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monsno_leedra
16 May 2016, 12:59
Not sure just where to put this topic so figure this is probably the safest place.


In another thread the poster, from a different site, spoke about how the publishing of books and such has been an innovation. How it has spread, or allowed for the spreading, of esoteric / occult knowledge to people who might otherwise not have been introduced to said material.


While I agree in some aspects it also got me to wondering.


1. Most historical academic material is written under the premise that the reader already has a certain degree of prior knowledge. Knowledge based upon both an understanding of the arguments and academic merit as well as the underlying material. So there is a presumption of prior knowledge and relevance to the subject material being discussed or presented. That and to a certain degree a presumption that the reader is aware of prevailing theories and aligns with at least one of them.


2. While many pagan / occult books are not written by academic level figures they still adhere to the conditions in statement 1 for the most part. I say non academic figures for while the author may have a degree, it seems seldom does the degree actually apply to the area of interest they are writing about. An idea is presented with the presumption that the reader has some level of prior or Prerequisite knowledge of the material being presented.


When such prerequisite knowledge is presumed to be missing then the citations and indexed references become even more critical to evaluating and understanding the argument being presented. Especially in the context that cited passages, words, paragraphs, etc frequently loose their written meaning when taken outside of the totality of the section or entire works.


Consider the line in the movie THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN where one of the key figures is being asked about having enemies. He responds that he has no enemies. After which Yul Brenner then asks him is that "No enemies alive or dead?" Where we find out all his enemies are dead as he has faced them all. So knowing the full context of the statement and placement changes the meaning of the initial line.


Whether it be a 101 book or an advanced level book the presumption is still to be found that the reader has some level of prerequisite knowledge. Along with a presumption that when some condition or ideal is discussed the reader would at least become familiar with the referenced material.


Sadly though I have to conclude that such additional research and reading tends not to happen to often if at all. Far to often I see postings that cold be answered before being asked if such references where researched.


Its an analogy for certain but I am reminded of the many test's I took while in the military to make rank. We got cheat sheets telling us which books to study, which sections to study, etc. Yet far to often people didn't make the connection that if it's in the referenced section then it becomes usable. So the citations, quotes, etc which referenced other works were overlooked though at times questions did come from them. Showing that critical analysis and complete reading was a requirement vice just reading what was written in the book in our hands as it where.


I grant at times such reference items or citations are difficult to obtain. Other times equally problematic in that they can be obtained but are in some other language, even to include old English which you may not be able to read. Thus your restricted to translations or extracts which may or may not be useful. Myself I try to read multiple translations to see how they might differ though admit that can be time consuming. Nor does that rule out the issue of presumption and assumption of word selection and meaning by the author. In that regard I tend to keep a dictionary near by and look up words for meanings, especially when used in a manner I am not familiar with.


But back to the idea which inspired this thread "Do you read the indexed or cited references?" The availability of knowledge has clearly taken great jumps in availability to the general public. Yet is the innovation of printing and publishing actually as much of an innovation as might be though? So much misinformation, misdirection and false conclusions and out and out deception is a by product. Especially in the context that many who read do not read critically nor have the prerequisite background knowledge for the available material they are reading about.


So to bring this long and probably drawn out posting to an end what do you think of both the idea of prerequisite knowledge being implied and the reader actually reading the cited or indexed references?

MaskedOne
16 May 2016, 13:19
Sometimes. It largely depends on whether particularly interested or particularly suspicious. If I'm interested then references are a good place to look for more. If I'm suspicious then I want to be sure that

A. The claimed reference exists.
B. That it is remotely credible.
C. It says what the person using it claims it says.

If I don't particularly want more information and I'm not particularly suspicious then I only really care about references if there are no references (this generally results in me becoming suspicious).

Tylluan Penry
16 May 2016, 13:38
I always reference in my books. And at the beginning of the book I explain how the referencing works, and how to get the most out of it. I think I owe this to readers. Not everyone understands references, so if I am going to make a claim, then I want the reader to know where to find it. Also, if it exists in an online source, I will use that and put it in the bibliography.

I don't assume pre-existing knowledge, but I do assume there is some pre-existing interest (cos others they probably wouldn't be reading the book).
As regards foreign languages, I'm currently writing a book on the anglo-saxon rune poem and not only am I drawing comparisons with six other translations, I've also done my own translation.
Not sure if this entirely answers the OP, but it's probably a start. ;)

Just thought to add this:
I regularly check references in other people's work . They are often wrong. I find this pretty terrifying. Even academic journals publish some utter bollocks now and then.

At the moment I am editing another authors book (to be published with The Wolfenhowle Press) and we seem to be on the verge of uncovering a blooper so horrendous in someone else's (well known) book, that it still makes me shudder...

B. de Corbin
16 May 2016, 13:47
I don't read much esoterica anymore, but I do read a lot of academic works.

Whether I read the cited references (and even the annotations) is going to depend on if my interest is casual or deep, how far from accepted theory claims put forth are, and how accessable referenced works are.

P.S. An oustanding example of referenced sources that don't actually exist was that Jesus loves Mary book that Dan Brown based his novel (The Da Vinci Code) on - Holy Blood Holy Grail.

DanieMarie
16 May 2016, 13:47
Depends what it is or how much the book interested me. If I really liked it, then I might check out a few of the sources. I never have the time for more than a couple, though. I am not an academic, and my reading time is limited, so....

MaskedOne
16 May 2016, 18:32
I don't read much esoterica anymore, but I do read a lot of academic works.

Whether I read the cited references (and even the annotations) is going to depend on if my interest is casual or deep, how far from accepted theory claims put forth are, and how accessable referenced works are.

P.S. An oustanding example of referenced sources that don't actually exist was that Jesus loves Mary book that Dan Brown based his novel (The Da Vinci Code) on - Holy Blood Holy Grail.

I seem to recall you mentioning that book in an argument with Alienist years back. Just how terrible is it on lying about source material?

Medusa
16 May 2016, 20:43
I only do if I have a hunch what I'm reading is bs or I must find out more!

B. de Corbin
17 May 2016, 01:22
I seem to recall you mentioning that book in an argument with Alienist years back. Just how terrible is it on lying about source material?

Gives source material, all single copies in foreign libraries, but CONSPIRIACY! when the "researchers" try to find them again, they have vanished.

DavidMcCann
17 May 2016, 09:12
As far as prior knowledge goes, it's probably impossible to write a book that makes no assumptions. It's also probably unnecessary: you wouldn't want to read a book about Santeria or Linux if you didn't know what they were.

I don't follow up every reference, but they have been a great source of things to read. They can also tell you something about the claims made: some-one writes that all scholars accept X and cites 3 articles, including one by herself and one by her husband!

Tylluan Penry
17 May 2016, 10:10
They can also tell you something about the claims made: some-one writes that all scholars accept X and cites 3 articles, including one by herself and one by her husband!

Oh yes! I can think who that might be!

monsno_leedra
17 May 2016, 16:07
As far as prior knowledge goes, it's probably impossible to write a book that makes no assumptions. It's also probably unnecessary: you wouldn't want to read a book about Santeria or Linux if you didn't know what they were.

I don't follow up every reference, but they have been a great source of things to read. They can also tell you something about the claims made: some-one writes that all scholars accept X and cites 3 articles, including one by herself and one by her husband!

Not quite the same but I've come across a few where author A cites author B who cited author A, which is what author A is then citing from author B. I think the strangest one occurred when I was researching something on Hekate and followed the referenced passage through a number of cited works only to discover the original passage was an author speculating about what something might have meant giving a list of possibilities. Yet through the various citations it went from a "I think this might be what it meant" to a solid "This is historically proven to be fact with supporting evidence!"

That or citations which simply do not make sense. It's like the citations you find for the so called Hekate's Wheel and a specific Chaldean Oracle line. It's cited and passed as fact yet I still can not find a source for where it originated or even the supposed translation that states the accepted truth. Yet no other translation i've found of the cited fragment comes even close to suggesting what is now pushed as fact.

Rae'ya
17 May 2016, 22:09
I always read annotations and the notes section at the back of books. And I always read the reference list to get ideas for further reading... but I don't always read every book on the reference list, especially if they are obscure academic books or articles that are tricky to get my hands on.

thalassa
19 May 2016, 00:58
I always read annotations and the notes section at the back of books. And I always read the reference list to get ideas for further reading... but I don't always read every book on the reference list, especially if they are obscure academic books or articles that are tricky to get my hands on.

This pretty much. It depends on my interest mostly. I read a number of things just to learn more about them, in general...in which case I usually ask round, read reviews (academic ones preferably), etc. for the "best" wide lens overview. Other times, I'll hunt down references and footnotes.

anunitu
19 May 2016, 01:20
This book(?) or Manuscript has always made me ponder.
Read here. (http://www.voynich.nu/)

Known as "TheVoynich manuscript"

Pic here.
http://www.voynich.nu/q03/f017v_crd.jpg

And I wonder just how one would approach this.

- - - Updated - - -

This is a pic of the text..beautiful it kind of is.
http://www.voynich.nu/img/eva/folio1.gif

B. de Corbin
19 May 2016, 01:28
Known as "TheVoynich manuscript". And I wonder just how one would approach this.

Much like we used to read Playboy, back in the day...

...just look at the pictures.

anunitu
19 May 2016, 01:32
And tuck it under the mattress,so mom won't find it...