Richard C. Leonard earned the Ph.D. in Biblical Studies from Boston University (1972) and has taught at the college and graduate level. His career includes work as an editor, contributing writer, and currently authors books and articles for Laudemont Press and Laudemont Ministries.
When preparing graduate school term papers, one seldom thinks about publication issues. In this instance, I should have thought this one through a little more thoroughly.
I was taking a course in American church history at Boston University Graduate School, back in the 1960s, as part of my Ph.D. requirement. Having discovered the Unitarians upon coming to Boston from the Midwest, I became interested in the history of the denomination — how they emerged out of the more orthodox Congregationalism of New England. So I decided to write a paper on that topic.
I looked up the sources in the School of Theology library and other collections, and found some interesting ones. A valuable source was “The Epic of Unitarianism” by a scholar named David B. Parke, of which I made good use. Professor Richard Cameron, the instructor, had us read our papers to the class, and I read mine and cited some of the sources.
How embarrassed I was to discover, after reading my paper, that another member of the class was the same David B. Parke! Happily, I had not directly cited his book in my presentation. In fact, he told me afterward that I had discovered a source or two of which he was unaware. But I had read through my term paper blissfully ignorant of the fact that an expert on the subject was in my audience. The episode had the potential to be far more embarrassing than it actually was.
Incidentally, Professor Cameron had been around a long time, and his lecture notes were so old they had turned yellow. Once he started to lecture, looked down at his lectern, and turned his notes around. They had been upside down.