Our language is too straight

Cecilia Bartoli, after a concert performance o...

Cecilia Bartoli, after a concert performance of “La Cenerentola”, Salle Pleyel, Paris (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In my recent piece on the Historical Jesus, I chose to use these words:

…just a story told like other divine imaginations, to help out one person or another in achieving something of an ethical collusion, or mythicism.

I realize some have a difficult time understanding nuanced writing. (Throughout this post, I have linked words to various pages giving their meaning.)

Anyway, the above quote was one singled out as a means to attack. That’s fine, because that is the route of the weakened mind, a mind only able to fight back by fleeing into imaginations vain. Regardless of our friend with the mind cancerous , and in spite of not needing to answer imbeciles, I wante to speak to the use of several of these phrases — phrases that cannot be googled.

The goal is always to make a nice tableau painting with the voice. The more color I can find, the more shadow I can find – the goal is always to make more nuance and colors. – Cecilia Bartoli

The problem is one of nuance. Literalists, or rather those who ignorantly claim literalism as what the letter says rather than how the letter is used to say, decry nuance. It is the devil, the one devil, they believe in. Others would see nuance as too subjective to matter, or unintentional, and thus they become idionoēma (or homomeaning). We are at fault, we English speakers, we who have ridded the world of nuance in an attempt to straighten out our language, to push back the queer closet of true beauty — that of the subtle meaning, or turn of a phrase, or even the creation of a new phrase in the shadows of the author’s pen. Or is it Arthur, perhaps, with the poet’s kingly pen of the less-mighty sword, lodged violently in the stone of the mind?

Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago. ― Bernard Berenson

Sometimes I know the meaning of a word but am tired of it and feel the need for an unfamiliar, especially precise or poetic term, perhaps one with a nuance that flatters my readership’s exquisite sensitivity. – William Safire

Our manner of speaking is too straightforward, too boring, too many trees and we miss the forest. When we write — rather, when I write  — I try to be intentional. When I insert the letter ‘a’ in front of the name of Jesus, this is heatedly intentional. As one linguistic scholar is fond of saying, choice implies meaning. If I create a new phrase, one the poor relict cannot find on google’s tract and thus deems unreal (how ironic that one is so limited in his scientific expedition, and not knowing much about anything, deems the phrases a myth), my intention is explored by the phrase itself.

In the early days, I had very little idea about arrangements, and I wrote songs a little flat, as it were, just on an acoustic guitar. They didn’t really have quite enough nuance. – Graham Parker

1For instance, the phrase “ethical collusion.” If one knows ethics are not just created, but multiplied (please note the collusion of these words), then we can understand why I chose the word “collusion.” Further, if we understand the so-called mythicist argument (so-called, because mythicists have no real arguments, just words strung together flat as their understanding of history) then we can understand the nuance of collusion as something deceptive. Adding to this Plato and ethics, well… the one has the necessary information to understand what I mean. Unfortunately, such crass interpretive needs only betray the literary and intellectually impoverished mind who is so buried within itself – so that the mind is in an orifice – to exist only as a singularity.

The writer has the advantage of a medium that can be contemplated many times over on the pages of a book or a magazine. The words lie on the page and the writer has an extended opportunity to imprint on his reader every meaning and nuance distilled from experience. – Bienvenido Lumbera, Filipino National Artist for Literature)

Do I really need to explain “divine imaginations” then? Rather, let me open the window rather than give you the key to the door (notice here the implied colloquialism). It is a phrase intent on pointing to the use of the divine, as in fear or reward, in creating ethical stories as well as their role in myth-making. Now, you go and discover what else is there.

Life cannot be captured in a few axioms. And that is just what I keep trying to do. But it won’t work, for life is full of endless nuances and cannot be captured in just a few formulae. — Etty Hillesum

What a shame when one is unable to do anything else but show himself as the full meaning of the word asinine.

Mythicism, unlearned in history, science, and now literary nuances.

On a side note, if you don’t know the difference between Tradition and tradition, then may be too ignorant to comment on the difference.

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Post By Joel Watts (10,072 Posts)

Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

Website: → Unsettled Christianity

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4 thoughts on Our language is too straight

  1. It would seem that Neil’s flies are descending here! Oh.the.joy!

    I doubt anyone coming from his site to this one will disagree with the relict’s tract, but hey, that’s what sycophants are for, right?

    Poor little minds…

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