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RE: [GTh] Special Jargon

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  • 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 1 of 3 , Nov 6, 2005
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      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@...
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