I discovered that I was Majestic last week when I finally decided to publish my book, Teaching Curious Christians about Judaism, as an e-book on Amazon's Kindle. I'd resisted creating a kindle version of the paperback for years. Originally published by the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago in the mid 1990s as Teaching Christian Children about Judaism, the book was long out of print when I updated it in 2013. Much to my surprise, I discovered that it had been used for the past twenty years by Monsignor Allen Humbrecht at his church in Soddy Daisy, Tennessee. We sat down and mapped out the update to replace his few remaining copies.
Msgr. Al took the new version to Vatican City as a gift to Pope France and I ended up on the front page of the Lifestyle section of The Chattanooga Times Free Press. That was my first clue that world religions, interfaith dialogue, and inter-religious resources were coming back into style. Recently, I chatted about next steps with Dr. Amy-Jill Levine (no relation) whose impressive signature reads: Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies, Vanderbilt University Divinity School. Based on her suggestions, the next version of the paperback is now up on Amazon. I struggled over the e-book, relented and started on a kindle version. That's when things got interesting with the pirates.
When I forgot how to get into my Kindle account, I googled the e-book version. Lo and behold, it wasn't my account that I found, but multiple websites carrying Teaching Curious Christians about Judaism as a pdf download. Some sites offered the e-book download to phones and in all "epub popular formats". What? I never produced the book as a pdf file or e-book. My first reaction was to email the website owners informing them that I'd not given my permission for this use and asking them to remove the e-book from their sites immediately.
Despite my lousy mood over all this, I was fascinated by how the sites listed me and my book. First, they gave me a 5-star rating. I can't argue with that. They described the book with flowery language that grabbed my attention, and amusing me, even as I was grappling with the theft. "Enjoy The Excellent Ebook Teaching Curious Christians about Judaism", "Get The Gorgeous Ebook", "The Wonderful Teaching Curious Christians about Judaism", "The Magnificent Teaching Curious Christians about Judaism."
My favorite listing was "Deborah J Levine. The Majestic. Get Ebook Teaching Curious Christians about Judaism." Should I have allowed that one to stay up online. After all, if your work is going to be pirated anyway, you might as well get something out of it. No, my upright self couldn't let the piracy stand. But don't be too surprised if I occasionally go for an impressive signature of my own: The Majestic Deborah J. Levine.