Re: RT, efficiency in communication, and the expression of a superlative conc...

Date: Thu Aug 30 2001 - 15:21:37 GMT

  • Next message: J L Speranza: "RT and English"

    Again, thanks for further comments. I will respond to selected points of J L
    Speranza below.

    In a message dated 8/30/01 12:56:46 AM GMT Daylight Time,

    J. Fantin said:
    > "My question is simply, how much evidence of a concept's existence would
    > convince you that it was there?"

    J L Speranza replied:
    > Well, if there's the word, there was the concept. The Greeks were e.g.
    > obsessed with HYBRIS, and KUDOS, and all that. So I guess they had the
    > corresponding concept. So much so that we must still use their WORD to
    > express their CONCEPT: No such thing as English for kudos or hybris. Nor
    > italian for that matter!

    Yes, I guess this is the case (a significant way to have the concept is
    through the word); however, a few occurrences of a word cannot necessarily
    prove a widespread concept within a community.

    > "The occasional localized example does not seem to be sufficient to
    > demonstrate it was part of the general cognitive environment."

    J L Speranza replied:

    > What else do you want? And the bible is not just one occasional localised
    > example. It's like 6,700 localised veriscles, and in Aramaic, too.

    Yes, the Bible in not localized and definitely provides information I am
    seeking. However, I may not have been as clear as I should have here. I do
    think the superlative Lord concept appears throughout the Bible (with and
    without modifiers). I do not think we can assume that the referent of this
    concept in the Bible (God/Yahweh in the OT and Jesus in the NT) can be
    assumed to be the referent of the concept in the Greco-Roman culture as a
    whole. Here I think Caesar is the referent but the evidence is not nearly as
    prevalent. For Augustus I have found less than five inscriptions, papyri,
    for Tiberius about the same number, for Caligula only minor a mention or two
    in literary evidence of later writers, Claudius about five or so, and then
    many more for Nero (after Nero the term lord appears frequently). My
    question is: would this type of evidence convince you that the concept was
    applied to the Caesar as early as Augustus?

    > "However, widespread attestation in inscriptions, papyri, etc., would seem
    > to suggest its existence."

    J L Speranza replied:
    > Now, that's a materialistic thought. The existence of a concept is not seen
    > via papyri, etc. DODDS wrote a whole book on THE GREEKS AND THE IRRATIONAL,
    > pointing that the Greeks were IRRATIONAL. Yet, all the papiry, etc, point
    > to the fact that they were, er, very rational. As Aristotle said, if you
    > say, "Thou shalt not over-whore" (commit adultery) the impication is that
    > you are prone to commit it. SImilarly, it's only logical that what remains
    > in papiry is what the people did NOT THINK.

    There does seem to be discrepancies between sources at times. Some of these
    may be resolved, others may simply be conflicts.

    J L Speranza >
    > COnsider homosexuality. The Bible and Christ seem to be against it. But
    > then, if such a sanction was needed it is because the practice was, er, a
    > practice...

    This is a helpful point. A prohibition seems to suggest there was a practice
    or at least the danger of a practice.

    > "merely incidental mentions such as the use of a title (e.g., saviour,
    > lord, god, etc.) for an emperor."
    > "Given an imperfect state of preservation of sources, what would you need
    > to see to conclude it existed?"

    J L Speranza replied:
    > Well, you never know, I guess.
    > But then it's more unlikely that the concept did NOT exist, if you have the
    > word.
    > E.g. there was no word for "gay" in OE. This does not mean that there were
    > no gay practices, right.
    > "In other words, to demonstrate that the concept of "Caesar as saviour"
    > existed in the first century as part of the general cognitive environment,
    > would you need to find a certain amount of certain types of sources calling
    > him this in widespread areas?"
    > Don't think so. And was Caesar who's saviour?

    This is also helpful. It removes the need for explicit evidence in every
    case. The argument must be constructed with other types of evidence. This
    is what I need to figure out. Just what type of evidence and how to use it
    to prove my point. For example, in OE, without the word "gay," what evidence
    is there of the practice?


    Joe Fantin

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