Exercise: Which bible verse is a translation from an oral culture, and which from a literate one? Version 1



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EXERCISE: Which bible verse is a translation from an oral culture, and which from a literate one? VERSION 1: In the beginning God created the heaven and earth. And the earth was void and empty, and darkness was upon the face of the deep, and the spirit of God moved over the waters. And God said: Be light made. And light was made. And God saw the light that it was good; and he divided the light from the darkness. And he called the light Day, and the darkness Night; and there was evening and morning one day. VERSION 2: In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless wasteland, and darkness covered the abyss, while a mighty wind swept over the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw how good the light was. God then separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day” and the darkness he called “night.” Thus evening came, and morning followed – the first day.

  • EXERCISE: Which bible verse is a translation from an oral culture, and which from a literate one? VERSION 1: In the beginning God created the heaven and earth. And the earth was void and empty, and darkness was upon the face of the deep, and the spirit of God moved over the waters. And God said: Be light made. And light was made. And God saw the light that it was good; and he divided the light from the darkness. And he called the light Day, and the darkness Night; and there was evening and morning one day. VERSION 2: In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless wasteland, and darkness covered the abyss, while a mighty wind swept over the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw how good the light was. God then separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day” and the darkness he called “night.” Thus evening came, and morning followed – the first day.
  • A Summary of arguments about orality and literacy (Young & Sullivan, Ong, Havelock, etc.)

Writing, Memory & Thought

  • Without writing, certain types of high level thought are very difficult, if not impossible, for societies to sustain (consider the simple multiplication exercises). This is NOT to say that individuals cannot have complex thoughts, but rather that the absence of writing tends to shape the options that non-literate societies have for storing (and passing on as knowledge) the products of thought.
  • Why? Because complex mental tasks put a strain on memory, which has certain inherent limitations. While there are strategies we can use to get around memory limits (chunking, schemas, spatial memory, narrative, rhyme, prosody, etc.) an aid to memory, in the form of writing, is needed to carry out complex mental tasks.

Writing, Memory & Thought

  • Some genres and some technologies tax memory far more that others (compare the oral composition of an email to a friend, a poem, an opinion piece, an essay, a physics research paper, etc.)
  • When it comes to certain complex mental tasks, writing, literacy and thought are interconnected.
  • We need to look closely at the importance of writing, and how new tools such as computers enable new forms of reading and writing, and new tools for producing and organizing thought.

Communication & Thought in Societies with/without Writing

    • Scholars such as Walter Ong, Eric Havelock, Alfred Lord, Milman Parry, John Goody and Elizabeth Eisenstein have studied the history of literacy and writing systems. They have examined the relationship between thought and expression, communication and consciousness, & how the construction, storage and dissemination of knowledge is influenced by writing and the materiality of communication.
    • Many of these writers consider the difference – cultural, communicative, cognitive – between people in “oral” societies and those in literate ones. They claim that there are a number of key differences in the way both knowledge and communication are organized.
    • In an oral culture you “know what you recall.” Thought is intertwined with memory and occurs in mnemonic patterns.
    • Vocabulary and syntax are shaped by the pressure to memorize – this means prosody and narrative are important. “Narrative syntax” dominates.

Communication & Thought in Societies with/without Writing

  • The storage of knowledge is governed by the laws of acoustics – knowledge must “imprint itself on the ear or the body.” By contrast, with writing & literacy, knowledge can be governed by the laws of space and architecture (the eye versus the ear).
  • Writing helps one stand outside, freeze, dissect & analyze thought. It’s like a bit using the slow motion “frame advance,” “zoom,” and other video features to analyze events caught on camera.
  • Language is a tool for thinking – the shapes language can take influence the shape thought can take. Thought is “inner language.”

Communication, Technology & the Shape of Knowledge

  • Ong (1982) argues that in non-literate cultures, the material properties of speech shape the way knowledge can be embodied. Ong states that the following issues are important:
  • Knowledge is Imprinted on the Ear. When composing, transmitting, and storing information, the form knowledge takes will be affected by its evanescence, by the fact that it circulates in the air via sound waves, and must be remembered by ear. The basic architecture is thus aural, and is governed by the laws of acoustics. Language must imprint itself on the ear or body since “you know what you recall.”
  • Knowledge is transmitted in forms that emphasize the materiality of language. As a result knowledge is embodied in ways that foreground the materiality of language. Rhyme, rhythm, repetition, prosody, the musicality of language, verse song, and narrative are important.

Communication, Technology & the Shape of Knowledge

  • 3. Knowledge is embodied in proverbs, formulas, stories, songs, etc. (forms of knowledge such as definitions, indexes, dictionaries, tables or databases are hard to store). Ideas tend to be personified, put in narrative/adventure formats. Ong cites the classicist Eric Havelock, who argues that the idea of 'Justice' is hard to express in Homer and Hesiod without personification, but in Plato and writers following Plato, Justice can describe be described as an abstract concept, in the format 'Justice is….‘
  • 4. Knowledge is: conservative/traditional, close to the human life-world, agonistically toned, empathetic rather than distanced, situated rather than abstract, homeostatic (knowledge changes and adapts, and there is no stable initial version against which to look for deviations) 5. Knowledge is made from language that is generally paratactic, or additive (paratactic structures, or passages of discourse held together in a chain-like format are easier to remember than structures which consist of complex coordination, subordination, etc.) redundant, heavily sequential or 'analogue' and not 'malleable'.

OVERVIEW

  • ORAL SOCIETY LITERATE SOCIETY
  • Dominated by Acoustics/the Ear Architectural/the Eye
  • Rhythmic Organized Spatially
  • Prosody (balance, alliteration etc.) Logic
  • Repetitive/Redundant Concise
  • Paratactic (chainlike, additive) Hypotactic (logic; subordination)
  • Formulaic Concise & original
  • Parables/sayings/proverbs Definitions, laws, principles
  • Epithets (the brave soldier, the sturdy oak, etc.) More concise
  • Mythical Definitions, laws, principles
  • Narrative Argument/Analysis
  • Song, Poetry, Tales, etc. for storing knowledge Prose used to Store Knowledge
  • Dramatic Analytic
  • Concrete & Situational Abstract
  • Conservative/Traditionalist Novelty/Originality valued
  • Society is “Homeostatic” Change Recorded; meanings accrete
  • Communication is participatory Communication individualized
  • How should we update the list for the ‘digital age”?
  • ORAL SOCIETY LITERATE SOCIETY
  • Dominated by Acoustics/the Ear Architectural/the Eye
  • Rhythmic Organized Spatially
  • Prosody (balance, alliteration etc.) Logic
  • Repetitive/Redundant Concise
  • Paratactic (chainlike, additive) Hypotactic (logic; subordination)
  • Formulaic Concise & original ……….
  • ETC

Havelock argues that orality shapes the 'grammar' of communication, and the orientation towards reality that comes with it. Such discourse is ‘infused with the living panorama of experience and it ceaseless flow' and displays a strongly Heraclitean idiom. Orality embodies ‘Becoming as a form of syntax’.

  • Havelock argues that orality shapes the 'grammar' of communication, and the orientation towards reality that comes with it. Such discourse is ‘infused with the living panorama of experience and it ceaseless flow' and displays a strongly Heraclitean idiom. Orality embodies ‘Becoming as a form of syntax’.
  • ■ Havelock writes that with such discourse, verbs connecting subjects and objects express dynamic ‘goings on’ rather than timeless states. Havelock traces how literacy leads to changes in this predicative structure, in the way the copula is used, in the use of abstract nouns and the organization of discourse into discrete topics, and how this fosters an ontology of 'things'. He describes how verbs connecting subjects and objects 'can be ones that indicate not actions or situations which take place in time, but relationships connected by a timeless logic'. p 132
  • ■ He adds that 'in the language of philosophy, "being" (as a form of syntax) began to replace "becoming" '. These changes allow objects and subjects to become constituted as stable, enduring categories anchored via the copula in a timeless present and functioning within a stabilized field of meaning.
  • The mode of information shapes the grammar of communication

Writing Enables The Following:

  • 1. Syntactic and Semantic Complexity/Density 2. Heavily Nested, Hierarchized sentences with multiple branches, sub-clauses, and logical connections 3. Complex forms of Conditionality and Logical Relationship Consider the following, & imagine composing it in your head:
  • IF a is the case, AND b, c & d,
  • BUT NOT e, f, or g,
  • WHILE h, i j, pertains, UNTIL EITHER k or l;
  • THEN m and p apply,
  • UP TO AND INCLUDING dates 1-10, BUT NOT LIMITED to 15-20, UNLESS parties q, r and s execute option t;
  • ELSE execute option X, IN WHICH CASE rinse and repeat until blood spurts from your eyes and your brain pulsates wildly.

Writing Enables The Following:

  • 4. Complex expressions of Qualification, Causality, Nuance and Discrimination
  • SENTENCES LIKE THIS ARE VERY HARD TO COMPOSE
  • WITHOUT WRITING:
  • "The move from a structuralist account in which capital is understood to structure social relations in relatively homologous ways to a view of hegemony in which power relations are subject to repetition, convergence, and rearticulation brought the question of temporality into the thinking of structure, and marked a shift from a form of Althusserian theory that takes structural totalities as theoretical objects to one in which the insights into the contingent possibility of structure inaugurate a renewed conception of hegemony as bound up with the contingent sites and strategies of the rearticulation of power." Judith Butler

Hypotactic Language:

  • A Tort is …
  • …one or more of the following
  • battery
  • or
  • false imprisonment
  • or
  • malicious prosecution
  • or
  • defamation…
  • …and either or both
  • malicious intent
  • and/or
  • negligence…
  • …and
  • causal nexus…
  • …and either or both
  • consent
  • or
  • reasonable risk
  • or
  • breach of contract…

OR, for a real mental hernia, try reading Hegel:

  • “Reason, as it immediately appears in the form of conscious certainty of being all reality, takes its reality in the sense of immediacy of being, and also takes the unity of ego with this objective existence in the sense of an immediate unity, a unity in which it (reason) has not yet separated and then again united the moment of being and ego, or, in other words, a unity which reason has not yet come to understand. It, therefore, when appearing as conscious observation, turns to things with the idea that it is really taking them as sensuous things opposed to the ego. But its actual procedure contradicts this idea, for it knows things, it transforms their sensuous character into conceptions, i.e. just into a kind of being which at the same time is ego; it transforms thought into an existent thought, or being into a thought-constituted being, and, in fact, asserts that things have truth merely as conceptions. In this process, it is only what the things are that consciousness in observation becomes aware of; we, however [who are tracing the nature of this experience], become aware of what conscious observation itself is. The outcome of its process, however, will be that this consciousness becomes aware of being for itself what it is in itself [i.e. becomes aware of being to itself what, in the meantime, it is to us].” Hegel, The Phenomenology of Mind.

5. Where orally composed texts tend to be “paratactic” (chain-like – consider the SoCal use of the term “like” to glue clauses together), literate texts are more likely to be “paratactic.” VERSION 1: In the beginning God created the heaven and earth. And the earth was void and empty, and darkness was upon the face of the deep, and the spirit of God moved over the waters. And God said: Be light made. And light was made. And God saw the light that it was good; and he divided the light from the darkness. And he called the light Day, and the darkness Night; and there was evening and morning one day. VERSION 2: In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless wasteland, and darkness covered the abyss, while a mighty wind swept over the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw how good the light was. God then separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day” and the darkness he called “night.” Thus evening came, and morning followed – the first day.

  • 5. Where orally composed texts tend to be “paratactic” (chain-like – consider the SoCal use of the term “like” to glue clauses together), literate texts are more likely to be “paratactic.” VERSION 1: In the beginning God created the heaven and earth. And the earth was void and empty, and darkness was upon the face of the deep, and the spirit of God moved over the waters. And God said: Be light made. And light was made. And God saw the light that it was good; and he divided the light from the darkness. And he called the light Day, and the darkness Night; and there was evening and morning one day. VERSION 2: In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless wasteland, and darkness covered the abyss, while a mighty wind swept over the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw how good the light was. God then separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day” and the darkness he called “night.” Thus evening came, and morning followed – the first day.

Language of health insurance policies – and politics of “plain language” movement.

  • “The plan covering the patient as a dependent child of a person whose date of birth occurs earlier in the calendar year shall be primary over the plan covering the patient as a dependent of a person whose date of birth occurs later in the calendar year provided. However, in the case of a dependent child of legally separated or divorced parents, the plan covering the patient as a dependent of the parent with legal custody, or as a dependent of the custodial parents spouse shall be primary over the plan covering the patient as a dependent of the parent without legal custody.”
  • According to the Flesch-Kincaid measure of readability, this passage is written at graduate-school level. It’s also highly hypotactic, consisting of 2 long, deeply subordinated sentences.

Revised for 8th grade readability (paratactic not hypotactic – written more like spoken conversation)

  • What happens if my spouse and I both have health coverage for our child? The parent whose birthday is earlier in the year pays the claim first. For example: Your birthday is in March; your spouse’s birthday is in May. March comes earlier in the year than May, so your policy will pay for your child’s claim first.
  • What happens if I am separated or divorced? If your child is covered by your policy and also by the policy of your separated or divorced spouse, the policy of the parent with legal custody pays first – i.e. if you have legal custody, your plan pays first. The same rule applies even if your child is covered by a health insurance policy of a stepparent. For example: Your former spouse has legal custody, and his/her new spouse’s policy covers your child. The new spouse’s policy will pay your child’s claim first.

Writing as Model & Metaphor for Knowledge: A “Visual Bias” in Western Philosophy?

  • Plato: True knowledge is “seeing that which is well ordered and ever unchangeable”
  • Aristotle: “Of all the senses, trust only the sense of sight”; Vision is “the most noble sense”
  • Descartes: "We shall learn how to employ our mental intuition by comparing it with the way that we employ our eyes…when the mind understands, it in some way turns towards itself and inspects one of the ideas which are within it.” Descartes represents knowledge as a purified internal vision situated in the mind that stands in contrast to an impure, external vision that operates through the body.
  • Dewey: In Western philosophy “the theory of knowing is modeled after what was supposed to take place in the act of vision”.
  • Arendt: ‘From the very outset, in formal philosophy, thinking has been thought of in terms of seeing.
  • Rorty “The ocular metaphor seized the imagination of the founders of Western thought” and “the Eye of the mind [is] the inescapable model for the better sort of knowledge.”
  • Derrida: “Starting with its first words, metaphysics associates sight with knowledge.”
  • Jay “Vision is the master trope of the modern era”.

HOW DO WRITING SYSTEMS SHAPE UNDERSTANDINGS OF LANGUAGE?

  • David Olson (The World on Paper, p. 68) “Writing systems provide the concepts and categories for thinking about the structure of spoken language rather than the reverse…We introspect on language and mind in terms of the categories prescribed by our writing systems.” A rather counterintuitive, radical idea!!
  • Non-literates do not come up with categories like “sentence,” “phoneme,” etc.
  • Studies on phonological awareness of speakers who are not readers show that familiarity with an alphabetic writing system is critical to one’s awareness of the segmental structure of language. Children think there are more sounds in the word “pitch” than in the word “rich” (yet phonologists tell us they are equivalent. (Olson 85)
  • Studies on non-literates in rural U.S. show they lack metalinguistic awareness
  • Read, Zhang, Nie and Ding study shows Chinese readers of traditional character scripts could not detect phonemic segments whereas those who read Pinyin, an alphabetic script representing the same language, could do so.
  • Olson argues that every script has “blindspots” in the vision of language it suggests to us.

The Computer as Metaphor & Model

  • ■ Society as Network?
  • ■ Language as Network?
  • ■ Cognitive Accounts of mind and language the influence of communication
  • technologies revisited?
  • Example: Chomskyan linguistic embodies many of the fundamental characteristics of the
  • traditional,rule-governed Von Neuman model of computing - binarity, recursion, iteration, sequentiality
  • and modularity Chomsky talks of the “rule-governed, algorithmic, digital character of syntax,” and
  • states that “the human mind/brain developed the faculty of language, a computational representational
  • system based on digital computation with recursive enumeration and many other specific properties.
  • The system appears to be surprisingly elegant, possibly observing conditions of nonredundancy,
  • globalleast effort conditions, and so on.”
  • Some claim this leads Chomsky to forget context, to imagine writing as autonomous (machine-like)
  • and to ignore such things as prosody, irregularity, variation, and the dialogic, interactive aspects of
  • communication (which aren’t so obvious in writing/computers). Chomsky has no place for metaphor,
  • figuration, etc.
  • Gardner: “in principle, it is possible to be a cognitive scientist without loving the computer; but in
  • practice, skepticism about computers usually leads to skepticism about cognitive science.”

Speech, Writing & Punctuation: Rhetorical & Grammatical Punctuation

  • Before the 17th century, writing was predominantly a means of recording formal transactions or enabling readers to re-present speech at a future time. By the 18th and 19th centuries, writing achieved greater independence from the spoken word. However, in the second half of the 20th century, writing was increasingly redefined as a mirror of informal discourse…the history of punctuation in the English-speaking world offers tangible evidence for the evolving interplay between speech and writing…” Baron, ‘Commas and canaries: the role of punctuation in speech and writing’.
  • Punctuation as a system for marking written texts originated in the rhetorical traditions of Greece and Rome. The goal of punctuation was mainly to aid the reader in 1) dividing up text for subsequent oral delivery, but also 2) to help clarify meaning.
  • This second function became dominant in the later grammatical tradition, which also sought to clarify meaning but this time specifically through attention to syntactic structure.

Rhetorical & Grammatical Punctuation

  • “The first tradition ("rhetorical") sees the role of punctuation to be assisting the reader in re-creating an oral rendition of the text (either by reading aloud or using the text for memorization). The second tradition (alternatively called "grammatical", "syntactic", or "logical") views punctuation as a set of conventions for marking grammatical relationships in a text that is intended to be viewed as a written document.” Baron.
  • Rhetorical Punctuation is akin to Musical Notation
  • comma: a point placed after the middle of the last letter in a short phrase to indicate one should give a short pause in reading the section aloud,
  • colon: a point placed after the bottom of the last letter in a long phrase to indicate a longer pause, and
  • periodus: a point placed after the top of the last letter in an even longer phrase to indicate an even longer pause.

Updating Ong: “What habits of thought do new writing technologies encourage?”

  • Christine Haas’ Writing Technology: Studies in the Materiality of Literacy
  • takes some of the insights of people like Ong, Havelock, etc. and
  • translates them to the information age.
  • Haas studies the reading, writing and thinking practices of experienced and novice writers in a variety of academic disciplines. Haas examines “how computer technologies impact on the cognitive processes of individual writers,” (51) and argues that her research presents “clear evidence of how the material tools of writing significantly and consistently alter the mental processes of text production.” (73) Haas concludes that “through their physical interactions with the materials tools and texts of literacy, writers’ thinking is shaped by culturally made technologies.” (113)
  • Haas uses a combination of research tools, from think aloud protocols to interviews to computer logs of the activities carried out by subjects.

Updating Ong: “What habits of thought do new writing technologies encourage?”

  • Haas found that spatial memory works differently in print versus electronic text. Computers often provide fewer spatial cues (visual, tactile, kinesthetic). This impacts the way readers recall the location of textual elements, the retrieval of information (including the speed of retrieval) and the way people “read to revise.” The writer’s experience, along with factors such as screen size, resolution, legibility, tangibility and responsiveness are also important.
  • Planning is shaped by the materiality of the writing/reading technology. When computers are used, planning changes. Better writers plan more. They do more macro and micro level planning (this may be one of the main writing activities in which discovery takes place.) Experienced writes produce complex, condensed planning notes with lots of graphical content – arrows, boxes, lines, etc. Early research on computer use predicted that planning would increase with the use of word processing as writers were freed from worrying about things like recopying, handwriting, checking spelling, etc. Instead, recent research shows that surface level issues seem to take far greater precedence. Planning is harder on a computer (at least with traditional writing software) since it is often diagrammatic and nonlinear. Writers start writing sooner when using a computer. Less planning translates into text sense problems. Regardless of experience or discipline, the more word processing software is used, the less writers plan. The type of computer and software influences the level and types of planning done, and this influences other aspects of how writers organize, understand and recall text.

Updating Ong: “What habits of thought do new writing technologies encourage?”

  • Use of a computer appears to influence note taking during writing. Writers using a word processor just made content notes, whereas those using pen and paper made content, structure, emphasis and procedural notes.
  • Text sense is influence by writing modality. The mental representation of the structure and meaning of text is influenced. Writing by hand requires that you recopy changes, and this likely fixes parts of text more firmly in spatial memory – it serves a “rehearsal function.” Scrolling text doesn’t have a constant physical configuration. The better recall of structure and content found in handwritten text may be tied to text sense and planning procedures. Different physical interactions and bodily experience may set up different relationships between tools and mental processes.
  • LINKS BETWEEN ORALITY & NEW MEDIA?
  • "The characteristics of electric rhetoric are the following: Additive rather than subordinative . . . . Aggregative rather than analytic . . . . Redundant or copious . . . . Conservative or traditionalist . . . . Close to the human life world . . . . Agonistically toned . . . . Empathetic and participatory rather than objectively distanced . . . . Homeostatic . . . . Situational rather than abstract." Kathleen E. Welch, Electric Rhetoric: Classical Rhetoric, Oralism, and a New Literacy, Digital Communication (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1999), 184-87.
  • LINKS BETWEEN NEW MEDIA, THEORY, AND RHETORIC?
  • Language is considered “a mode of action” in non-literate world. Corollary to this is that rhetoric’s fortunes have tended to wane in world of print, as language is understood as ancillary, as mere reflection of thought – as transcription, as mirror. Ong talks about “secondary orality,” which is our current condition.
  • Ong et al like to talk about speech and writing as opposites. But it’s more of a spectrum, with all kinds of hybrids today. Some would argue that the current moment is more conducive to rhetorical understanding.
  • Ong discusses our tendency to reduce all sensations and experience to visual analogies. AND this is part of mind set in which language is reduced in importance. Vision is the idea. Immediacy, presence, no mediation. CONSIDER ALTERNATIVE bodily metaphors – eating, etc. COMPUTERS also – shift in metaphors.
  • WORDS AS THINGS -> language as action, performance, house of being.
  • SOME argue that current age, with dynamic, interpenetrative language forms, plus globalism, etc. gives rise to new mode of information – it is part of the shift from modern to post-modern sensibility.

Sumerian writing ~ 4000 BC

The first written scripts are pictographic

  • Sumerian writing begins with pictograms – images that resemble the object they depict. Rather like these common signs:

3000 -> 2500 B.C. Shift from pictograms to cuneiform

  • The name cuneiform = from Latin word cuneus ‘wedge’ to reflect the fact that the graphs in the cuneiform writing systems are combinations of wedges.
  • The Sumerians wrote on clay with a stylus cut from a reed to give it a triangular tip.
  • The resulting stylization made the logograms much less iconic
  • What are the limitations of such a writing system?
  • How might we get around some of these limitations?
  • “Semantic composites” (head + bread = “eat”)
  • Metaphor and metonymy (symbol for star = heavens)

The Rebus

  • Using the existing symbols, such as pictograms, purely for their sounds regardless of their meaning, to represent new words. Many ancient writing systems used Rebus principle to represent abstract words, which otherwise would be hard to be represented by pictograms.
  • Rebus = precursor to the development of the alphabet

“I Sea Ewe” = “I see you”

  • ■ VISUAL PUNS are also based on rebus-like game playing with images:
  • Lists are also important – as we will soon learn when reading about ways of organizing and sorting written texts. Listing all the words by similar sound, you can choose one sign to represent similar sounds – e.g “bad, ball, bam, bat, etc. could be represented by just one sign.
  • There is a movement from capturing the visual, to representing speech

SYLLABARIES

  • Japanese language uses two syllabaries together called kana, namely hiragana and katakana (developed around 700 AD).
  • The English language allows complex syllable structures, making it cumbersome to write English words with a syllabary. A "pure" syllabary would require a separate glyph for every syllable in English. Thus one would need separate symbols for "bag," "beg," "big," "bog," "bug" ; "bad," "bed," "bid," "bod," "bud," etc.

Questions of Classification

  • What are the 3 kinds of list Goody talks about, and what are they designed to do?
  • Why is Goody so interested in lists, and why does he think they are important?
  • What is in a list – what are the main influences of list writing, according to Goody?
  • According to Hobart & Schiffman, why is the alphabet revolutionary?
  • Why is “narrative the enemy of classification”?
  • What is the point of their discussion of Hesiod and his genealogies?
  • How is Plato an “intermediate” figure – prefiguring literacy yet still showing many elements of “orality”?
  • How do Plato and Aristotle use writing to classify the world?


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