Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

RE: [GTh] Special Jargon

Expand Messages
  • David Hindley
    Mike, ... That was where the first really serious (that is, non apologetic) historical-critical scholarship began to flourish in the late 18th through the
    Message 1 of 3 , Nov 4, 2005
    • 0 Attachment
      Mike,

      >>Seriously, can someone enlighten me as to why German is the preferred language for special terms in Biblical studies?<<

      That was where the first really serious (that is, non apologetic) historical-critical scholarship began to flourish in the late 18th through the early 20th centuries. There were scholars in England, France, USA, and Russia too, but they tended to be arguing for and against the merits of the protestant revolution or the case for or against the key ideas of the followers of Calvin & Zwingli versus the Lutherans.

      Not that a good chunk of these new critics weren't Lutherans, but many were pretty liberal for their day and some paid the price with lost jobs. I'm not sure what his religious affiliation was, but even "critic of the critics" Albert Schweitzer was considered so liberal that he had a heck of a time finding a missionary organization willing to sponsor his medical practice in Africa.

      Respectfully,

      Dave Hindley
      Cleveland, Ohio USA
    • Michael Grondin
      Hi Judy- Thanks to you and Dave Hindley for your remarks. Not knowing German and not being a professional biblical scholar, the usage of special German terms
      Message 2 of 3 , Nov 6, 2005
      • 0 Attachment
        Hi Judy-

        Thanks to you and Dave Hindley for your remarks. Not knowing German and not
        being a professional biblical scholar, the usage of special German terms has
        bothered me, as perhaps indicating that one is writing primarily for an
        academic audience. If the terms are explained, however, it's a different
        matter. And then thinking about my own field of logic, I have to admit that
        we use a significant number of foreign special terms - Latin, in our case.
        ('modus ponens', 'modus tollens', 'reductio ad absurdum', and all that.)
        It's not entirely the same thing, I think (since Logic is used in all fields
        of study), but what seems to be the same is that if one uses the terms
        without explaining them, one is probably writing primarily for an audience
        highly learned in that area (given that an editor would presumably correct
        unintended obfuscation.) There's English special jargon, too, of course
        (witness 'X criticism') - especially in what was my own career field of data
        processing. My personal preference in writing and discussing has always been
        to keep special terms to a minimum - even when the audience is one's
        professional colleagues (in my case, the computer programmers I've worked
        with.) When one uses special jargon unnecessarily, I tend to assume that
        either the speaker is oblivious to the audience, or is trying to impress
        them - which has the opposite effect on me.

        Mike Grondin
        Mt. Clemens, MI
      • Judy Redman
        Mike, I think that Biblical Studies in particular suffers from a tendency to assume that everyone who is reading what is written is a specialist in the field
        Message 3 of 3 , Nov 6, 2005
        • 0 Attachment
          Mike,

          I think that Biblical Studies in particular suffers from a tendency to
          assume that everyone who is reading what is written is a specialist in the
          field because until relatively recently the only people who actually read
          anything written in the area *were* specialists or at least had a bachelors
          level training in the area - ie most of them were clergy. It disturbs me
          greatly that a significant proportion of people who have been sitting in
          church pews for firfty or more years have never heard even the basics of
          Biblical scholarship. The Religious Right would not flourish the way it
          does if Christians in pews understood how the Bible came into being, but
          most ministers for many decades have felt that sharing that kind of
          information with people would just destroy their faith. The reaction you
          usually get from people who are reasonably well educated in another field
          when they hear about it is "This is *so* exciting - is it new? Why haven't
          I heard about it before?"

          Like you, I try to use limited amounts of jargon and to explain any I use,
          but when you use it every day, you sometimes forget that it isn't part of
          the vocabulary of the average person (so, your oblivious of the audience).
          I agree that some people use it in an attempt to impress - often these
          people feel very insecure. (My pet hates are people who use 'praxis'
          instead of 'practice' and 'qua' instead of 'as'.) I think sometimes people
          also use it because they don't understand the concept it represents well
          enough to explain it in more usual words. It's a bit like the difference
          between being able to read something written in another language and
          understand it compared with being able to translate it into good English. I
          can (often) read a passage in German and understand the gist what it is
          trying to convey, but if I have to produce a translation, I have to grab a
          dictionary and sometimes also a grammar text in order to be able to provide
          an accurate rendering of what the author is trying to say.

          And sometimes they use it because they don't want a long messy English
          paragraph in the table of contents of their book! :-)

          Judy

          --
          "Politics is the work we do to keep the world safe for our spirituality" -
          Judith Plaskow

          Rev Judy Redman
          Uniting Church Chaplain
          University of New England
          Armidale 2351
          ph: +61 2 6773 3739
          fax: +61 2 6773 3749
          web: http://www.une.edu.au/campus/chaplaincy/uniting/
          email: jredman@...
        Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.