It would be great to have reference to those studies if published.
It of course raises the issue which many liturgists try to avoid: what
does "comprehension" mean? In Hamlet, is comprehension of the famous
soliloquy 100% when one can empathize with Hamlet's emotional state in
the plot, recite the text verbatim, recite the Greek sources (in Greek)
of "on kai me on", describe how they work in Plato, discuss the
geo-political events which engendered Shakespeare's writing the play,
etc...? Would any combination of these characteristics be adequate to
get one from 60% to even 70%? What would 100% comprehension mean?
Petitioning Parliament to clarify the succession and settle it on James
of Scotland? In 2009?
Or is "comprehension" a peculiarly post-enlightenment modernism that
points at something that is only part of theatrical (and thus
liturgical) reception. Maybe "cognition" is only a small part of real
dramatic "comprehension." Would we be willing to say that I (as a
non-Chinese speaker) having participated in a Mandarin eucharist, and as
a result went out and help the hispanics in my neighborhood, had
actually "comprehended" the Eucharist, when the only part of it that I
could relate to cognitively would be its embodiment, not its text? (and
I know that I'm stirring in James O'Regan's pot here!)
None of these questions speak against intelligibility or justify doing
worship as a simple-minded practice of museology, and I'd argue that a
reasonable answer would implicate bad (or badly translated) texts even
more than comparative textual analysis does.
Douglas Cowling wrote:
> On 11/8/09 10:08 AM, "James O'Regan" <oregan@...> wrote:
>> A caveat. One can make Shakespearean English sound as if it were clear
>> so that an audience will think that they know what is going on, yet
>> because of semantic ignorance will never have the rich depth of
>> understanding that comes with living in an Elizabethan world or having
>> studied its language.
> Studies have shown that even among those who know the plays the
> comprehension level during an actual performance is about 60%: the same as a
> modern Russian hearing the Orthodox liturgy.
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