The first half of our treatment on Ullmann can be found here, and the prelude to this two-part series can be found here (and the forerunner to the prelude [!] is here); in the six (a through e; part 2a here, part 2b here, part 2c here, and part 2d here) parts of this second post, we’ll cover the way that his students, admirers and critics have presented the outline of his thought, and the faults they have found with it.
An amusing little bit I wanted to leave here — amusing because it is so very accurate: Continue reading
There is a widespread –and likely perennial– habit of flattening historical distance to assimilate everything to one’s own parochial universe. Children are like this. The Piglet is like this, for he
lived in a very grand house in the middle of a beech-tree, and the beech-tree was in the middle of the forest, and the Piglet lived in the middle of the house. Next to his house was a piece of broken board which had: “TRESPASSERS W” on it. When Christopher Robin asked the Piglet what it meant, he said it was his grandfather’s name, and had been in the family for a long time. Christopher Robin said you couldn’t be called Trespassers W, and Piglet said yes, you could, because his grandfather was, and it was short for Trespassers Will, which was short for Trespassers William. And his grandfather had had two names in case he lost one – Trespassers after an uncle, and William after Trespassers. [A. A. Milne, The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh (New York, NY: Penguin — Dutton Children’s Books, 1996), 32]
(It is not at the center: the Piglet’s house is, in fact, on the southwest edge of the Hundred Acre Wood according to the map drawn by Ernest Shepard, the official illustrator.) Attention to historical detail requires attention to how the object under question is an artifact that, though it can be variously used by us, comes from a world that is, at least in some degree, different from our own.
In an earlier post, we looked at the Greek word “χάρις“, namely, the way that the historical sense of this word is bound up in a very stratified social setting, and how translating it almost always ends up becoming a proxy war for different confessional agendas (I should add that it is difficult it is to think past these agendas, because they are rooted in a history of interpretation generated by reflection on the original word through various cultural contexts and historical epochs).
Perhaps I should also add: ignoring this history-of-interpretation ignores some of the latter fallout of this word, ignores at least part of the history of its effects, and so neglects to treat properly the word itself.
Here we shall look at another Greek word: “πειρασμός”, nearly ubiquitously mistranslated as “temptation”. Continue reading