Talk:Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky

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Saints banner and category[edit]

Based on this individual being included in the Calendar of saints (Episcopal Church in the United States of America), I am adding the Category:Anglican saints and the Saints WikiProject banner to this article. I am awaiting reliable sources which can be used to add the content to the article. John Carter 19:53, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

Boxer rebellion?[edit]

I noticed that Schereschewsky died in Tokyo after the Boxer rebellion in China. The article mentions only that he died poor and used a wheelchair during his last few years, but nothing about his evacuation from China. Unfortunately, I know little about the Anglican/Episcopal missions in either China or Japan, and don't have the time or resources now to do the research. Thus I hope someone can fill in this gap.Jweaver28 (talk) 13:06, 14 October 2013 (UTC)

Move back to SIJ Schereschewksy?[edit]

I appreciate the idea of making the name of the article approachable, but a few searches seem to show that the "common name" was the previous one, SIJS.

I may be missing something, but I don't see a common reference to him as "Joseph S." Would it be ok to move it back?

ch (talk) 04:46, 14 January 2014 (UTC)

Although they also include his full name, both THIS WEBPAGE and THIS ONE, which I am assuming are based on official Episcopal Church sources, refer to him simply in the prayers as Joseph Schereschewsky. This is a very strong indication that this is how he was commonly known by those who did actually know him.
It is not surprising that older and more formal sources include his full name. That was once common practice in older church sources with bishops. Such sources can be misleading as they can give the false impression that this was how bishops were normally known.
It seems clear to me, however, that his usual name was Joseph Schereschewsky and that this is therefore the appropriate article name. Cheers, Anglicanus (talk) 08:20, 19 January 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for your prompt reply and the insights. Still, Wikipedia WP:COMMONNAME guidelines should be followed, and these two examples are further indications that SIJS was the Common Name in the Wikipedia sense even if he was known as JS to his friends. As you say, SIJS was "more formal" and was his "full name," which are just what the guidelines say we should use. The Google, Google Scholar, and WOrldCat searches overwhelmingly show that the Common Name was SIJS, and not just in "older sources" but in recent writings. Tiedemann's Handbook of Christianity in China Vol Two, for instance, indexes him under Samuel Isaac. But it's hard to find public references to him as JS.
While we're at it, would you like to add a pronunciation of his name? This would be a service! ch (talk) 20:52, 19 January 2014 (UTC)
Although I appreciate that these things can sometimes be complicated, I believe that my comments do accurately express the WP:COMMONNAME principles. The principles do not say that we should use people's full names for article names unless that is how they were also commonly known.
Also, I did not say anything about how he was known to his friends (this is not necessarily a person's "common name") and I have provided recent online sources which I believe reliably and clearly show that his common name was in fact "Joseph" (such as also on the Episcopal Church's official website which often uses people's full names at first, even when it's not their common name (George Bell being another example on this website) but then uses their common name in the appointed prayers.
Which first name a person is commonly known by is much more important than how many sources use the full name. You seem to be confused about what "common name" actually means as opposed to a person's full name or formal name as usually used in the kinds of references you have mentioned. Those kind of sources would normally use his full or formal name rather than his common name. And the Handbook of Christianity in China has obviously made a mistake by not including "Joseph" at all in his name. This is not an uncommon mistake in publications when people are not known by the first of their "first names" ~ especially when it also isn't the second of the person's names.
The following part of the WP:COMMONNAMES guidelines needs noting:
Ambiguous or inaccurate names for the article subject, as determined in reliable sources,
are often avoided even though they may be more frequently used by reliable sources.
On this principle I would maintain that using his full name, "even though (it) may be more frequently used by reliable sources", is "inaccurate" for the article subject as it appears clear from other sources that his common name was actually Joseph Schereschewsky. If you are still unconvinced then I suggest that you consider seeking other editors' thoughts on how the common name principles apply to this article.
I am not the person to ask about the pronunciation of his surname. Cheers, Anglicanus (talk) 04:06, 20 January 2014 (UTC)

Thank you again for your thoughtful reply and explanation of your reasoning! However it still seems clear that WP:COMMONNAME calls for SIJS.

Wikipedia usually prefers the name that is most commonly used (as determined by its prevalence in reliable English-language sources) as such names will be the most recognizable and the most natural


it prefers to use the name that is most frequently used to refer to the subject in English-language reliable sources, including other encyclpedias and those sources used as references for the article.

You are right that this allows for the use of other names if the full name is "ambiguous or inaccurate," and I am grateful for this reference, which I will keep in mind for use in other articles.

WP:CRITERIA calls for

  • Recognizability -- in real life I am familiar with this general field and when I saw "JS" I did not recognize it.
  • Naturalness, that is, "one that readers are likely to look for... that editors would naturally use to link..." The "what links here" show only redirect links from SIJS. This means that no other Wikipedia articles use JS, that is, that they do not "naturally use [JS] to link."
  • Precision: Each is precise enough, but JS is the name of other men and might need to be disambiguated (see WorldCat). This is not an important argument.
  • Conciseness. SIJS is less concise.
  • Consistency: It is consistent with Arthur Henderson Smith, Tarleton Perry Crawford, William Alexander Parsons Martin, none of whom was normally called by those names. Any number of the articles in the category Category:Christian missionaries in China. A search of Wikipedia for "Joseph Schereschewsky" yields something like 18 hits for SIJS, one for JS, and one for SJ. There is no reference to JS in the Wikipedia article now titled JS (the first sentence is SIJS; the references to other encyclopedias in the External Links are both SIJS (the article in Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Christianity is written by Paul Clasper, surely a leading authority on the history of the church in China!)

I sincerely searched for WorldCat and Google references to JS, but found only the one you gave. There may well be others, but I am still hard put to see SIJS as inaccurate or ambiguous on the basis of one reference. Can we say "common name was actually JS"? The Episcopal Official Website is the source from which the other two references are drawn (neither of these two is a Reliable Source in any case). The church website needs your expertise to be interpreted. (Interpreting a Primary Source is WP:OR, but that's not an important argument).

In short, the evidence for the fact that his "common name was actually JS" is one reference, which does not seem to show that SJIS is inaccurate or ambiguous.


Before we call in other editors, let me sum up what I see as the considerations in weighing the guidelines in WP:COMMONNAME:

  • SJIS is the most widely (almost exclusively) used name: in his own publications; in scholarship concerning him; in general use, as found the in searches above; in Wikipedia generally; in the references in the article (as well as in the article itself); JS is (so far) used only in a church document which requires interpretation, perhaps WP:OR.
  • These findings do not require the use of SJIS because they are inaccurate or ambiguous: The Episcopal Church website, under the listing SJIS, refers to him as JS.

Is this fair?

I would be happy to see the first sentence of the article say something like "Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky, known as Joseph Schereschewsky..." (now that I look at it, the part about his Chinese name doesn't look right, but that's another matter).

All the best.

ch (talk) 17:21, 20 January 2014 (UTC)

PS I found a pronunciation at the External Link American Encyclopedia 1920 article titled (ahem!) SJIS: skĕr-ĕs-kūs'kĭ. ch (talk) 17:21, 20 January 2014 (UTC)

After more than a week, no other editors have weighed in. I will now move the article back to SJIS. ch (talk) 17:25, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

I really don't want to be in conflict with you about this but I have moved the article back to "Joseph" for the reasons I have previously given. While there may be MOS arguments in favour of both names it is clearly factual that the name he was commonly known by is "Joseph", as opposed to reference books and directories which would normally use full names regardless what a person's common name was. If we could find other historical sources the fact of him being commonly known as Joseph would, I suspect, be even more clear. But, in any case, I think that the Episcopal Church does actual know what names its bishops were commonly known by ~ which is why he is simply called "Joseph" in its official prayers. I think you are being too pedantic in your interpretation of the MOS on this issue. The arguments you've used would be perfectly valid with most contemporary people ~ and prominent historical people ~ as there would normally be a number of sources which would make their common name clear. But when we are dealing with relatively obscure figures from a time when such readily available sources are nearly all of the directory kind ~ which would nearly always use full names rather than common names ~ then it seems to me that your arguments aren't so valid. If you still don't agree then we should seek other editors' opinions by an appropriate process. At the end of the day readers can now find the article using both names. Regards, Anglicanus (talk) 14:06, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
If that's the only way, I will post a neutrally phrased question at the Help Desk and on the Talk Pages of editors who have knowledge of MOS policies.
But I see that you removed my sentence in the lede that he was known in the Anglican Church as Joseph S. If my wording was wrong, I apologize, but this was my attempt to make us both happy. If you want him to be known as Joseph, shouldn't there be some use of that name in the article? In any case, Happy Year of the Horse!ch (talk) 17:34, 31 January 2014 (UTC)

After posting on the 3O page, I was advised that listing under Requested Moves would involve editors with specific knowledge and experience, so I have done that in the next section. ch (talk) 03:57, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Moved. This is a borderline case, but there appears, after having looked through the discussion below, to be enough of a consensus in favor of the long-form name for it to be restored to that long-term stable title. The Bushranger One ping only 09:12, 10 March 2014 (UTC)

Joseph SchereschewskySamuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky – There has been an amicable Talk Page discussion and disagreement, though a move before consensus.

To summarize: One interpretation is that the title of the article should be Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky, from which it was moved, because that is the Common Name: found almost without exception in web searches (Joseph is not found in those searches); in all but one of many Wikipedia articles; in his own published books; WorldCat authority page; standard reference works and encyclopedias both online and print; and in recent scholarship, including a recent scholarly biography.

The searches:

The other interpretation is that the article should not be moved back, but should remain Joseph: in an Anglican church prayer, for which there is one citation (online), quoted in two others, that he is called Joseph, which indicates that this is his common name and that the above argument is "pedantic." To quote:

"Although they also include his full name, both THIS WEBPAGE and THIS ONE, which I am assuming are based on official Episcopal Church sources, refer to him simply in the prayers as Joseph Schereschewsky. This is a very strong indication that this is how he was commonly known by those who did actually know him."


"It is not surprising that older and more formal sources include his full name. That was once common practice in older church sources with bishops. Such sources can be misleading as they can give the false impression that this was how bishops were normally known." Relisted. BDD (talk) 19:57, 19 February 2014 (UTC) ch (talk) 03:53, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the comment and the suggestion. Odd it may be, but the overwhelming number of authoritative references are to the full name. My Google search for S.I.J. Schereschewsky +Times didn't find a Times reference. Could you steer me to it? A Google search s.i j.s. schereschewsky found some, but almost all were the full name. Besides, many Wikipedia articles, some of which are mentioned above, of other 19th or early 20th century figures, use full names that seem odd today. It's not for us to judge. Cheers. ch (talk) 20:47, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
You won't find The Times on Google. It's a subscription only service. Google is not the be all and end all of internet coverage. And internet coverage is not the be all and end all of references. In actual fact, people were generally no more likely to be referred to by their full names in earlier times than they are now. It simply appears that way because many references are to biographical entries, which obviously tend to show full names. Initials, however, were far more commonly used in the past than they are now. Of the five sources cited in this article, two are biographical entries and two use initials. If you want to do this by ghits try this Google search for S I J Schereschewsky. It produces far more results than either Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky or simple Joseph Schereschewsky. -- Necrothesp (talk) 19:45, 6 February 2014 (UTC)

Oppose move. There are plenty of formal sources with the full name, but few sources of how he was and is commonly known. The best sources for that in a religous context are Lesser Feasts and Fasts and Holy Men, Holy Women where he is simply Joseph Schereschewsky. Jonathunder (talk) 21:20, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

Could you explain why "how he was and is known in a religious context" meets any of the criteria for WP:COMMONNAME, which calls for the "formal sources" you say there are plenty of? In fact, it is not accurate to say there are "few sources of how of how he was and is commonly known." Please see the searches in the discussion above. In any case, so far only one reference to him in the religious context has been cited (the other two are simply references to the first one).
BTW, I am completely in favor of a prominent mention that this is one of the ways he is known. I added a sentence to the lede saying that he was known as Joseph, but this was removed when the article was moved from the full name to "Joseph." Now there is no reference to him as Joseph in the (talk) 06:36, 6 February 2014 (UTC)

Thanks to Necrothesp once more for following up and for doing the further search. Your points are important to consider. However, I wonder if this further search doesn't actually argue for the full name. That is, although I didn't look beyond the first few pages, which have the primary hits, the hits for S.I.J. Schereschewsky" are almost all to one source, that is, multiple hits to Irene Eber's book and to reviews of it. Running a Google search for "S.I.J.S. Schereschewsky - Jewish Bishop" (to eliminate the book) yields only 350 hits. This is still a considerable number.

S.I.J. S. appears in the title of Eber's book, where a big consideration was to fit it on the spine! A searchwithin her book for "S.I.J.S" doesn't find one. A search for "S.I.J." finds more, but they are to the "running head" at the top of the page, not text. A search for Samuel Isaac Joseph finds that on the first page of the Preface and the first page of the book (p. 1) she uses the full name. Note 60 p. 254 refers to two more scholarly pieces that use the full name.

You are right that Google searches cannot settle things, but in this case they are more helpful than in some others because they are to both formal and informal sources. I also take your point that biographical entries tend to show the full name, but isn't that what the Wikipedia article is, a biographical entry? Besides, many of the hits for the full name are in straight text. The Wikipedia guideline specifically mentions encyclopedias as one of the ways to determine the WP:COMMONNAME.

I'd appreciate the Times reference, which might well enrich the article (I have library access).

The "five sources cited in the article": Eber in her text uses the full name. See above. Muller uses the full name, as do Encyclopedia Americana and Bio Dictionary of Chinese Christianity. WorldCat tries to split the difference "Schereschewsky (Samuel Isaac Joseph)."

So my reading after thinking through these new points, pending any further arguments or findings, is that he was certainly known as Joseph S and SIJS, but that by far the most common name was Samuel Isaac Joseph S.

Cheers ch (talk) 03:27, 7 February 2014 (UTC)

On checking further, I find I was wrong and that in fact, WOrldCat lists him as "Schereschewsky, S. I. J. (Samuel Isaac Joseph)." (it lists several alternative names, but not Joseph). [1] Also, in the biography in The Bishops of the American Mission in China there is a letter which he signs "S.I.J. Schereshewsky." ch (talk) 17:17, 7 February 2014 (UTC)

Comment (I likely won't !vote): if you have to actually calculate the difference in Google hits to determine which is "common", then my interpretation is that they all fail COMMONNAME. COMMONNAME should only apply where there's no room for doubt (for example: Ringo Starr vs Richard Starkey). COMMON certainly does not mean "what his buddies and colleagues called him".
Here's a test: if one were to write a different Wikipedia article and link to this one, which name would you most likely use? That would be a big contender for most appropriate name if there is no clear winner for COMMONNAME. Curly Turkey (gobble) 07:32, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

Comment Thanks for the thoughtful comments. References in other Wikipedia articles (see above) are overwhelmingly "Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky," which implies that a new article would use the full name, as do the recent biographical articles given in the External Links, including one written by Paul Clasper, former Episcopal Bishop in Hong Kong. ch (talk) 17:55, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Follow up comment Please recall that the proposed move is not essentially a move, but a restoration of the long standing title. Those who favor "Joseph" should make arguments for it. The title for most of the history of the article was “Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky,” that is (unless I missed something), from 23 January 2007 to 14 January 2014, except for a few months in the summer of 2011, when the same editor moved it to "Joseph S." and then back again:
  • 23 January 2007 Brian0324 moved Samuel Scherschewsky to Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky: name was mis-spelled)
  • 24 July 2011 DBD moved Joseph Schereschewsky to Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky
  • 10 November 2011 DBD moved Joseph Schereschewsky to Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky most common form in academic sources
  • 14 January 2014 Anglicanus Anglicanus moved page Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky to Joseph Schereschewsky over redirect: Common name.
  • 28 January 2014 CWH moved page Joseph Schereschewsky to Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky common form; see Talk Page.
  • 31 January 2014 Anglicanus moved page Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky to Joseph Schereschewsky: He was known as Joseph because that was his "common" name.
Cheers, ch (talk) 18:30, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
  • I will throw in the google scholar search [2]. i am not seeing any overwhelming evidence of any particular version, but when you go to WorldCat, they use "Schereschewsky, S. I. J. (Samuel Isaac Joseph)" for the for the works about him. when both he [3] and his wife [4] published, they apparently published under "SIJ Schereschewsky" & "Mrs. SIJ Schereschewsky" . It appears that he may have gone by Samuel J. Joseph for a short period. But I am not seeing any evidence of any really widespread usage of "Joseph Schereschewsky" and that is not the name used by the sources in our article, Eber and Muller, who appear to be the widely cited scholars on the subject. so I dont think "Joseph Schereschewsky" should be the title. I am agnostic between "SIJ Schereschewsky" and "Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky"-- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 09:07, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
  • this is interesting [5] it goes back and forth between "Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky" and "Joseph Schereschewsky". -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 10:00, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.