Big Don appears to be intent on showing TradWorld exactly how barbarously uncouth he is.
In the August 2016 pesthouse newsletter, he gave us a revolting example of his extreme boorishness with his lowbrow pan of Wagnerian music drama (click here and read the EPILOGUE at the end). In the just released June 2017 issue, he's back at it again, only this time babbling malarkey about scholarly language. On page 2, you'll find this astonishing display of anti-intellectualism (we've highlighted the lines we'll discuss):
The second path to reconciliation with the Modernists is to adopt yet another of Ratzinger’s slogans: the hermeneutic of continuity. This term comes from Ratzinger’s 2005 speech to the Curia, in which he distinguished three possible interpretations of Vatican II and its reforms: (1) the hermeneutic of rupture; (2) the hermeneutic of continuity; and (3) the hermeneutic of reform.
The term “hermeneutic,” by the way, simply means “interpretation.” Modernists, and especially Ratzinger, commonly use long and obscure words, usually coming from Greek or Hebrew, to label ideas which could easily be expressed by more common words. To do so is a form of fallacy — faulty reasoning — since the purpose of it is to impress upon your listener the idea that you are deeply intelligent and extremely learned. The result is that you convince your listener not by the clarity of your arguments, but by impressing him so much that he feels ignorant and out-classed in comparison to your towering intellectual acumen. One of Ratzinger’s favorite words is the cosmos. Cosmos is merely the Greek word for the physical world. Why not just say, “the physical world?” Because it does not impress. Cosmos really impresses.
Hermeneutic and cosmos are not "obscure" to those women and men thoroughly trained in the humanities who read deeply. The two words may not belong to the average person's workaday vocabulary, but they are common to the undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate registers. (Why, even high-school physics teachers in the suburbs tell us their college-prep students are at home with cosmos and use it in their homework, thanks perhaps to PBS.)
Both words have a very specific denotation among the educated; moreover, they possess the added virtue of expressing in a lexeme a complex notion, thereby promoting economy of expression. We'll move on to that in a minute, but let's first get straight the not-so-simple meaning of hermeneutic, a word over which both the unilluminated Tradzilla and the lightless Erroneous Antonius obsess.
In its original sense, the noun hermeneutics means the science as well as the art of clarifying or interpreting normative texts, particularly Biblical texts, by way of commentary and explanation. Its adjective form is either hermeneutic or hermeneutical (= "pertaining to theories of interpretation"). Nowadays in the modern scholarly discipline of discourse analysis, hermeneutics is used metaphorically: Each of the manifold paradigms of clarification human beings invoke may be called a hermeneutic, the adjective now become a noun, meaning a "conceptual framework for interpreting information" or, more succinctly, an "interpretive framework."
As we all have experienced, mankind attempts to understand the phenomena of life from divergent points of view. In other words, we have multiple approaches to formally making meaning out of the same set of data. In a Christian hermeneutic, we might interpret God's and Man's activity in history through the lens of the Incarnation. A sede hermeneutic interprets ecclesiology through the filter of a vacant See of Peter. The Readers at Pistrina Liturgica interpret everything the cult masters do and say through a hermeneutic of suspicion, which the literary theorist Rita Felski described as "a technique of reading texts against the grain and between the lines, of cataloguing their omissions and laying bare their contradictions, of rubbing in what they fail to know and cannot represent."
Thus hermeneutic, as Ratzinger employed it, is a very handy term to have. At a minimum, it saves a careful writer one to four words, but in practice many more. Big Don and Checkie, embittered at their terminal malformation, pillory a highly educated man for speaking in the specialist language of the intelligentsia, to which they don't and can't belong. B16 has been, after all, a professor at the universities of Bonn and Tübingen as well as at other notable German institutions of higher learning. The dim cult masters haven't even taught at a small-town community college.
Bennie wasn't trying to impress or bamboozle anyone in his sophisticated, curial audience. Well educated themselves, they already knew the term hermeneutic: it's meaning is clear to anyone who's had the right training or read extensively. In addition, Ratzi had nothing to prove: everybody acknolwdges his sterling academic credentials, even if some abhor his theology. Tradzilla and Cheesy just can't get over the galling truth that their boogieman is vastly superior to them intellectually and culturally. To their murky noggins, an opponent's high-status vocabulary is a taunt, painfully calling attention to the lexical bar that prevents them from ever advancing beyond the sub-amateur level.
The lumpen Donster's comment about cosmos exposes the alarming depth of his ignorance. The word does not mean "merely ... the physical world." That's sheer bunkum. It means "the world or universe as perfectly arranged and ordered" (Runes' Dictionary of Philosophy). Or as one vocabulary list for college-bound high schoolers preparing for the SAT defines it, "the world or universe considered as a system, perfect in order and arrangement."*
Had the rector troubled himself to consult the easy-to-use Liddell-Scott Intermediate Greek Lexicon (the complete edition may be too difficult for him), he would've learned κόσμος ("cosmos") means "order; ornament, decoration, embellishment; the world or universe, from its perfect order." In Plutarch's opinion, the last signification stretches back to the Pythagoreans, and it's certainly present in Plato (e.g., Socrates to Calllicles in Jowett's translation of the dialogue Gorgias [508a]: "... this universe is therefore called Cosmos or order..."). According to Pierre Chantraine's Dictionnaire Étymologique de la Langue Greque, the word's original sense expresses the notion of "ordre, mise en ordre" (order, ordering/arrangement). Don's observation, then, is naught but humbug.
Consequently, any schoolgirl or -boy recognizes that Tradzilla's crudely reductionist definition "physical world" is not only grossly overly simplistic but also impiously misleading. It erases an important nuance attached to cosmos since the early days of Western thought, a truth that lies at the heart of one of the Scholastic proofs for the existence of God: The beauty and order of existent things implies a Master Designer directing all things to their natural end.
You know what really doesn't impress?
It's Big Don's unfamiliarity with academic language and his crass simple mindedness, that's what doesn't impress. All his poppycock suggests very convincingly that he is not conversant in the basic language of philosophy, that he's a stranger to the fundamental underpinnings of the West's intellectual and spiritual heritage.
But we haven't yet sounded the full depth of his confused ignorance. Tradzilla unloads another crock of ... of... of ... horsefeathers when he charges that using "long and obscure words, usually coming from Greek or Hebrew, to label ideas which could easily be expressed by more common words ... is a form of fallacy — faulty reasoning ...."
As anybody with a solid university education will tell you, the affected use of so-called inkhorn terms is a rhetorical abuse, known by the Greek term cacozelia, "unhappy imitation." It is absolutely not a logical fallacy, as Big Don nonsensically affirms. A writer can be guilty of pedantry yet still reason correctly. However, in B16's case, hermeneutic and cosmos were the most writerly terms available, and hence the apropos choice. It's not his fault that trad "clergy" are so undereducated.
Contained in both hermeneutic and cosmos is an enormous amount of information, which couldn't otherwise be expressed except through wordy circumlocutions. Additionally, as terms of art, the two words are discipline-specific: not to employ them would diminish communicative effectiveness. For instance, allthough "interpretive framework" may be a satisfactory working definition of hermeneutic, it cannot be replaced in academic writing and speech without a loss of precision. Thus, had the old heresiarch not uttered hermeneutic, he would have been guilty of acyrologia (Gk. "incorrect phraseology"), inexact or improper use of language.
M E M O to Big Don: The technical vocabulary of academia is made up of many, many words borrowed from the Greek language — just as in Catholic theology. One of your and Tony Baloney's favorite words, epikeia, comes from the Greek ἐπιείκεια.
You two meatballs must realize the word's simple dictionary definitions, viz., "reasonableness, equity, fairness, gentleness," wouldn't convey the same meaning as the learnèd form based on the Greek (in any of its conventional English spellings).Were the Donster but your run-of-the-mill Flushing-Rat vulgarian on Facebook or Twitter, savaging his legions of betters and loathing all "innaleckshuls" on account of their privileged formation, we'd let him vent his spleen in foggy solitude without making public his fatuity. However, the Tradistani propaganda machine portrays him as some kind of prodigy of learning, a Bellarmine redivivus, compared to whom the Novus Ordites and SSPXers are primitives. PL cannot allow that fiction to stand without protest. It's too dangerous to the unschooled faithful who might fall for all the rubbish littering his newsletter and website.
If you take away anything from today's post, let it be this: Tradzilla's more to be ridiculed than admired. Of whatever he writes, you must always be suspicious. If he ventures afar from his absurd hobbyhorses, to wit, screwball sede-ism, the imaginary una-cum prohibition, loopy dress codes for his cultlings, aggressive attachment to your money, the dead-end boys' club he calls the "Roman Catholic Institute" (about which he's been pregnantly silent since its announcement), ignore him. He's really not prepared to discuss anything other than twaddle.
Face it, folks.
The Donster's a philistine, pure and simple. Last year he revealed himself as the enemy of serious musical culture, and this year he's taken up arms against the language of the life of the mind. It's time Traddielandia said goodbye to this loutish, darkling embarrassment. You can bring down the Donster's Temple of Nonsense very simply —
● The universality of the meaning can be seen from the following definitions taken from a popular sources:
● Shorter Oxford English Dictionary: "The universe as an ordered whole."
● American Heritage Dictionary of Science: "Astronomy. The universe, especially as an orderly, harmonious system."
● Compact Edition of the OED (1971): "The world or universe as an ordered and harmonious system."
● Webster's 3rd New International Dictionary Unabridged: "The universe conceived as an orderly and harmonious system — contrasted with chaos."
● Oxford American Dictionary: "The universe seen as a well ordered whole."
● American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: "The universe regarded as an orderly, harmonious whole."
● Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology: "The universe as an ordered system."
● Astrophysicist and religious skeptic Carl Sagan: "Cosmos is a Greek word for the order of the universe. It is, in a way, the opposite of Chaos. It implies the deep interconnectedness of all things. It conveys awe for the intricate and subtle way in which the universe is put together.”
You get the picture, don't you? Big Don doesn't know what he's talking about.