Friday, 14 January 2011

Prefaces, collaborations, and interdisciplinarity

Essays on the Ancient Semitic World (1970):
'During these middle decades of the twentieth century, when each scholarly discipline has long since turned in upon itself and become highly specialised, the search is for some means of liaison among virtually isolated groups. More and more the need has been felt by the individual scholar to pool his resources with those of his colleagues. Otherwise, so runs the tacitly accepted reasoning, we must all wedge ourselves tighter and tighter into narrow passages where no forward movement is possible. The great advantage in a college of scholars in which free exchange of ideas is not only possible, but shrewdly encouraged, is that such impasses are never reached.
for the filed of scholarly endeavour is not segmented into watertight compartments, but resembles the broad expanse of the rainbow, where colours melt into one another, and sharp lines are never certain.
The traditional picture of the lone scholar, doing his work by himself in his garret, must be replaced by the image of the dialogue or seminar.'

A Grammar of Septuagint Greek
'The labour of many good men, such as the Rev. W. H. Seddon, now Vicar of Painswick, and the Rev. Osmond Archer, to name two who happen to fall under our knowledge, has thus been left without acknowledgement. They toiled silently for the advancement of learning, like the coral insects who play their part beneath the waters in rearing a fair island for the abode of man.'

'No Higher Critic is likely to trouble himself about disentangling the different strands of authorship [i.e. of the two authors]... if anyone should be tempted to exercise his wits in that direction... we will give him one clue: If anything should strike him as being not merely sound but brilliant, he may confidently set it down to this third source [i.e. Walter Scott].'

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