is a PhD Old Testament “scholar” from… the University of Pretoria. We know exactly where this is going given this is the same place that churned Michael R. Licona out.
Joel Anderson (Weird Academic History)
Anderson is a conservative Christian whose career has been, let’s say, less than stellar. Firstly, let’s just put to rest that his academic credentials are definitely questionable. On his blog, for instance, he claims his first MA was in Theological Studies from Regent College:
And yet, on his own LinkedIn page he claims that he got an MA in “Christian Studies” from Regent College instead:
And then in his response to Matthew Hartke, he says he got his Master’s in “New Testament Studies,” from Regent:
Hmmm. Which is it Anderson? Because those are three different degrees at Regent College and this should be telling since if you look at the requirements for the “Christian Studies” program, it does not require any Biblical Greek or Hebrew to be learned. So, let’s not take this MA story at face value.
But the rest of his history also not exactly stellar. Needless to say, I have heard down the pipeline that his MA at Trinity Western was a disaster, and his defense was… a spectacle of incompetence to say the least. Apparently, he just didn’t understand critiques of and about the usage of terms like “intertextuality” and worse. And if his later academic work (see below) is anything to go by… we’ll just say that I won’t be surprised if there is some sketchy stuff going on in that MA.
But let’s now turn to his PhD. Now, if you come from a remotely credible background in Old Testament scholarship, then you know for a fact that if you do not read German or French… then you are not up to date, or even remotely current on biblical scholarship. Well, Anderson here somehow got away with writing a dissertation on Isaiah 7:14 without citing a single piece of foreign language scholarship. No German, no French, no Spanish, nothing. Also, his bibliography is just rife with repeat names (he really really likes Iain Provan guys). Needless to say, there is probably a reason he got his PhD (via correspondence it seems) with Pretoria… the same place that will hand out a PhD in New Testament and only require second-year undergraduate understanding of biblical languages… I’m not kidding, here are their base language requirements:
Not hard to get a PhD when you aren’t required to be even as competent as an advanced fourth year undergraduate student. And don’t worry dear reader, I will get to his garbage self-published translation of the whole Bible at some later point in the future.
Regardless, this is the academic background of Anderson. A man who cannot get his own story on his first MA straight, whose second was a travesty, and whose PhD was done with a low-bar department that basically anyone could pass through. If you can get a PhD from there arguing that Jesus was historically resurrected from the dead, you know it is basically just an apologetics mill that somehow remains accredited.
Joel Anderson (Misogynist)
Joel Edmund Anderson has, to his entire name, only five peer reviewed papers (one co-written with Pieter Venter) written between 2009–2013 that I could find. I looked over all of them because, well, I find it really really funny to go through the CVs and backgrounds of apologists and just look at how their careers really never took off, because it says a lot about how they then go after, insult, degrade, and go on misogynistic attacks toward successful women in their field. As a case in point with regard to Anderson, here are his takes on Falk in response to Dan McClellan’s excellent work as an ally:
We also have this one, which is also just *chef’s kiss* stellar:
Nothing like sarcastic degradation of a fellow scholar’s work. But of course, here was his ultimate and just very classy opinion of the entire Falk situation:
You hear that women? It was only a 3 on the 1–10 scale that Joel Edmund Anderson, a cis-straight Christian man, set. Therefore, it wasn’t a big deal and we all just need to calm down. I am sure that this (single) cis-straight man really knows what women suffer and what is really sincere issue at play.
Joel Anderson (Failed Academic)
Anyways, these comments are what got me interested in looking into Joel’s background a bit more. I had previously responded to his (absolutely incompetent) “book” (it is an insult to call it such) entitled Christianity and the (R)evolution in Worldviews in Western Culture (2019) which was perhaps one of the worst volumes meant for students. I will get to this below as a showcase of just how reliable an academic he is. Anyways, while I had done this response to Anderson, I took his credentials and academic accomplishments for granted. Maybe he was just another bargain bin failed conservative academic trying to make his bid with crappy books. Seen it a million times.
Well dear reader, this is not the case. After seeing these comments, I did what I did with Falk. I got snoopy. Now keep in mind, the information being shared here is all publicly available, and I am just compiling it here. Contrary to whinging online, I have not doxed anyone. If they don’t want their public statements out in the open, they should stop making them public. Kinda solves itself. Anyways, the first thing I decided to do was to go through his papers. Now, I found it flabbergasting that he managed to get a PhD in OT without citing a single German source in his dissertation. And looking through his “academic” papers, I found a similar trend except in one single case. Joel Edmund Anderson, in 2013, published a paper entitled “The Rise, Fall, and Renovation of the House of Gesenius: Diachronic Methods, Synchronic Readings, and the Debate over Isaiah 36–39 and 2 Kings 18–20” with the journal Currents in Biblical Research in 2013. Which is also, to my knowledge, his last academic paper. I turned immediately to his bibliography where I found a handful of German sources… and then found something rather conspicuous.
Because this is following the in-text author-date citation method, I should presumably be able to look up the dates of the publications and find where Joel Anderson cites these German works in detail in the paper. Here’s the funny thing about that. Even though Anderson lists all these sources from Gesenius in his bibliography, he does not actually cite all of them in the paper:
You can access this paper yourself and do a search on those dates. The date “1815” only comes up in the bibliography. The 1820–21 source only is mentioned once, and he provides no page numbers. He merely writes this (page 148):
The one dated 1827 only appears in the bibliography. The one dated 1833 only appears in the bibliography. And the same follows for the ones dated 1866, 1893, and 1907. It is almost like Anderson was just padding his bibliography and did not actually read or consult those sources for the paper! If only we could confirm this by, say, him admitting that he cannot read German and therefore cannot really read these sources. Oh yeah, by the way, here is him in an interview (thanks Kipp Davis!) admitting that he does not read German and he cannot even pronounce the phrase Wie es eigentlich gewesen (12:02 mark in the interview):
“So, one of the things modern biblical studies—modernity, in general—was really about is that German phrase (I’m not going to say the German phrase, because I don’t know German), but ‘the way it really was.’”
Well, that basically just confirms that he did not read those sources and that he is just padding his bibliography. I feel as though that counts as some kind of academic fraud. But, anyways, here we get another really odd bit. There is another German source that Anderson cites in the paper, Duhm 1914: 247. He specifically cites a page number (one of the only times in the whole paper he does this with a German source). But as he cannot read German, he could not possibly have actually gotten this citation himself. Which means he must have stolen it from someone else. Dear reader, not only did he steal this citation, he plagiarized another person’s work. Just prior to mentioning Duhm, he cites Brevard Childs’ 1967 book Isaiah and the Assyrian Crisis. In this book, on page 75, Brevard writes:
Now… compare this to what Anderson writes in his own paper after citing a quote from Childs, but here he does not actually say that this portion is a quote (page 152 of Anderson’s paper):
Now I don’t know about you, but this looks eerily copy-paste similar to me. And he never attributes this section to Childs. But just to be more explicit: for instance, “stands in tension with the complete destruction of the Assyrians described in [verse]” is identical between them. There are several points of similarity and it is clear that Anderson copied the text and just barely doctored it up for his own paper, and also lifted the citation of Duhm from there as well.
So, Anderson copied the work of Child’s, took credit for a citation without crediting him, and presented it as his own. This, in my opinion, appears to be plagiarism and I am pretty sure it would considered such by any notable academic institutions.
I did not bother checking the rest of the paper for more plagiarism, but I will note that he elsewhere pads his bibliography. For example, in this case (from Anderson’s bibliography):
However, again Anderson is just reliant on English summaries from other scholars, though on these occasions he actually cites where he got the summaries from (Childs and Smelik), except on page 159 where he again cites the German with page numbers, but as he cannot read German (and as his practices elsewhere indicate) this is clearly just lifted from another source. His only other German source is Hardmeier, whom he seems to have gotten the citation from Provan. So, in short, Anderson padded his bibliography with sources he never actually read, and also seems to have plagiarized Brevard Childs at least once in the paper, and honestly if one digs more I would not be surprised if they found even more.
Now you tell me, is this someone qualified or competent enough to evaluate the work of one of the most reputable academics in OT scholarship right now? A guy who pads his bibliography with sources he did not read (and cannot by his own admission), which he lifted from other scholarship, and which he (intentionally or not) plagiarized?
But this is not the end of things, dear reader. Not the end at all. Anderson’s failed academics are only beginning. I noted this in my paper reviewing his pathetic book, but at one point in it Anderson ascribes fake, apocryphal quotes to Karl Marx in order to try and make him out to be some genocidal maniac. Anderson, on page 197 of his book, claims that Marx said that the bourgeoisie would have to, quote, “perish in a revolutionary holocaust.” Anderson says this was a direct quote. He provides no citation for this claim, no source, nothing. But you know what a quick Google search shows? That it is a fake quote fabricated by people online by melding different quotations from Marx and Engels together to make them sound scary. I guess Anderson is too lazy a researcher to utilize Google.
In that same (horrible) book, Anderson does a lot of typical Christian apologetics. The Christians were actually #goodguys and tried to help the Native Americans. And they also ended slavery! But those horrible atheists and secularists were all for it! It is littered with this kind of potshot dialogue, no citations, etc. His book covers approximately 2,500 years worth of history from Judaism to the modern day, and I can’t remember it having more than 30 sources in the bibliography. As far as citations, you can go dozens of pages without finding any. It is a barren wasteland. And of course, if you actually look at that bibliography it is filled with mostly confessional conservative Christian (and outdated) books. He only cites a single volume from a university press in the entire volume that I could find! “Research” at its finest.
So, to recap, Anderson’s research skills are shallow and underdeveloped, to say the least. I have literally known fellow undergrads who do better, more studious research than Anderson (far better). I will give David Falk this, while he published books with shill presses, I never found evidence of him being a plagiarist and he does at least read multiple languages in the field. And if you think we are done no… there is still more on the docket for Anderson and his horrible behavior.
Joel Anderson (Transphobic Conservative)
I am just going to leave these here as they pretty much speak for themselves. These are snippets from his blogs and book:
Fearmongering about Trans women and drag queens.
And here is a repeat performance:
Three times is the charm:
Defending Kirk Cameron being a bigot:
And an excellent bit from his “book” that I have talked about above:
I think these all stand on their own. He denies medical and psychological science regarding trans people, which has consistently affirmed their identities over the years (yes, dear reader, I am a woman, get over it) and shown further that even biological sex is, indeed, a bit of a construct and that the binary does not adequately describe it. But not only that, he apparently thinks that trans women and drag queens are somehow a danger to children… which in reality, queer people are actually safer than straight cis people. A study from 1996, for instance, showed that in a study of abuse among 352 children, around 82% of cases were the result of heterosexual relatives or close family friends. So, you know… it is just fearmongering because he really does not like queer people, and nothing more. He is just a conservative who loves to pretend that he isn’t one, even though he buys their rhetoric hook, line, and sinker.
None of us should be surprised by this (apparent) dishonesty in light of what I have pointed out above.
Anderson is, like Falk, another one of those conservatives with a really sketchy academic background, who tries to pass off as a “scholar” despite having pathetic credentials in the field, no real impact, and his own academic history proves just how little he is even capable of contributing to the field.
He came up to attack Prof. Stavrakopoulou after basically just being like “eh, Falk wasn’t that bad, 3/10” (essentially making it clear whose side of the misogyny scale he was on). Like Falk, if he just kept his mouth shut and stopped being a prick online, maybe he would have gone unnoticed, but he decided to indict Prof. Stavrakopoulou instead and attack her work as essentially that of “fourth grade” and worse. He has been nothing but childish in comments, while deriding others for being “condescending” (his response to Kipp Davis calling him out) and because of that he got on my radar.
I am not a perfect person by any means. I am an ex-far righter (and by far right I mean, I was once a part of a church that refused to condemn the Westboro Baptists, and I will just say if you can imagine a bad opinion, imagine it as the worst possible opinion and that is the one I had; the self-hatred was real, knowing I was definitely not a guy, and also being pansexual). As I noted on the last post, I was fairly abusive to people online during a stint of alcoholism and other issues in previous years (something I have apologized to people for, and will continue doing, as they never deserved that). And I am still far from perfect, and I am going to make sure that I hold myself accountable for those failings. I will also own up to the fact that I am a fairly vindictive person when I see the kind of misogynistic crap that Falk and Anderson spout. But, and here is the kicker, I also have standards about this. I am not vindictive toward people for no reason. And I also have limits. I have not doxed anyone, I will not invade their privacy. Hence, all the information released on Falk and Anderson was all public.
If Anderson had decided to critique Prof. Stavrakopoulou like a mature adult (which he apparently is not), I probably would have just ignored him into oblivion. But he decided to dig his own grave. All I did here was show images to the world of him doing the shovel work. It is telling that the only people that apologists have on their side are these misogynistic and demeaning men, whose academic careers in the field amount to nothing more than meandering, vanity press “monographs”, (imo) plagiarism, and padded bibliographies. I frankly would consider more of God’s children, but as a Trans Woman, I have come to expect mostly negative things from Christians (a sad reality, but true).
Like Falk, Anderson has no place in academia. He contributes nothing and is just a toxic and sore man whose only motivations are to continue the harassment against Prof. Stavrakopoulou. All you need to know about Anderson is really summed up with his confessional statements in his dissertation, such as:
“Simply put, solid biblical exegesis requires historical competency, literary competency, and a reasonable amount of faith in the biblical text itself” (p. 257) [thanks to Ben for finding this]
It makes it clear. Anderson is offended that Prof. Stavrakopoulou would dare to talk about god’s penis, is offended by the ideas she presents (even though they are not remotely fringe and are well-known interpretations in academia), and he is just trying to dismiss her work. It is a response from his Christian conservatism. It is purely reactionary, and he has no real content to offer on any of these issues. Anderson is not wanting to have an honest discussion on actual bible history. This is clear throughout his writings. He wants to pretend ancient Israelite was sui generis (species unique), and that they were different from everyone else. He says it in his book, he says it in the Tweets:
His book is littered with statements like, “the Jews viewed God, and the natural world, and mankind differently than any society or culture at the time” (p. 24). And like, no. God was conceptualized, even in the Bible, in very Near Eastern terms. We have known this for ages, and it isn’t controversial (not even remotely). Anderson cannot abide by that though.
Prof. Stavrakopoulou’s work must be discounted as “stupid” and “fourth grade” (among other childish insults and degradation) because she threatens Anderson’s comfortable Christian sensibilities, which he has carefully cultivated into a precious little bubble. He has nothing to offer the field, as his Tweets, blogs, and books make this blatantly clear.
This is the story of yet another failed academic, who is now caught in his own mediocrity because, instead of thinking before he spoke, he chose to be a misogynistic and transphobic individual.
 Thanks to Kipp Davis for digging on this bit.
 Link to his dissertation: https://repository.up.ac.za/handle/2263/23265?fbclid=IwAR3ufs5iWqTlX16F6w2oP3TTrzcjmI6Kz9yohWwrY92nKJLEaXNBI4-toAk
 This is not a one-off either. I have found several dissertations and Master’s theses from Pretoria all arguing Jesus was historically resurrected from the dead basically confirming this is just a low bar mill. See the following: Frederik Mulder, https://repository.up.ac.za/handle/2263/29165?fbclid=IwAR1xOiGMQXlLKyhLDvG3rfJTA6qLWSMPjk1L9ZscLCu5RI_-mn6AMHRgtbM ; Hanre Janse van Rensburg, https://repository.up.ac.za/handle/2263/26233?fbclid=IwAR0bVBmogq_ijrixuiu051Oaz4z8pfDF6jWHYX16zPQ2s3qwCqt75O7uLDo ; David Mishkin, https://repository.up.ac.za/handle/2263/50702?fbclid=IwAR34lua7WedoBa0opC2ueFdnbn8rdHzt4AhCdK3VWv4uSdQrnc8QyadX_bE
 Joel Edmund Anderson, “The Rise, Fall, and Renovation of the House of Gesenius: Diachronic Methods, Synchronic Readings, and the Debate over Isaiah 36–39 and 2 Kings 18–20,” Currents in Biblical Research 11, no. 2 (2013): 147–167.
 Otávio Pinto, ‘“Revolutionary holocaust”: Did Marx write this?’, BLOG DO OTÁVIO, at https://otaviopinto.com/index.php/2016/08/04/did-marx-write-this/
 For context, I have singular papers that cite over 100 sources. Such as some of my mythicism papers: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/ref/10.1080/2222582X.2021.2001667?scroll=top&role=tab.
 As a few examples: Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (New York: Routledge/Taylor & Francis E Library, 2002); Claire Ainsworth, “Sex Redefined,” Nature 518 (2016): 288-291; Anne Fausto-Sterling, “The Five Sexes: Why Male and Female are not Enough,” The Sciences (March/April 1993): 20-24.
 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8008535/. These findings have been repeated in further studies as well, see https://www.zeroabuseproject.org/victim-assistance/jwrc/keep-kids-safe/sexuality-of-offenders/.
7 thoughts on ““Falk’s Law: Joel Edmund Anderson, Misogyny, and Failed Male Academics” – Guest Post by Chrissy H.”
While I believe that David Falk is an unrepentant bully and jerk and that Anderson is completely wrong to defend him instead of unambiguously condemning him, I don’t think he deserved being bashed in such a harsh manner. We are all flawed human beings, we all do mistakes and if we’re allowed to judge the worth of a person by choosing to focus on his or her worst moments, we could literally destroy everybody. Actually, the author of this post acts in exactly the same way as Falk does by making a lot of extremely uncharitable assumptions about his/her opponents. To an outsider like myself, the whole post reeks of arrogance and self-righteousness and I can only hope that it reflects the author’s anger rather than her true personality.
Otherwise, while biological sex is indeed not a binary as shown by the existence of intersex people, it makes no sense at all to believe it is nothing more than a cultural construction WHILE AT THE SAME TIME believing that human races are an objective reality so that a human being is either white or non-white and never anything in between, as the author of this post apparently does. There are no objective, non-arbitrary criteria that would allow us to divide mankind into whites, blacks and non-whites. Human races are a harmful and incoherent FICTION.
Man, this writer really hates Licona for some reason. This guy seems like a jerk, but no reason to add Licona’s work (which was well received by academics and got prominent endorsements) into it.
I Just can’t trust you, you are a very leftist person, you Just hates christianity from your ideological reasons, that’s why are you cancelling Joel Edmund. Chris, you are Just a bad liberal schorlars, who is opposed to christianity for leftist reasons, and beyond that, YOU ARE JUST A PERSON FROM CALLING OUT CULTURE, YOU JUST NO MORAL TO CRITIC THEY BECAUSE YOU HAVE STUPID IDEOLOGIES IN YOUR THINKING, YOU JUST TRY TO CANCELL PEOPLE JUST BECAUSE THEY DISAGRE WITH YOU, THAT’S IDIOT
Oh my God this is bad, really bad, you accused Joel Edmund for plaigiarism, accused his schorlaship for being not good, but citations are not needed to prove that a schorlar is good or bad, since they have published Works, you Just are creating a game Just for your use and play
I absolutely agree that Dr. Anderson’s comments were out of place and wrong, however that does not justify this disgusting ad hominem, this author should be embarrassed.