Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Oh, to be in England

Following a link on Public Quaker's blog (via Quaker Ranter) takes you to the letters to the editor page of The Friend, an independent, weekly Quaker publication in Britian. (Subscription to the paper edition, for one year, sent to the US is at current exchange rate is $110US -- $2 a week; compare to $43/year to have the monthly Friends Journal sent to the UK.)

It's been said that England and America are two countries separated by a common language, and this letter proves the point. Plain speaking indeed.

Gobbledygook recognised. I see that The Friend now officially recognises Gobbledygook as a language for publication. The trouble is that Gobbledygookers can't understand each other, yet alone themselves. Take the first sentence of tthe fourth paragraph of 'The Gnostic Fox' (22 July). This has 76 words; we don't come to the nominative until words 29 and 30. There are at least four sub-clauses, two parenthetical phrases, a tautological '/' ('soteriological' means 'salvational') and two competing predicates. 26 words are in parenthesis in the only sentence of the 99-word first paragraph. Why could not the author simply have said something like 'Fox, like the old vilified Gnostics, held that there is a divine force in everyone which seeks re-unification with God'.

On another note, Walter Wink is hardly a 'modern author', but professor of biblical interpretation at Auburn Theological Seminary in New York City. If it was necessary to describe who Hans Jonas was, why not Wink?

It is a profound pity that the editor accepted such a badly written article, although the poor quality of this one was exceptional. But outreach is not well served by deliberate obscurity.

Frank Boulton 5 Meadowhead Road, Southampton SO16 7AD

But did you have something to say about the writer's argument? - Ed.

Perhaps Friend Boulton's letter is a bit of an outlier, even for Britian. See this response in The Friend's online comment to the letter:

Dear Editor,

I was appalled to read Frank Boulton's letter 'Gobbledygook recognised,' (the Friend, 29th July 2005). It was a pedantic and unnecessary public criticism, distasteful, and totally lacking in humility or restraint. Such a display of intellectual and educational pride is contrary to what I would like to believe Quakerism is all about.

Stuart Hartley

1 comment:

Jimmy Pryor said...


Thanks for the visit to Quaker Voices. I did not conduct the interview with Elise Boulding, I just point to it.

Jimmy Pryor