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RE: [xml-dev] Why is text marked up ?

Hi Mr. Quin,

I know this is barely an XML question any more, but despite my raw newness to this list I couldn't resist chiming in slightly lightheartedly on this point:

" a lot of our Western manuscript tradition came out of an idea that there was an Original Text that was Divinely Inspired by the Goddesses, and that could not be improved upon by mortals... "

I'm sure this attitude may well exist in some form in the "Western manuscript tradition". It's not something I'm very familiar with in my reading of it though, not until very recently in history (fundamentalism) or possible very, very old texts.

In between I think you can identify 2 more or less distinct strands - one for classical texts like the Greek and Latin poetry, drama, philosophy etc., where the primary concern was simply to preserve in a climate where its value was not taken for granted (which in practical terms meant actively transmit accurately), and the second for religious texts - in the case of Christian ones, actually the flaws and faults of both Old and New Testament were acknowledged at least as early as St. Augustine (he would have preferred a nice, polished Platonic version in his Manichaean days) but yet were scrupulously preserved simply because the texts were venerated for their proximity to historical events (not for their intrinsic "quality").

I think "writing the text better" was something of an aspiration for readers and writers down the ages, but only in the modern era (I use the term very broadly!) has it become any kind of possibility. That's partly why all the documentary history conspiracy "thrillers" now popular are so funny ;0)



-----Original Message-----
From: Liam R E Quin [mailto:liam@w3.org] 
Sent: 19 January 2012 17:29
To: dlee@calldei.com
Cc: xml-dev@lists.xml.org
Subject: Re: [xml-dev] Why is text marked up ?

On Thu, 2012-01-19 at 08:48 -0500, David Lee wrote:
> "Why is text marked up" ? 

Mark-up in retail increases the selling price.
Mark-up in texts increases the value.

"why not just write the text better" - a lot of our Western manuscript tradition came out of an idea that there was an Original Text that was Divinely Inspired by the Goddesses, and that could not be improved upon by mortals; the task of the humans was to understand these sacred texts, so that a commentary had to distinguish clearly the original and the expansion.

Having said that, some of the necessary apparatus to do that is very modern; there are no quotation marks in the 1611 King James Bible, and the start and end of reported text is often unclear. Bibles sometimes print the "sayings of Jesus" in red, but they don't necessarily all print the _same_ text in red. This is because the concept of the "q"
element was not available at the time ;-)


Liam Quin - XML Activity Lead, W3C, http://www.w3.org/People/Quin/ Pictures from old books: http://fromoldbooks.org/


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