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A poignant week or so in DoubleQuotes

[ by Charles Cameron — fictitious peoples (Israelis, Palestinians), approved and disapproved scriptures (Hindu, Falun Gong), religious violence (Afghanistan, Nigeria, Bethlehem) ]

So, is there some sort of contest going on between Iranian and American ex-Speakers? Perhaps Elliott Abrams‘s response to Gingrich, quoted in the Washington Post piece, applies equally well to Haddad-Adel?

There was no Jordan or Syria or Iraq, either, so perhaps he would say they are all invented people as well and also have no right to statehood.

Next up…

And okay, what’s the point here? Is it that the Russians want to please both the Chinese and Indian governments — or that they don’t like new scriptures but are okay with old ones? Or is the problem that they haven’t decided yet on a “one size fits all” approach to unOrthodox religions?

Sigh. Next…

This is brutal — and apparently intercontinental.

You might think it’s obvious what the wrong answer is, and who’s doing the killing, in Nigeria. But these things can cut both ways:

Even here, it’s not clear who threw the bomb into the madrasa, although one could hazard a guess…

And even the site of the Nativity is infected. The Guardian’s account of events there this Christmas season is harsh in tone — but consider whose Nativity is supposedly being celebrated…

I’d say the Qur’an offers a better image of Christian monks than that experienced by those Palestinian riot police… who, in the event, although they themselves were also assailed with broom-sticks, declined to arrest anyone because, as Palestinian police lieutenant-colonel Khaled al-Tamimi put it:

Everything is all right and things have returned to normal. No one was arrested because all those involved were men of God.

Still, things could be worse. It was a squabble along similar lines in which nine several Orthodox monks were killed that triggered the Crimean War: details in Raymond Cohen, Conflict and Neglect: Between Ruin and Preservation at the Church of the Nativity — h/t Juan Cole, who also has video of this year’s brouhaha.


Et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis.

5 Responses to “A poignant week or so in DoubleQuotes”

  1. Cheryl Rofer Says:

    Yeah, that really is “peace to men of good will,” isn’t it!
    I’ve been contemplating the two English versions this holiday season, didn’t have the Latin readily available. It’s something you could put in one of your pairs, Charles.
    And, on earth, peace to men of good will.
    And, on earth, peace, good will to men.
    Uncharacteristically, I will allow that “men” might apply to all humankind. Not the argument I want to make today.
    The first version is what we’re hearing too much of lately: peace to those I define as being worthy of peace. That’s going a step further than the words themselves, but not a big step. If we’re going to have peace, that’s not the way we’re going to do it.
    The second is how it has to happen. Some local cars carry the bumpersticker “God bless the whole world. No exceptions.” A minister friend of mine said, “I thought that was how it was supposed to be.”
    Although that little bit of hope is still stuck in Pandora’s box: I’m not recalling voluntatis as being genitive, although its modifier, bonae, is. Is your Latin better than mine, Charles?

  2. Larry Dunbar Says:

    “And, on earth, peace to men of good will.”

    “And, on earth, peace, good will to men.”

    On the other hand, if you look at the way both are structured, we need both if we want “No exceptions”.

    In the statement: “And, on earth, peace, good will to men” the structure is on a horizontal timeline, generationally.

    “Men” are mortal so peace and good will has to be structured generationally for this to be a “true” statement. 

    “And, on earth, peace to men of good will” is structured vertically as amplitude to the horizontal structure of the first statement: “And, on earth, peace, good will to men”. 

    Both statements together build a mass of energy that, when distributed, power is released, or the statements taken together is power in itself.  

    The mass is structured as an atom, with “men of good will” at the center and “good will” as the electron “circling” the nucleus of men of good will.  

    Of course “good will” is not really circling the nucleus, but the harmonic balance of how good will fits around men of “good will” (producing “peace on earth”) makes it seem like good will is circling, when in fact the result of both the electron and the nucleus create the structure so called “peace on earth”. 

    “Men”, all men, need good will to bring peace to themselves and on earth. “Good will”, then, just needs to be defined by discovering the rule-sets in the environment of both statements, and acting on the good will of all men (and women). Just a thought.

  3. Charles Cameron Says:

    Hi Cheryl:

    I’ve been contemplating the two English versions this holiday season, didn’t have the Latin readily available. … I’m not recalling voluntatis as being genitive, although its modifier, bonae, is. Is your Latin better than mine, Charles?

    Certainly not! ; )
    I’ve been prepping a long-ish response, because this sort of question fascinates and delights me, but will append it as a .pdf when I’m through with it.
    The short answer is that for starters, the Latin phrase presumably originates in the Vetus Latina text of Luke 2.14 and is then found in the Vulgate, and derivatively in the “Gloria” of the Latin Mass, so we have at least two languages to consider, Latin and Greek — always assuming we don’t want to try to backtrack to an original Aramaic version.
    Of these two, the Greek would be primary on the face of it, and it has two alternative readings, eirene ev anthropois eudokias and eirene ev anthropois eudokia, with the preponderance of translators and commentators preferring the former reading, which gives us fairly literally “on earth peace among men of his favor”.
    Directly responding to your question of the two versions, the United Bible Societies’ Translator’s Handbook on the Gospel of Luke comments (p. 117):

    There is no reason to assume a contradiction between panta to lao ‘all the people’ in v.10 and en anthropois eudokias ‘among men of his favour’ as if the latter would impose a restriction upon the former: it only serves to express that the initiative in establishing peace on earth is not with men but with God.

  4. Charles Cameron Says:



    I don’t think your comment responds to the linguistic facts as I’ll be setting them forth in my upcoming longer response to Cheryl — but the speculation about horizontal and vertical readings (and what happens when we read them “synoptically” or “synchronically”) is very interesting.


    Do you happen to know Northrop Frye’s work on synchronic reading? 

  5. Larry Dunbar Says:

    Hi Charles, I think you are correct in stating my comment doesn’t respond to the linguistic facts you were looking for. I am thinking that I was really interested more in form than the content, you and Cheryl were more interested in content than form.

    Or perhaps it is more accurate to say that you were using form to highlight the content, and I was using, at least trying to use, content to highlight form.  I will be interested in reading your longer response to Cheryl, as content is something I lack in.

    I do not know Frye’s work on synchronic reading except what I just read on Wikipedia. “Frye uses the terms ‘centripetal’ and ‘centrifugal’ to describe his critical method.”

    Mostly what I see when I read the two sentences is math, and the math, to me, doesn’t flow outward or inward, and it is not so much the order of the words, but the direction of the force (content) of those words.

    I think his idea of centripetal is the correct one, but centripetal is a center-seeking force that is present when one force vector “turns” around another force vector that can be called a center of gravity. Another way to think of this is horizontal and vertical reading.

    I don’t think there is any centrifugal force involved here, but I am just thinking physics and not literature.

    The only way this math happens is if both forces are perpendicular to each other, and that is the structure I was looking at.

    I am thinking that one force being synoptically as a center of gravity and the other synchronically moving around the center in a moment-of-time to the center’s space. But then both forces are also perpendicular to each other as content over time.

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