One-Minute Book Reviews

October 17, 2007

10 Percent of Americans Think Joan of Arc Was Noah’s Wife — Quote of the Day (George Barna via Stephen Prothero)

Filed under: Quotes of the Day — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 7:00 pm
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American are reading less of all kinds of things, including religious books. What are the effects? Here’s an example from a survey of religious literacy:

“Ten percent of Americans believed that Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife.”

Stephen Prothero in Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know — and Doesn’t (HarperOne, $24.95). He’s citing research published in George Barna’s The Index of Leading Spiritual Indicators (Dallas: Word Publishing, 1996). Prothero chairs the religion department at Boston University You can find more statistics like the one above if you go to and use the “Search Inside the Book” tool to find page 30 in Religious Literacy.

(c) 2007 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.


  1. Your blog is so colorful now! Love it!

    Comment by lisamm — October 18, 2007 @ 2:12 am | Reply

  2. O, gawd, you’ve got to be kidding me! Do we really need any more proof on the dumbing down of America, starting with our educational institutions, i.e. public, private, and religious? I don’t know whether to laugh or cry – in which case I’ll just curl up in the fetal position and groan. Sorry to desecrate your site by this comment, but this really takes the cake. Janice, you can delete this post at your discretion. *grin* (It’s astonishing how much I learn from you, BTW 🙂

    Comment by janetleigh — October 18, 2007 @ 3:03 am | Reply

  3. Lisa: Thank you! I am so grateful to Sean Lindsay for showing me how easy this was. Jan

    Janetleigh: Maybe we didn’t need another example, but this one made me smile …

    Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — October 18, 2007 @ 8:23 am | Reply

  4. This is a book well worth reading. His discussion of the results of the religion quiz are stunning to me. Simple knowledge that I take for granted that is largely unknown, including among those who attend Christian colleges. The last chunk of the book provides something of a mini-encyclopedia of religious knowledge that he thinks we need to know.

    He also appeared on (c-span2) in an interview to support the book. It looks like it’s possible to view that interview online. Just go there and search for Prothero. One particularly provocative part of the interview is his claim that different religious perspectives cannot be reduced to different paths up the same mountain (toward the divine or something like it), but the various approaches contradict each other in basic ways.

    Comment by Jon — October 22, 2007 @ 1:03 am | Reply

  5. Prothero’s comment that not all religious traditions are the same is courageous. So many people and institutions today seem to take the opposite view, implicitly or explicitly. The religious publishing arm of HarperCollins, formerly called HarperSanFrancisco, recently changed its name to HarperOne … as though all religions were “one.”

    The C-Span2 interview sounds like something a lot of people might want to check out, but your hyperlink didn’t seem to “take,” so I’ll try to insert it here: Thanks for mentioning the program.

    Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — October 22, 2007 @ 2:18 am | Reply

  6. Pretty sad, but then again most people do not really know the true and complete story of Joan of Arc. Most of the recent books and movies are distortions of her life. Here is a good site to sent people to learn about Joan of Arc:

    Comment by emander — November 24, 2007 @ 1:09 am | Reply

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