Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Distingu-what?

An odd name to launch on the blogosphere. Where does it come from?

Dorothy L. Sayers, in her 1947 lecture in Oxford, "The Lost Tools of Learning" comments on the oft-mocked question of how many archangels could dance on the point of a needle:

Scorn in plenty has been poured out upon the mediaeval passion for hair-splitting; but when we look at the shameless abuse made, in print and on the platform, of controversial expressions with shifting and ambiguous connotations, we may feel it in our hearts to wish that every reader and hearer had been so defensively armored [sic] by his education as to be able to cry: "Distinguo."

[HT: David Field]

Distinguo is simply the Latin for "I distinguish." More than anything, my training at Oak Hill taught me that many questions could be answered, many controversies reconciled, and many heresies avoided, if only we approached questions with careful distinctions. This is true of the whole of life, not just theology (though, of course, theology properly understood is the whole of life).

I hope my posts, and readers' comments (yes, all three of you), will always cry "Distinguo."

8 comments:

ros said...

I'm first! Very excited to see you in blogworld and looking forward to what I'm sure will always be interesting and erudite contributions.

Neil Jeffers said...

Ros, I'm amazed.

Have you been roaming the blogosphere for months just waiting for Distinguo?

matthew said...

or respond, "expelliarmus"?

Pete said...

Welcome to the blogosphere Mr Jeffers.

ros said...

No, no. I promise I have better things to do with my time. Marc Lloyd, however, may not...

Sam Allberry said...

Sounds like a cool X-Men character to me...

Sam

James Cary said...

Neil, is it fair to say that 'Distinguo' makes you sound a little pretentious? Is it also fair to say that you don't really mind that?

Neil Jeffers said...

As before, I pass the buck onto Dorothy Sayers.

Pretentious, moi?