Communication Across Vast Distances
Having a hard time reading some of the papers in Superstition and Magic in E. M. E. I noticed some death defying generalizations that were difficult to make sense of.
I get the impression its a very small pool of scholars responding to a limited and fixed range of texts. In this case an early medieval debate concerning the pagan past in a christian present, was discussed in a somewhat unfamiliar manner.
One thing I have learned is when this debate erupted in early medieval history some twenty years ago, both sides heavily over- inflected evidence, engaged in some protracted fire breathing, before arriving at a more balanced perspective and meeting in the middle to a degree.
I had to check the notes and it was a specific argument critical of Carlo Ginsberg, never sure why Carlo Ginsburg has warranted so much attention over the years, I happily avoid his work, but clearly early modern historians still feel the urge to vent, before engaging in a more general hack and slash through time.
Not read many secondary sources for the last ten years, preferred a lazy reading of primary material in the raw. Arguments have moved on, but clearly some battles that refuse to die.
Going through a brief period of culture shock, dealing with an institutional rhetorical style, which to my mind has a tendency to present individual research as something of a culture elephant that is attempting to sit on top of you.
The occupational hazard of monumental scholarship.
Easy to be critical of language when you are not subject to the same constraints and pressures that give it form and sustain it. Its also rather easy to mistake such critical thought for something else and switch off, as the effort to get past contemporary needs to control and shape subjects based on individual preference and a desire to see such preferences replicated, can be rather tiresome.
Things have to die and become something else as they move from one mind to the next, the situation things find themselves in alters.