Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2008 April 1

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Humanities desk
< March 31 << Mar | April | May >> April 2 >
Welcome to the Wikipedia Humanities Reference Desk Archives
The page you are currently viewing is an archive page. While you can leave answers for any questions shown below, please ask new questions on one of the current reference desk pages.

April 1[edit]

analogue for folk etymology?[edit]

What is it called when people make up false origins for obscure customs and traditions, in a manner analogous to a folk etymology? Thanks. --Allen (talk) 02:52, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

In a slightly more organised form it might be called pseudohistory... FiggyBee (talk) 03:10, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
...or it could be called, April Fool -- (talk) 03:53, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
All customs and traditions are contrived and modern, so I guess it would be called folk etymology. Ninebucks (talk) 11:46, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
You might be interested in cargo cultism. --Sean 16:49, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the responses! It sounds like there's just no such word. Someone should make one up. Ninebucks, what do you mean when you say all customs and traditions are contrived and modern? --Allen (talk) 18:27, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

What firearms were used in the American Civil War?[edit]

I can't seem to find an article discussing the various types of muskets and rifles used in the American Civil War, if such an article exists. I know that the Minie rifle was the predominant weapon for both sides (although the CSA more of a mix, right?) -- but I seem to recall reading somewhere that by the end of the war, the Union had started using some kind of semi-automatic rifle, which gave them a considerable advantage. Is this the case? What kind of evolution of the standard infantry firearm was there over the course of the war? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:19, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

Maybe these links will be helpful: Category:American Civil War rifles linking to sixteen models. Category:American Civil War weapons lists revolvers, pistols and guns as well. And there's a list of weapons in the American Civil War ---Sluzzelin talk 06:03, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

Shan Yu[edit]

I was just wondering if anybody knew what the villain in Mulan, his sword, is? what kind is it? I think its cool. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jwking (talkcontribs) 05:29, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

It looks like a type of flame-bladed sword and it's even mentioned in that article. I don't know whether it is based on a real sword wielded by the Huns or whether it's a Disney fantasy all the way. ---Sluzzelin talk 06:12, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

How to word a disability examination of a knee?[edit]

I am a healthcare professional and was asked by one of my patients to examine his knee which had been damaged while in the service and he had been awarded a 10% disability in 1990. However as he has gotten older, the knee is giving him more and more trouble and range of motion is limited much more than in 1990 and he wants to get another ruling on his disability to encompass the increasing disability. I am not quite sure how to word the exam to show the disability board that his knee is indeed limited in motion and contractured severely. Please help me find the correct terminology in describing the limited motion of this man's knee so that he will get a fair review of his disability.

Thanks for your help in advance,


Nina Ravey (email address redacted to prevent spam)—Preceding unsigned comment added by Nravey (talkcontribs) 06:16, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

I'm a little surprised that if you are a healthcare professional you are unable to describe a disability but maybe it's outside your usual area. The knee functions in two directions, so it may have limited flexion or limited extension. This is usually referred to in degrees, so a knee with only 130 degrees of extension will remain pretty bent, it should open out to about 180 degrees. The other aspects of the knee to be considered is lateral stability, it should not have any significant sideways movement. As well, the knee should be checked for forward/backward stability. The head of the tibia when pulled forward or pushed back should not move relative to the lower femoral extremity with the patient sitting and knee half bent. The physical appearance of the knee may be useful to describe if it is swollen or deformed in some way and finally you should record any pain the person feels either when subjected to reasonable examination pressure or when standing and using the joint. Richard Avery (talk) 10:35, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
You might find this link helpful. [1] Richard Avery (talk) 15:26, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
Surely, this would be the field of some branch of orthopedics? Richard's answers look as if they should give the pointers you need. I would make the uneducated suggestion that, should this fall outside the scope of your education, someone else ought to study the patient and word their review. (talk) 20:03, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

Changing concept of the child[edit]

I am trying to draw up a time line of how our ideas and how we think about children children has changed over time from the middle ages/medieval times and I need some help! All i know is the generalised perception which has changed from children being objects to now beig the subject of our attention.

If you could help me out that will be great thank you xx —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:59, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

I'd like to know when we ever thought of children as mere objects... Dismas|(talk) 10:15, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

In the Medeival times children were viewed as being dispensable, not important etc, can you help me with my question now please? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:34, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

Well, that's not far as I am aware, in agrarian cultures, children are very important, as they will help work the land, and take care of their parents when the parents are too old. That was as true in the middle ages as it is now. For nobility, children were important to carry on the family name - for some people having a child was extremely important, at least a male child! But surely in some places at some times for some people, children were dispensable and unimportant - which is also true today. Since the child death rate was so high, it is sometimes claimed that parents remained detached from their children until it was obvious they would survive, which could take a few years. I'm not sure how accurate that is - the human instinct to care for a child must override that, I would think. Have you looked at this webpage from You should probably also look at the book "Medieval Children" by Nicholas Orme. Adam Bishop (talk) 12:20, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
Thank you, Adam. That was my point. Children have been valuable for all time, as far as I know. Granted, parents may wait till the child is older to really count on it being a productive part of the family/tribe but it was still a blow to the family if they perished. Dismas|(talk) 12:53, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
I really hope the anon comes back with a source for his second assertion above. That would make interesting reading. --Richardrj talk email 13:47, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

Can i just say having read through this how rude you all are in your replies when someone clearly needs your help —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:52, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

We are helping! I even gave you a link and a book. Adam Bishop (talk) 13:55, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
And you can help us by telling us the basis on which you say that children in medieval times were viewed as unimportant. --Richardrj talk email 14:05, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
There is a large and interesting literate on the history of childhood, but unfortunately this area is a rather specialized and not-well-known academic discipline and so Wikipedia offers up nothing on it. Google "history of childhood" and you'll find lots of syllabi for university courses on the subject with lots of possible reading. From what I understand, most of the change is not in the value of children but the expectations of childhood safety, the definitions of "childhood" itself (e.g. what would have one time been legally an adult is still a child today), and the partitioning of other life-stages relative to childhood (e.g. the idea of the category of "adolescence" as a transition period from child to adult). Like much of the history of psychology and history of medicine, a base tenet of this approach is to not assume that the current categories we use for such things have been set in stone (or nature, to be more specific), that they are human constructions that change with culture and context, and that the idea of reading evolutionary history through the lens of modern notions of families and children is rather silly. Anyway, it's not a subject I know a lot about, but it is interesting. --Captain Ref Desk (talk) 14:29, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
Our article at childhood is very short but the bibliography is extensive. Captain RefDesk is correct about university syllabi, but be aware that some of the courses may be entitled "history of the family" or somesuch. Also note the inherent ambiguity of the word "child", e.g. the importance of having children. The English language uses the word for both "minors" and "progeny", and the two are not the same. Good luck, and please feel free to contribute to the childhood article. BrainyBabe (talk) 14:39, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
The article is helpful – the OP seems to be asking why children were important as labour but not as vulnerable humans with rights. (This lack of status also applied to adults who were not of the privileged classes.) When the Victorian era created the idea of childhood and the Factory Act helped, it's in the context of human rights being an evolving thing anyway, gradually incorporating more minorities as awareness and lobbying grew. You could point to Dr Spock in the 50's as advocating permissiveness that lead to the shift in power between parents and children. As offspring of the Me Generation (people born from the 1970's on) another kind of importance has been constructed for children as consumers with their own buying power, peer pressure systems and their power to pressure parents to buy. There's a book, Generation Me and other good links online. Unfortunately the impulse to exploit children for economic reasons has raised its ugly head yet again. In China, there's the Little Emperor Syndrome. Julia Rossi (talk) 22:39, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

82.0, I must say I'm really quite baffled why you should conclude that the early responses you received to your question, particularly from Adam, were in any way 'rude.' I rather suspect it is because the answers simply do not fit the preconceptions so obviously contained in the form of your question. Forgive me for being so blunt, but the notion that children in the Middle Ages were perceived as 'objects' is really dreadfully old-fashioned, utterly out of step with contemporary thinking on the topic. And the literature on this area is huge. You would have to go back almost fifty years to find a view anywhere close to yours, to the work of Philippe Ariès, the French Medievalist, who in his Centuries of Childhood argued that childhood was not a distinct cultural period until the 16th or 17th centuries, and that the Middle Ages lacked any such concept. But even Ariès would have baulked at the suggestion of children as objects.

I am reluctant, I confess, to proceed any further, in the expectation that I, too, will be dismissed as 'rude.' However, I take the view that answers here are of interest to the general community, not just those who post the questions; so, on that basis I will now proceed to address the issue in the politest and most objective way I can.

People are always people, and there is no reason to suppose that Medieval parents did not treat their little ones with as much love and affection as those today. Of course, there are always exceptions, and people were more subject to the vagaries of circumstances, particularly economic circumstances, in the past than they are in modern societies; at least in the developed world. However, Medieval sources provide plenty of evidence that attitudes towards childhood have varied remarkably little over time, although, of course, there was a much greater emphasis on corporal punishment in the past. Allowing for all due differences in lifestyle and culture, Medieval children grew up in much the same way as children today.

Let's begin by looking at the very first stages of life. Writing in the thirteenth century, Bartholomew of England observed "The mother loves her own child most tenderly, embraces and kisses it, nurses and cares for it most solicitously." About the same time, Philip of Navara said;

God gave children three gifts: to love and recognise the person who nurses him at her breast; to show 'joy and love' to those who play with him; and to inspire love and tenderness in those who rear him, of which the last is the most important, for 'without this, they will be so dirty and annoying in infancy and so naughty and capricious that it is hardly worth nurturing them through childhood'.

In Montaillou, his seminal study of life in a French village, Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie documents the affectionate interplay between parents and babies, including adults enjoying the sensation of a baby’s skin against there own. In the circumstances of the day, given the low level of medical knowledge, and the general problems caused by hygiene and the transmission of disease, a great many babies and young children died, but again there is ample evidence that these losses were felt severely.

Medieval adults, moreover, had a clear concept of childhood as a distinct phase of life. They believed, in other words, that children progressed through a series of stages, the so-called 'ages of man', each with its own specific features. This was recognised also by both the church and the state: children below the 'age of majority', generally reckoned in the high Middle Ages as between 12 and 14, were not expected to undertake the same religious and legal obligations as adults. When they committed sins, or breached the code of law, they were generally treated with greater leniency than adults.

When children took ill there is again ample evidence that parents did everything in their power to deal with the problem. In some cases this involved, often at considerable expense, trips to sacred shrines, to pray for divine intervention. At Canterbury in the late twelfth century we hear, for example, of one Guibert of Thanet bringing his crippled daughter to the shrine of Thomas Becket, the two walking the whole way, the little girl supporting herself on a staff. Another man came from Folkestone on horseback with his seven-year-old daughter, who could not feed herself because of crippled fingers. Many other parents made the same journey, inspired by stories of St. Thomas' miraculous cures.

Children were also expected to have their own society, with codes of conduct developed in interaction with their fellows. In 1398, the English writer John Trevisa observed that the young "love talkings and counsels of such children as they are, and foresake and avoid the company of the old." The important point here is that children were given the liberty to develop their own unique customs and culture, and there is a lot of recorded detail, concerning the games, rhymes and songs of the time. Play is also well-recorded. In the fifteenth century, the poet John Lydgate mentions running, leaping, singing, dancing, wrestling, climbing trees to steal fruit, football, chess and many other such games. The paintings of Brueghel the Elder give depictions of some of these activities. Similar depictions are to be found in marginal illustrations of the fourteenth century Romance of Alexander, which also show children on hobby horses and playing blind man's buff.

There were also toy manufacturers who catered specifically for children. In the London of 1300 boys could buy model knights and other such toys. These, I think it worth stressing, were not hand made, but cast in moulds, and therefore mass produced. Miniature domestic items were also produced for girls; plates, bowls, jugs and the like. Children's literature, moreover, can be traced as far back as the reign of Richard II.

Education was also important for Medieval parents, and there were a great many schools, though these benefited boys more than girls, who trended to receive what education they had at home from their mothers. The curriculum may have been more limited than today, but masters were no less keen for their charges to develop their imaginations, and pupils were encouraged to write about the things that they liked in their notebooks. A number of these survive after 1400, with scraps of songs and riddles.

Yes, life may have been different. Yes, there were risks. But children were still children; subjects, not objects.

If you are truly interested in this there is an ample literature. Beyond the work of Nicholas Orme-to which Adam has referred you-I would mention Childhood in the Middle Ages by S Sharar; Childhood in Anglo-Saxon England by S Crawford; The Ties that Bound: Peasant Families in Medieval England by B. Hanawalt; and The Rescue of the Innocents: Endangered Children in Medieval Miracles by R. C. Finucane. Clio the Muse (talk) 00:17, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

(edit conflict: it seems I have clashed with Clio. But here it is, anyway):
The notion that we are somehow superior to cultures and people from the past is prevalent amongst the public and, unfortunately, also occurs amongst academics as well, and gives rise to all sorts of nonsense. That medieval people did not love or treasure their children is just another of those myths. It was given credence by Philippe Ariès in his 1960 book Centuries of Childhood, with the outrageous statement that "in medieval society, the idea of childhood did not exist". This was taken up by other scholars, it seems almost uncritically, and regurgitated ever since. For example, Barbara Tuchman (relying heavily on Aries) echoed similar thoughts in her history A Distant Mirror (1978), and said: "Of all the characteristics in which the medieval age differs from the modern, none is so striking as the comparative absence of interest in children." (p. 49) This whole myth has been thoroughly debunked by recent scholars, such as Nicholas Orme, who have carried out rigorous studies of primary sources (of which there are many dealing with children). There is little evidence to support such a view as Aries’s; most suggests the opposite.

Medieval people […] had concepts of what childhood was, and when it began and ended. The arrival of children in the world was a notable event, and their upbringing and education were taken seriously. The Church and common (secular) law regarded children as equal to adults for some purposes. Equally, both branches of authority accepted that children were not yet adults and required separate treatment. Adults provided culture for children by means of toys, games, literature, but children created their own as well. (Orme, pp. 5-6

Orme concludes that there have been bad parents and good parents in all periods, and medieval children were "ourselves, five hundred or a thousand years ago." Do read Orme, he is fascinating. But there are also other good histories by Shulamith Shahar (Childhood in the Middle Ages) and Sally Crawford (Childhood in Anglo-Saxon England). Gwinva (talk) 00:25, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
Another example of children acting the same as children today is from William of Tyre - when the future King Baldwin IV of Jerusalem was a child, he and his friends were pinching each other to see who could withstand the most pain. Sounds like a typical day of high school, doesn't it? (Baldwin, by the way, didn't feel anything at all, which William unfortunately recognized as a sign of leprosy.) (And my apologies for once again using an example from the crusades!) Adam Bishop (talk) 01:10, 2 April 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

The Curse of the Pharaohs[edit]

The article Curse of the Pharaohs states that "A study showed that of the 58 people who were present when the [Tutankhamun] tomb and sarcophagus were opened, only eight died within a dozen years." This assertion is not sourced, but the article goes on to cite an article on Howard Carter which states that "Twelve members of the original group that had been present at the opening of the tomb died within the next seven years", which is obviously inconsistent with the Wikipedia article. Is there any reliable data on how many actually there were in the group, and how many of them died within 7/10/12 years? Many thanks. --Richardrj talk email 14:40, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

I found this mention of James Randi looking at actuarial tables[2]; and [3]] puts it at between 11 and 21 people dying, then I saw your word "reliable". What the heck, here it is anyway. Julia Rossi (talk) 23:02, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

Disarmament in Afghanistan[edit]

How can this goal be accomplished and what are some of the possible solutions? Yellowhighlight (talk) 16:10, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

Of course, the goal of ISAF isn't really disarmament; The ISAF wants to arm the Afghan government forces while keeping arms out of the hands of the Taliban or their sympathisers. The issue is complex and debatable. See a review of Quick Impact Projects here [4], for an example of the actual complexity not often elaborated upon in mainstream media. Vance.mcpherson (talk) 00:32, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

How quickly can a team of doctors or forensic pathologists examine a fresh massacre site for signs of rape and mutilations?[edit]

This may be a strange question, but nevertheless. In country "A" on September 3 and during the following few days there were some massacres in and around a city that was behind the front lines. Number of victims perhaps 300 - 400. The site of the massacres was shortly thereafter overrun by troops from country "B", who discovered the massacre. The International Red Cross sent a committee consisting of doctors from neutral countries to investigate, which they did on September 26. They concluded that many of the victims of the massacre had been raped and horribly mutilated before death. My question is this, how easy is it to determine such matters? could the rapes and mutilations have been faked given that apparently the investigation only lasted one day, i.e. can the investigation have been thorough enough to give a verdict regarding the mutilations of many of the victims? It has been claimed by a person from side "A" that the bodies could have been mutilated after death by representatives of side "B" to make side "A" look even worse. Is it enough to superficially examine the body to determine if a rape or other mutilation was faked, or do you have to do a in depth investigation. Is one day enough for determining the truthfullness of rapes and mutilations in a massacre of this size? For those curious the source is this, and the discussion that prompted the question is here, but it would be good if you could answer first.--Stor stark7 Talk 16:40, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

I think telling post mortem from premortem wounds is (at least nowadays) usually fairly easy presuming the corpses are still resonaby intact, as such you could probably tell whether someone was mutilated postmortem or premorterm fairly fast and it wouldn't be hard to tell if someone was mutilated particularly if we are talking about multiple and severe mutilations. As for rape, since I think it's reasonable to presume there very fairly brutal rapes and since it's unlikely that many of the victims had engaged in rough sex recently, I think it would be fairly easy to tell that a rape had likely occured. So I would say it would be fairly easy for a team of say 10 doctors to conclude that rapes and mutilations and that these had occured pre mortem. Note that unless for some reason absolute numbers are vital, even if it's true that some examinations may have been mishandled, I find it hard to believe multiple people would would have come to the same conclusion for multiple corpses and every single one of them was wrong. In other words, at worst the numbers (both of victims and perhaps of severity) may be slightly exagaturated but the main conclusion would probably still be correct. Of course a longer investigation would be ideal (and may be necessary for a court case), but in war, sadly more time is usually a luxury. Presuming these doctors were really neutral and had never cast doubt on their conclusions, I would find it hard to question their conclusions, especially based on the claims of one potentially biased alleged witness Nil Einne (talk) 18:19, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
Answers to the above should be qualified with specific context (Talk:Bloody Sunday (1939)) - i.e. that the scene of the alleged crime, and the investigations, would be controlled and overseen by Nazi Germany, who had a vested interested in exaggerating, if not outright manufacturing, of such evidence.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 22:02, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

Tsar Nicholas[edit]

the communists took decision to place the tsar on trial. why instead was he murdered? —Preceding unsigned comment added by V N Rosenfeld (talkcontribs) 19:04, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

According to Trotsky, Sverdlov told him that Lenin and his immediate entourage had decided to "execute" the imperial family because "We... shouldn't leave the Whites a living banner to rally around under the present difficult circumstances". Of course, it suited Lenin to pretend publicly that the Ural Regional Soviet had taken the decision. Why wasn't the Tsar put on trial? Essentially because the case against him was so weak. There was less potential danger for the cause of the Bolsheviks in isolating him and (in the end) murdering him. Xn4 00:06, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

This is an interesting question, V N, which reveals much about the inner workings of the Bolshevik Party at the time. The official story given out was that the task had been delegated to the Ural Soviet, though the murder of the Tsaritsa Alexandra and the five children was kept secret for over a year after the event. Anyway, I've copied below a previous answer I gave to a related question, which provides some background detail. Clio the Muse (talk) 01:19, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

It is still not been proved conclusively just how the decision to kill the family was arrived at; if it was central, or if it was local; and, if central, who exactly was involved. However, I can offer you a reasonable amount of circumstantial evidence that points quite firmly at Moscow.
For the Ural Soviet the presence of the royal family at Yekaterinburg was a growing concern, especially as the Czech Legion and other White forces approaching the town from the east. Rather than risk moving them they decided on execution, though they were unwilling to act without the approval the Council of Commissars in Moscow. Ivan Goloschekin, a member of the Ural Soviet who also happened to be a friend of Yakov Sverdlov, a close political associate of Lenin, was sent to Moscow to take soundings on the matter. He was told by Sverdlov that the government was still considering putting Nicholas on trial, an idea favoured by Trotsky. However, the steady advance of the Whites towards Yekaterinburg changed this, and Goloschekin was able to return with the news that Moscow had delegated the whole business to the Ural Soviet.
With Lenin's permission Sverdlov formally announced the death of Nicholas at a meeting of the Executive Council on 18 July 1918. Nothing was said of the fate of the Empress Alexandra and the five children, though an official statement was issued that they had all been moved. However, both Lenin and Sverdlov knew that they were all dead. They had been so advised by telegram from Yekaterinburg. The statement was a lie.
A year passed before the government admitted that they had all been shot, though the Social Revolutionaries were blamed. However, the real link between Moscow and the Urals was later made clear in a conversation between Sverdlov and Trotsky. Trotsky reports this in his memoirs thus;
"My next visit to Moscow took place after the fall of Yekaterinburg. Talking to Sverdlov, I asked in passing: 'Oh, yes, and where is the Tsar?
'It's all over,' he answered. 'He has been shot.'
'And where is the family?'
'And the family along with him.'
'All of them?', I asked, apparently with a touch of surprise.
'All of them,' replied Sverdlov. 'What about it?' He was waiting to see my reaction, I made no reply.
'And who made the decision?', I asked.
'We decided it here. Ilych [Lenin] believed that we shouldn't leave the Whites a live banner to rally round, especially under the present difficult circumstances.'
I did not ask any further questions and considered the matter closed. Actually, the decision was not only expedient but necessary. The severity of the summary justice showed the world that we would continue to fight mercilessly, stopping at nothing. The execution of the Tsar's family was needed not only in order to frighten, horrify, and dishearten the enemy, but also in order to shake up our own ranks to show that there was no turning back, that ahead lay only complete victory or complete ruin...This Lenin sensed well."
Sverdlov was certainly implicated in the murder of the entire family. It is difficult to accept that he would not have cleared this with Lenin, who, in my estimation, is guilty by association. He certainly deserves part of the 'credit' for this atrocity. Clio the Muse 00:02, 29 July 2007 (UTC)

Since I wrote this I now have sufficient leads to conclude that there was something else at work, an indication that the Tsar and his family were early victims of the forms of struggle that were to become commonplace among the Bolsheviks in years to come. Although approved by the Central Committee the projected trial of the Tsar was very much Trotsky's favoured project, one where he would have appeared as prosecutor-in-chief. It would have added greatly to his prestige, and Sverdlov knew this. You see, the ideological struggles of the pre-Revolution days were about to give way to struggles over power. Sverdlov understood this in the way that Trotsky did not; and it was Sverdlov-in collaboration with the Ural Soviet-who did his best to undermine the projected trial.

Take a look again at the exchange reported by Trotsky in his Memoirs-it shows his surprise and Sverdlov's gleeful defiance. It's almost as if he is inviting Trotsky to object, which clearly he could not do. He had been outmaneuvered, decisively so, and his subsequent gloss was little more than a feeble attempt to make the best of the situation. In this, Sverdlov, the administrator, represented the Party, the old Bolshevik core, against the mercurial Trotsky, the former Menshevik. Sverdlov died in 1919, but the challenge to Trotsky was soon to be taken up by an even more formidable opponent Clio the Muse (talk) 01:19, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

Jefferson in Boston?[edit]

Did Thomas Jefferson ever visit Boston? If so, when, for how long, for what purposes...i.e., anything anyone can tell me. Thx —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:45, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

Traveling to take up his duties in France, Jefferson arrived in Boston 18 June, 1784. There he found Abigail Adams was then thirty-six hours from sailing, though he wished to accompany her on the crossing he was unable to make preparations in time. Jefferson could find no other ship bound for France, and considered returning to New York to take passage on the French packet sailing 15 July. Nathaniel Tracy of Newburyport, a merchant and financier of the Revolution, convinced him to sail aboard Ceres, bound for London 3 July.
Jefferson spent three days in Boston before traveling to Salem, Ipswich, Marblehead, Newbury, Portsmouth, and Exeter. He was back in Boston on the 26th, where he sold his horse, "Assurcagoa" to a Neil Jameson for £30. He purchased four dozen bottles of hock, apples, oranges, bedding, a chamber pot, and a table and chair. He paid a Colonel Ingersoll £22/17 for lodging during the stay in Boston, which ended at 4 o'clock the morning of 5 July when Ceres sailed under the command of a Captain St. Barbe. Kimball, M. G. (1947). Jefferson, war and peace, 1776 to 1784. New York: Coward-McCann. pp. 360-2. OCLC 425098. As far as i can tell, this was Jefferson's first, and maybe only, visit to Boston.—eric 05:09, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
Jefferson penned a letter to Elbridge Gerry before he sailed, which may describe the stay in more detail, but i'm unable to find a copy.—eric 05:20, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
I wonder if that was Thomas Ingersoll? Adam Bishop (talk) 12:48, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

Hebraisms, the New Testament and the Book of Mormon[edit]

Your Hebraism article states that the New Testament may have been originally written in Hebrew, rather than Greek. Is this view commonly held?

The article also suggests that there are "numerous" Hebraisms in the Book of Mormon. Does any research who is not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints subscribe to this view? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:01, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

I don't think that any serious modern scholar believes that the new Testament was originally written in Hebrew; however, some believe that there may have been an early "Sayings Document" of quotations from Jesus, written in the Aramaic language. AnonMoos (talk) 05:21, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

Can anyone tell me if this is true?[edit]

Move to miscellaneous.

Usage of Nazi-era sources by postwar German historians[edit]

In a recent discussion (at Talk:Bloody Sunday (1939)) an issue has arose - how reliable is modern German historiography (unfortunately we are still missing an article on this general subject) in relation to usage of Nazi-era sources (reports of Nazi officials, eyewitnesses, etc.). Are there any works that discuss this issue? Are there any German (or non-German) historians who have been criticized for reliance on Nazi sources (other than the notorious case of David Irving)? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 22:01, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

It is, I admit, a while since I studied this area of German history, Piotrus, but I am not mindful of any German historians, those worthy, that is, of the label of historian, who were in any way guilty of misusing the sources. In studying this period the sources left by the Nazis are invaluable because of the circumstances in which they were made available. The Third Reich was a state torn up by the roots, so the documents left reveal almost everything about the inner workings of the whole apparatus, including the kind of things normally kept secret for some time after, or never revealed at all. It reveals, in other words, the kind of things that even in the democratic societies of today, with degrees of freedom of information, are still held for prolonged periods from public scrutiny.
Of course, any historian-as I feel sure you are aware-has to enter into a critical relationship with the sources; questioning, interrogating and cross-referencing at every stage. Someone who attempted to build a superstructure on a foundation of fragments would be quickly exposed as unscholarly, even potentially fraudulent. Even David Irving for all his faults, does not, so far as I am aware, invent documents and sources; he simply constructs a burden of interpretation which they do not support. More than that, his chief fault is one of scholarly bad-faith, a deliberate obfuscation of how the Nazi state worked as a whole , which he himself understands, but misleads others in his pursuit of a political agenda. Mainstream German scholarship, represented by the likes of Karl Dietrich Bracher and Joachim Fest, is in no way guilty of these forms of corruption. Clio the Muse (talk) 01:45, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

Woman on the stage in Germany[edit]

Women first appeared on the stage in England in 1660, but when did they first do so in Germany? Actor has no information on this issue for European countries other than England. Luwilt (talk) 13:12, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

I believe the earliest recorded German actress on the public stage was the wife of Johann Velthen (or Veltheim). He had formed a company of actors from among the students of the University of Leipzig in about 1669, and he employed his wife and other women for performances in the 1680s. After Velthen's death in 1693, his widow took over the company, so she was also the first German woman to be a theatrical manager. Xn4 23:22, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
P. S. - The Restoration is remembered as the time when women first appeared on English stages in public, but it seems some women had begun to appear in private performances a little earlier. For instance, according to Samuel Pepys, a Mrs Coleman played in The Siege of Rhodes when it was first performed in a private theatre at William Davenant's Rutland House in 1656. Davenant had to get permission for this performance from Cromwell, whose government had banned all drama and closed the public theatres. Xn4 23:48, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
Though she spoke Dutch, Ariana Nozeman performed in Germany before the 1660s.
Until 1990, only women who were unmarried and younger than 35 were allowed to participate for one of the few and minor female parts in the Oberammergauer Passionsspiele, but I don't know whether any women already participated in 1634.
Anyway, I believe Xn4 is correct. This book examines the history of women in German traveling theatres from 1670 to 1760. The review site says there were no women in German troupes until 1654 (without mentioning the first one's name), but the actresses caught up quickly: As Xn4 mentioned, Catharina Elisabeth Velthen was also the first female "Prinzipal" (director of a traveling company or "Deutsche Wanderbühne"), and after years of seeing men interpret women's parts, she turned the tables and became a pioneer of the breeches role as well.
Velthen doesn't have an article on any Wikipedia, unfortunately, but German Wikipedia has one on Friederike Caroline Neuber (1697 - 1760), another early German actress with a remarkable biography. ---Sluzzelin talk 18:16, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

martinique 1762[edit]

who were the french regerment based their before the british attacked it 1762 ? (talk) 22:25, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

I cannot say which particular regiment, or regiments, the French deployed, but the total defensive force amounted to 1200 regulars (probably a mixed formation), 7000 locally recruited militia, and 4000 privateers or mercenaries. You might wish to consult the article on the British expedition against Martinique. Clio the Muse (talk) 02:00, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

Concept of the Devil[edit]

Does Islam have a concept of the Devil, Satan, or Beelzebub like Judaism and Christianity or supposedly only one of God? In other words, while I know that for a Christan killing one's self for any purpose, especially as a means of killing others, would be deemed an act on behalf of or in the spirit of the Devil rather than an act on behalf of or in the spirit of God. (talk) 23:06, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

See the article on Iblis ObiterDicta ( pleadingserrataappeals ) 23:19, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
Why then do we not hear Al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden decried as agents of Iblis by the Muslim World? (talk) 00:14, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
Have you ever heard anyone decried as agients of Iblis? I don't think Muslims necessarily think in the same way about this as Christians may. Someone may be bad or even evil, without having to be though of as agents of Iblis. Perhaps on the metaphorical sense, you could say based on their beliefs that's what they effectively are but it doesn't mean they think of it in that way. And most of the Muslim world does say Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda are bad and un-Islamic. Nil Einne (talk) 02:25, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
Besides, try this Google search. --Allen (talk) 04:37, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
Yes, see Shaitan. BrainyBabe (talk) 21:25, 2 April 2008 (UTC)