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[BKARTS] Islamic Texts/Cargo cults



Sorry for the delay, but this posting was rejected; Peter cleared up
some problem with our server and now here it is; for what it's worth.

j


>Date: Fri, 23 Apr 2004 01:44:49 -0700
>To: BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
>From: "Jack C. Thompson" <tcl@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
>Subject: Islamic Texts/Cargo cults
>
>Alex Appella asks:
>
>>Benefactors? To whom? Of what? For what end?
>
>We, the large WE; worldwide communion of scholars and
>the people who are pleased to read those scholars and
>learn thereby.
>
>(snip)
>
>>Work the problem. Leave the books where they are and
>>teach the owners to lengthen the lives of the books.
>
>Not gonna happen.
>
>(snip)
>
>>Alex Appella
>>www.transientbooks.com
>
>
>From:    John Cutrone <jcutrone@xxxxxxx>
>Subject: Re: Islamic Texts Crumble in Africa
>MIME-Version: 1.0
>
>>Benefactors? To whom? Of what? For what end? Is the book more useful in a
>>wealthier person's home, stored on the shelf for all eternity, than it is on
>>the shelf of a family in Timbuktu who reads it and values it? What is more
>>important, that the book last forever, or that a poor family cherishes it?
>>
>>Alex Appella
>>www.transientbooks.com
>
>John Cutrone makes a good response, attesting to the value of old books
>in the Jaffee Book Arts Collection, viewed by:  "hundreds or thousands of
>Florida college kids and other folks seeing these books each year... books
>they'd most likely never see otherwise in their lifetimes...."
>
>But feels "a sharp sense of guilt...." is having them.
>
>When I was in graduate school, during the mid-70's, I mulled this question
>over.  If everything is collected in a library/museum, what happens when
>the library/museum catches fire?
>
>If collections are distributed, in homes and small libraries/museums, and
>one catches fire, the loss is small.
>
>However, a scholar's time is not best spent traveling forever between small
>collections.
>
>So what is the value of an artifact, or a small collection of artifacts?
>
>During WW-II, Allied troops occupied a number of Pacific Islands.
>
>After the war, after the Allied Troops left, many Pacific Islanders
>were observed sitting down on empty runways, wearing helmets and goggles,
>holding steering wheels, and making 'Zoom' noises, in hopes of bringing
>back the Allied Troops and the bounty they brought with them.
>
>They were studied by anthropologists, and came to be called 'Cargo Cults.'
>
>During the mid-12 century, c.e., a community of Jews was established in
>Kaifeng, China.  By the mid-19th century, c.e., the remnants of that
>congregation was willing to sell six of thirteen surviving Torah scrolls
>belonging to the community; they had already sold the topsoil around the
>synagogue, and pig's quarters within the fence were being leased out.
>
>I saw one of those Torah scrolls at Southern Methodist University, in
>Texas, some years ago.
>
>I could be wrong (I only looked at the scroll in an exhibit case and did
>not have it to hand) but it looked a lot to me like pigskin, not calf.

>There are still Jews there, and they are beginning to re-connect, after
>all these years, with the world-wide community of Jewery.
>
>What I'm trying to say was said better yesterday in an editorial article
>in my local newspaper.
>
>The editorialist, discussing Iraq, mentioned that democracy came to the
>west 500 years after Magna Charta was 'X'd' at Runnymede.
>
>Ah, damn!  It'd be so much easier to do these sophomoric arguments over
>a pint.
>
>Never mind  (but I'm still gonna post it.)
>
>Jack

Thompson Conservation Lab.
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"The lyfe so short; the craft so long to lerne."
Chaucer  _Parlement of Foules_ 1386

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