"people of the book"

Alice Faber faber at HASKINS.YALE.EDU
Sun Jun 17 22:57:11 UTC 2001

Duane Campbell said:
>On Fri, 15 Jun 2001 14:16:23 -0400 Mark_Mandel at DRAGONSYS.COM
>>      Many Asians, like Jews, are "people of the book" (the Mandarin
>> and
>>      Talmudic traditions) and are ascending America's surest ladder
>> of
>>      social mobility, the system of higher education.
>> We discussed this phrase in early December of 1999; it's originally
>> (a
>> translation of) an Arabic expression referring to those who share
>> with
>> Muslims a reverence for the (variously defined) Bible (mainly to
>> Jews and
>> Christians).
>This also puzzled me when I first read it, though generally I read George
>Will with the same reverence and open acceptance of a Baptist reading the
>Old Testament. Obviously (hopefully) it was a metaphor for one culture
>that accepts another quite different culture because of some common
>thread. Note that he used quotation marks, and Will does not use them
>with the abandon of Bernstein's sign painter and poster letterer.
>Will is a very careful, if sometimes abstruse, wordsmith.  He could not
>have misconstrued the meaning of "people of the book." Please. Otherwise
>my entire belief system comes crashing down on my head, witht he last
>page of Newsweek fluttering down to finish the job.

I might have agreed with you about Will in the past, but, not since he
recanted on his earlier opposition to the use of a Designated Hitter in the
American League.
Alice Faber                                       tel. (203) 865-6163
Haskins Laboratories                              fax  (203) 865-8963
270 Crown St                                   faber at haskins.yale.edu
New Haven, CT 06511                               afaber at wesleyan.edu

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