Expulsion, the Little Iliad and Occam’s Razor | At the library column
A few glorious, golden autumn days are certainly pleasant, but are also a harbinger of winter. As the French poet Charles Baudelaire wrote in 1869, “Nothing is so boring as the days of limping / When snowdrifts cover every road every year, / And boredom, the sour fruit of a curious obscurity, / Take control of the Immortal Loom of Fate. ” That’s unless you have an entertaining book handy, of course. The boredom that comes with waiting in construction traffic and endless queues can be avoided by keeping a paperback copy of Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, 1898 edition handy. Brewer’s inevitably provides an intellectual game, for one fact, one person or one strange event leads to others.
A recent reading led to a brief description of how John Fell, the Bishop of Oxford who was the university overlord and a bonkers flog, kicked out a student named Tom Brown for an unnamed offense, but Fell said he would ignore it if Brown could translate a Latin passage from the Roman poet Martial: “Non amo te, Sabide, nec possum dicere quare.” Hoc tantum possum dicere: non amo te. Brown, who has become a ‘low life’ satirist, replied, ‘I don’t like you, Dr Fell. The reason I can’t tell; But this I know and I know it very well: I do not love you, Doctor Fell. Further research revealed that the passages are the same, with the exception of Brown replacing “Dr. Fallen “for” Sabid. “Brown’s expulsion was lifted, but he never graduated.
Dr. Fell, a prodigy, did it. He entered Oxford University at age 11 in 1637 where he was accelerated, quickly earning his undergraduate and master’s degrees. He fought for Charles I during the British Civil War, which resulted in him being expelled from Oxford by Cromwell’s victors and the Church of England hating round heads after the king’s beheading. This radicalized Fell, and when Charles II took over the throne, “He was the most zealous man of his time for the Church of England, and none that I know of has surpassed him in carrying out the rules. which belong to him, “as Anthony Wood, a contemporary historian, put it. He also ran a strict ship at his university, getting rid of pesky Puritan scholars, tightening up administration, and making sure his finger was in every pie, especially the Oxford University Press, which he created.
Brewer’s is a big book and, when my finger slipped from the “F” section, I encountered “Iliad in a Nutshell”, which was a condensed version of Homer’s classic, but in terms of space, no ‘abbreviation. “Pliny tells us that Cicero claims that the whole Iliad was written on a piece of parchment which could be summed up in one word.” Brewer added that âCharles Toppan of New York carved 12,000 letters on a one-eighth-square-inch plate. The Iliad contains 501,930 letters, and would therefore occupy 42 of these plaques engraved on both sides. Huet has proven by experience that a parchment measuring 27 by 21 centimeters would contain the entire Iliad, and that such a parchment would fit in a nut of ordinary size; but Mr. Toppan’s engraving would reduce the entire Iliad to half that size.
Reading Brewer’s description of a person called “Occasion” (which the poet Spencer described in “Faerie Queene”, as “A famous old witch, quite bald behind. Sir Guyon grabbed her by the forelock and the ‘threw to the ground. She cursed and cursed anyway, until Sir Guyon gagged her with an iron lock; she then started to use her hands, but Sir Guyon tied them behind her. “) a leads to a very cryptic mention of “Occam’s Razor”: “Entia non sunt multiplicanda” (“entities must not be multiplied”). With this axiom, Occam dissected each question like a razor. It also inspired a quick research which showed that Occam actually spelled his name “Ockham”, the village he came from. Otherwise, little is known about Ockham man. He spoke Middle English but wrote in Latin, according to the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, which stated: âOckham was a major force for change in the late Middle Ages. He was a courageous man with a particularly sharp mind. His philosophy was radical in his day and continues to provide insight into current philosophical debates.
Hell, these philosophers love debates, but âThe principle of simplicity is the central theme of Ockham’s approachâ¦ Ockham uses the razor to eliminate unnecessary assumptions. It upset the Catholic Church, but what put Ockham, a Franciscan friar, in ecclesiastical hot water was being a âfideistâ who believed that belief in God is a matter of faith rather than of knowledge. He was summoned from his theological studies at Oxford to defend himself before the papal court in Avignon. Four years of house arrest in Avignon, a haven of debauchery and corruption, convince Ockham to join three other brothers who escaped by stealing horses and fleeing to the court of Louis IV of Bavaria, who hated him. current pope for his own reasons. Ockham was excommunicated, and although his philosophical work continued unabated, he never completed his studies. This is why Ockham had the nicknames “the Venerable Inceptor” (an inceptor is a student about to graduate) and “the Doctor More Than Subtle”.
since it was considered to have gone beyond the thought of Franciscan philosopher John Duns Scotus, whose fans called “the subtle doctor”.
Words at the top of the dictionary pages to indicate the first and last definition are called “keywords” or “guide words”. them, and I learned that besides being a “kind of mushroom”, it comes from “pulker-fist”, the Saxon word for “poisonous mushroom”, which has been corrupted into “pulk-fist”, then âpuck or pouk ballâ. On a neighboring page was a list of âPublic House Signsâ. “Pub” is a shortening of “public-house”, and many had colorful and mangled names. “The Goat in Golden Boots”, for example, is “A corruption from the Dutch” Goed in der Gouden Boots “(the god Mercury in his golden sandals), and” The Man Laden with Mischief “had a sign is painted by Hogarth who “represents a man carrying a woman and many other creatures on his back”.
The âDog and Duckâ announced that âthe so-called sport could be seen there. A duck was put in the water, and a dog began to chase it; the pleasure was to see the duck dive and the dog to follow it under the water. â The âGreeting and Catâ sign showed an angel greeting the Virgin Mary, and the âCatâ signified that one could play tipcat on it. The “cat” in question was a 4 inch long dowel tapered at both ends that was placed on the ground and hit at one end with a bat, a stick 2-3 feet long. This makes the “cat” come up and the batter tries to hit him. If the batter misses three times or another player catches the bat, his turn is over. Some versions involved running to bases on a large circle until an opposing player hit him with the stick.
And next to the section of public signs were the âNew Testament Publicansâ: the provincial minions of the Magister or master collector who resided in Rome. The taxes were cultivated by an entrepreneur called the Manceps; this Manceps divided his contract into different companies: each company had a Magister, under which were a number of underlings called PublicaÊ¹ni or servants of the State. It reminded me of the distinction between these guys and the public librarians, servants of the people and agree with Gustave Flaubert: âIsn’t not being bored one of the main goals of life?