20.167 the presence of Busa

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
Date: Fri, 25 Aug 2006 08:51:20 +0100

               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 20, No. 167.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu

         Date: Fri, 25 Aug 2006 08:48:48 +0100
         From: "port]is.an.option"@unlserve.unl.edu
         Subject: Re: 20.165 the presence of Busa

On Thu, Aug 24, 2006 at 06:44:01AM +0100, Humanist Discussion Group
(by way of Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>) wrote:
> The question is not so much 'did he ever return
> to his investigation of the notion of 'presence'
> but rather, how did he move on from this
> research?

Well no, actually. This is the question (for me at least). No one
denies that Busa's investigations into the notion of presence inspired
his most famous contribution to the field. My question is whether,
having built the Index, he ever went on to use the Index to further
the theological project that inspired it. I gather from your message
that the dissertation itself pursues the question of presence, but did
not (for obvious reasons) rely on the digital version of the Index.

Busa himself famously declared the reason for the index in the article
in the *Annals*:

"[A] philological and lexicographical inquiry into the verbal system
of an author has to precede and prepare for a doctrinal interpretation
of his works. Each writer expresses his conceptual system in and
through his verbal system, with the consequence that the reader who
masters this verbal system, using his own conceptual system, has to
get an insight into the writer's conceptual system. The reader should
not simply attach to the words he reads the significance they have in
his mind, but should try to find out what significance they had in the
author's mind" (83).

It does not seem to me beside the point to ask whether he (or anyone)
ever managed to undertake a "doctrinal interpretation" of Thomas using
the Index.


Stephen Ramsay
Assistant Professor
Department of English
University of Nebraska at Lincoln
PGP Public Key ID: 0xA38D7B11
Received on Fri Aug 25 2006 - 04:37:15 EDT

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