Text Publication as Knowledge Representation and the Potential for New Perspectives on the Long Scholastic Tradition

Jeffrey C. Witt (Loyola University Maryland)
https://jeffreycwitt.com | jcwitt@loyola.edu

A Disregarded Past, 19 March 2021, University of Geneva, Switzerland

Slide Deck: http://jeffreycwitt.com/slides/2021-03-19-text-publication-knowledge-representation


Marshall McLuhan "In a culture like ours, long accustomed to splitting and dividing all things as a means of control, it is sometimes a bit of a shock to be reminded that, in operational and practical fact, **the medium is the message**. This is merely to say that the personal and social consequences of any medium-that is, of any extension of ourselves-result from the **new scale** that is introduced into our affairs by each extension of ourselves, or by any new technology." (The Medium is the Message, c. 1, p. 7)
Heribert Prantl "Vergangenheit ist eine kulturelle Schöpfung – eine kulturelle Schöpfung der Gegenwart für die Zukunft. Der Raum für diesen Schöpfungsakt sind Bibliotheken und Archive – und zu den Hauptpersonen dieses Schöpfungsakts gehören die Archivare und Bibliothekare. Ihr Schöpfungsakt ist ein politischer Akt, weil er auswählt, weil er darüber urteilt, was zukunftsbedeutsam ist und was nicht." (Prantl, Heribert, Der diskrete Charme der Bibliotheken -- Festvortrag zum 200. Gründungsjubliäum der Staatlichen Bibliothek Regensburg am 13. Juli 2016: In: Zeitschrift für Bibliothekswesen und Bibliographie 64.4 (2016). S. 222-227, p. 226)
Taking McLuhan seriously means: The textual scholar can no longer be satisfied with seeing their work appear on a printed page, while being indifferent to how it got there. Textual scholarship must remain concerned and involved with how its knowledge is "represented" prior to and independent of any specific presentation.
Let's imagine the research story of a non-Reformation scholar pursuing questions that lead them to Reformation sources. * What kind of impression of the Reformation (and its relationship to the Middle Ages) might one encounter by following the traditional pathways that are allowed and disallowed by the dominant medium? * What new impressions of Scholasticism and the Reformation might result from the unprecedented forms of access and connection that become available through a focus on "text-data publication" (as an expected field practice) rather than "text presentation".
"God is love" (I John 4:16) What are the research pathways open to the researcher at this point?
* Start looking for all articles on the topic and scour the footnotes for important primary sources. * Or think of people you *already* believe to be important in the Christian tradition. * Then request the volumes containing the works of these authors in order to scour the printed indices. * Look up and hope that an entry for I John 4:8 or I John 4:16 will be found there. * Go find the referenced passage (often in a completely different printed book).
Moeller, for example, in his 2000, *Geschichte des Christentums in Grundzügen* writes: "Als erstes wurde Luther die Problematik der scholastischen Theologie bewußt. Er gewann die Überzeugung, sie und die in sie eingegangene Philosophie des Aristoteles seien für die Verkehrung des Gottes- und damit zugleiche des Menschenbildes in Christentum verantwortlich." (p. 229)
And a few lines later Moeller says: "Das ganze dichte und lastende Geflecht von Grundsätzen und Gedanken, das die Scholastik ausmachte und das in Jahrunderten[sic] entstanden war, wurde in Frage gestellt, und zwar nicht, wie in Humanismus, von außen her verachtet, sondern von innen her durchstoßen"
See: Risto Saarinen, “Ipsa Dilectio Deus Est: Zur Wirkungsgeschichte von 1. Sent. dist. 17 des Petrus Lombardus bei Martin Luther,” in Tuomo Mannermaa, Anja Ghiselli, and Simo Peura, eds., Thesaurus Lutheri: Auf der Such nach neuen Paradigmen der Luther-Forschung (Helsinki: LutherAgricola, 1987), 185-204 Or Anderas, Phillip L., "RENOVATIO: Martin Luther's Augustinian Theology of Holiness (1515/16 and 1535-46)" (2015), esp p. 94, fn280
This means first and foremost: recognizing that the "text" appearing on a printed page, in a PDF, or on website is only one of many presentations of data and is **NOT** the appropriate place for the long term "representation" of this knowledge.
Instead of making links by creating a "presentation of a link" to "presentation of a text", we should be creating the "idea of a reference" that targets "the idea of a text unit", both of which can de-referenced independent of any presentation.
This what Ted Nelson called Xanalogical Storage more than 50 years ago. "The Xanadu system is a unique form of storage for text and other computer data. The system is based upon **one pool of storage**, which can be shared and simultaneously organized in many different ways. This makes it possible easily to *make new things out of old*, sharing material between units. Described simply: all materials are in a **shared pool of units**, but every element has a unit in which it originated; new units can be built from material in previous units, in addition to a new material; there can be arbitrary links between arbitrary sections. We call this "xanalogical storage..." Nelson, Theodor Holm. “Hyperworld, Chapter 0.” In Literary Machines. Sausalito, CA: Mindful Press, 2001, pp. 0/5 - 0/6
Two benefits among many: 1. Speed of Access 2. Bidirectional References
Questions? jcwitt@loyola.edu | @jeffreycwitt --- Learn more: * The Scholastic Commentaries and Texts Archive (SCTA) Home Page: [https://scta.info](http://scta.info) * SCTA community page: [https://community.scta.info](https://community.scta.info/) * Various Posts and Related Articles: [https://jeffreycwitt.com/posts](https://jeffreycwitt.com/posts) * SCTA Reading Room: [https://scta.lombardpress.org](https://scta.lombardpress.org) * Some good "in-progress" demo pages to visit. * Peter Lombard [http://scta.info/resource/pl-l1d1c1](https://scta.lombardpress.org/#/res?resourceid=http://scta.info/resource/pl-l1d1c1) * Peter Plaoul [http://scta.info/resource/lectio1](https://scta.lombardpress.org/#/res?resourceid=http://scta.info/resource/lectio1) * Youtube channel with in-progess demos [https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBDRlxtGlBryslbPqG4Zz3w](https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBDRlxtGlBryslbPqG4Zz3w)