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April 2003

There has been an important development in the matter of the suspicious "disappearance" of the 1997 edition of  Priscilla's Letter: Finding the Author of the Epistle to the Hebrews. Litigation spanning four years has been successfully concluded.

The call I was waiting for came recently, when my Maryland attorney told me he was looking at a settlement check for $70,000.  It had been a hard-fought battle, with desperate legal maneuvers by the publisher/defendant to overturn the California court judgment.  My attorneys had encountered daunting obstacles that were overcome by persistence and some remarkable circumstances that made success possible.

The judicial system worked for me when other civil liberties safeguards mostly failed.  The Rev. LaVonne Althouse's coverage in The Woman's Pulpit was the chief media light in the darkness.  Since I had sued for suppression, as well as breach of contract and fraud, this is judicial vindication for me, and for my book.  The settlement amount send a clear message that the suppression of Priscilla's Letter was an ill-advised escapade.

Interestingly, I was the only author-litigant; this tends to support the claim of deliberate suppression.  In a Motion to Dismiss, the publisher denied direct involvement in any phase of the acceptance of my book, from manuscript review to actual publication, except for affixing his signature to the contract.  However, this was a legal ploy, and may not have any other significance.

Nonetheless, Priscilla's Letter is a serious, well-documented case for a female author of a major New Testament epistle.  If you recall, it was secretly removed from circulation only a few months into a two-year contract, despite promising initial sales and the publisher's apparent enthusiasm for the book.  After three years, the book was back in print through Lost Coast Press, in 2000.

Although the mystery has not been solved, justice has prevailed.

-Ruth Hoppin




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