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Special Jargon

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  • Michael Grondin
    Seriously, can someone enlighten me as to why German is the preferred language for special terms in Biblical studies? Is it just because everyone does it? (Or
    Message 1 of 2 , Nov 4, 2005
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      Seriously, can someone enlighten me as to why German is the preferred
      language for special terms in Biblical studies? Is it just because everyone
      does it? (Or do they - what about the French?) And - in response to Judy's
      lament about an English term whose connotations I feel as well - why not use
      'textual analysis' instead of 'text criticism'?

      Mike Grondin
    • Judy Redman
      ... The French do it too. If you put Traditionsgeschichte into Google, you ll get pages in English, French and Italian as well as German. There s also one
      Message 2 of 2 , Nov 5, 2005
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        Mike says:

        > Seriously, can someone enlighten me as to why German is the preferred
        > language for special terms in Biblical studies? Is it just
        > because everyone
        > does it? (Or do they - what about the French?)

        The French do it too. If you put "Traditionsgeschichte" into Google, you'll
        get pages in English, French and Italian as well as German. There's also one
        in Hebrew, but I don't think it really counts because it's just a
        bibliographic entry.

        Apart from the historical thing, I think it's also because German, a bit
        like Coptic, allows you to put lots of words together into one so German
        often provides one word where you need to use quite a few English words.

        Geschichte is a case in point. When I looked it up in my German-German
        dictionary (ie like an English dictionary, but in German) it told me that
        "Eine Geschichte" can be a history as we use it in English, but it can also
        mean "an oral or written text which reports events that actually happened or
        things that are invented/imagined that could have happened". So Geschichte
        is a nice, neat word that conveys something quite close to what I imagine
        everyone on this list understands the various gospels (canonical and
        non-canonical) to be. Tradition is the same in both languages. Adding an s
        to the end makes it genitive, so Traditionsgeschichte is a study of the
        passing on/down of oral or written texts which report events that actually
        happened or things that are invented/imagined that could have happened.

        Of course, there wouldn't be any hang over at all from a time when only
        clergy studied the Bible and felt that they had a duty to preserve the Holy
        Mystery from misuse by the laity, would there???? :-)


        >And - in
        > response to Judy's
        > lament about an English term whose connotations I feel as
        > well - why not use
        > 'textual analysis' instead of 'text criticism'?

        A good question - one that I asked in class as an undergraduate on a number
        of occasions! Unfortunately, the other is the accepted technical term and I
        suspect that it would take quite a number of fairly influential scholars to
        change it.

        Judy
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