Sunday, December 08, 2013

Raiders of the lost Thompson

When I read about the discovery of long-lost manuscripts I feel the same tremor of excitement I got watching Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark in the Papakura Movie Theatre back in 1982. The History Workshop Journal has marked the twentieth anniversary of EP Thompson's death by publishing a hitherto obscure essay by the great man, and they've done me the honour of quoting my book on Thompson in their introduction to this taonga. I'm just sorry that I didn't discover the essay in 2005, when I was a barbarous PhD student ransacking the monkish libraries of Albion in search of Thompsoniana...

7 Comments:

Blogger Richard said...

It's great that they quote your book Scott! It is good when scholars quote all relevant texts associated with a subject without prejudice.

I have a book about Rabelais with no reference to Bakhtin's book about him. And history books that don't quote Thompson and so on.

Of course not everything can be noted.






8:08 pm  
Anonymous markus said...

Hi, Scott. I commented here way back in September 2010 on your very impressive analysis of E.P and the post-war British Left.

And I was pleased you passed my brief praise of E.P on to his widow, Dorothy (who, of course, died just a few months later).

My following point is probably only loosely related to Thompson's core argument in 'Reflections on Jacoby and all that' (although it at least touches on the question of the role of universities in society, the importance of the wider public participating in 'the battle of ideas' and the role of new technologies in distancing intellectuals).....

I completed honours at Vic Uni (as a mature student in my mid-30s) in 1999. Over the following 8 or 9 years, I regularly used Vic Uni Library for my own research (with a view to making a contribution to New Zealand historiography and political science from outside the academy). Problem is: that's no longer possible as far as scholarly journals are concerned. Everything's gone electronic and therefore the vast corpus of academic literature is only available to academic staff and enrolled students. I've tried to get articles on inter-loan via my local library, but it's very hit-and-miss. Universities, tend to jealously guard access. The only other option is to pay absurdly high prices on-line. (I'm just glad I photocopied - and later stored away - so many hist, sosc and pol sci articles over the years as a student ! And on a whole range of topics that interested me. I had no idea at the time that there'd be no future access to them).

There's an argument, of course, that once my study at Vic was over, I didn't really have any subsequent right to use their Library's resources in the first place. But (with E.P.), I tend to take the broader (albeit possibly naïve and somewhat romantic) view that people outside the academy should also be able to participate in 'the battle of ideas'.

Obviously, this technological change was inevitable, yet I have to say it also feels like a very elitist move, suddenly excluding the wider public from a vast array of knowledge.

5:11 am  
Blogger Richard said...

I'll leave Scott to comment: but in my case I certainly felt a sense of being blocked out from access to knowledge and books after I graduated.. For while I had a library card - but that got progressively expensive and I only know a few people currently enrolled.

Even before digital tech took hold Scott and I used to copy entire books of writers hard to get in NZ.

It seems to me that the libraries dont easily make available a good inter-linked interloan system that is easily accessible. Accessible and or affordable.

Even online looking for essays in many cases one finds the need to subscribe. I can understand this to some degree.

The universities and libraries in general have duty to provide books (electronic or otherwise) to any one who wants them. With back ups where these are obviously stolen. They could purchase extra copies via the second hand book market which is huge.

There are of course copyright and other issues but I doubt that library access as such stops anyone buying a book (electronic or other) as I find I do so if I want it to refer to or re-read.

Whether it is some elitist "plot" is hard to gauge but it has the effect of exclusivity. The unwashed, or those no longer "paying members" or too low on the academic scale, are kept out, The unwashed and their stench of interest and inquiry ("for it's own sake) are kept away from the noses of The Grand Professors.

Which means it is one of those issues Thompson would have been very interested in.

10:20 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Richard and Markus,

Look again at the list of Judges. Samuel was the last Judge before the Kings, Sha’ul and David. Most folks know that David is a type of ruling Messiah, but have you ever heard of Sha’ul being a type of anti-Messiah?
Check out his track record…

Sha’ul was plagued by an evil spirit…

1 Samuel 16:23 Whenever the spirit from God came upon Saul, David would take his harp and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.

Sha’ul tried to kill David

1 Samuel 19:1 Saul told his son Jonathan and all the attendants to kill David. But Jonathan was very fond of David 2 and warned him, "My father Saul is looking for a chance to kill you. Be on your guard tomorrow morning; go into hiding and stay there.

Daniel 8:25 He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power.

And he ordered the execution of the Priests of The L-RD.

1 Samuel 22:17 Then the king ordered the guards at his side: "Turn and kill the priests of the L-RD, because they too have sided with David. They knew he was fleeing, yet they did not tell me." But the king's officials were not willing to raise a hand to strike the priests of the L-RD.

18 The king then ordered Doeg, "You turn and strike down the priests." So Doeg the Edomite turned and struck them down. That day he killed eighty-five men who wore the linen ephod. 19 He also put to the sword Nob, the town of the priests, with its men and women, its children and infants, and its cattle, donkeys and sheep.

“If history repeats itself, the history itself is prophecy, Jones says. “Israel is different from all other nations in a lot of ways, but more than anything else, Israel is the only nation whose history was written before it happened.”…

2 Samuel 12:26 Meanwhile Joab fought against Rabbah of the Ammonites and captured the royal citadel. 27 Joab then sent messengers to David, saying, "I have fought against Rabbah and taken its water supply. 28 Now muster the rest of the troops and besiege the city and capture it. Otherwise I will take the city, and it will be named after me."

29 So David mustered the entire army and went to Rabbah, and attacked and captured it. 30 He took the crown from the head of their king —its weight was a talent of gold, and it was set with precious stones—and it was placed on David's head. He took a great quantity of plunder from the city 31 and brought out the people who were there, consigning them to labor with saws and with iron picks and axes, and he made them work at brickmaking. He did this to all the Ammonite towns. Then David and his entire army returned to Jerusalem.

Footnotes:

a. 2 Samuel 12:30 Or of Milcom (that is, Molech)
b. 2 Samuel 12:30 That is, about 75 pounds (about 34 kilograms)
c. 2 Samuel 12:31 The meaning of the Hebrew for this clause is uncertain.

More history as prophesy…

Amman is Jordan's capital city. It is built on seven mountains and has a fresh atmosphere and cool nights because of high altitude. Amman is a busy commercial center for Jordan with trendy boutiques and colorful bazaars. It is totally modern with many fine hotels and restaurants, entertainment, and sports.

In biblical times, Amman was known as Rabbath Ammon and under Ptolemies, as Philadelphia. It was taken by King Herod in 30 BC and became part of the Roman Empire and a member of the Decapolis, a dynamic commercial league of ten cities.
http://www.suntours.com.jo/amman.htm

Revelation 17:9 "Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits.

Bingo!

7:19 pm  
Anonymous Orthodox Believer said...

Richard and Markus,

Look again at the list of Judges. Samuel was the last Judge before the Kings, Sha’ul and David. Most folks know that David is a type of ruling Messiah, but have you ever heard of Sha’ul being a type of anti-Messiah?
Check out his track record…

Sha’ul was plagued by an evil spirit…

1 Samuel 16:23 Whenever the spirit from God came upon Saul, David would take his harp and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.

Sha’ul tried to kill David

1 Samuel 19:1 Saul told his son Jonathan and all the attendants to kill David. But Jonathan was very fond of David 2 and warned him, "My father Saul is looking for a chance to kill you. Be on your guard tomorrow morning; go into hiding and stay there.

Daniel 8:25 He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power.

And he ordered the execution of the Priests of The L-RD.

1 Samuel 22:17 Then the king ordered the guards at his side: "Turn and kill the priests of the L-RD, because they too have sided with David. They knew he was fleeing, yet they did not tell me." But the king's officials were not willing to raise a hand to strike the priests of the L-RD.

18 The king then ordered Doeg, "You turn and strike down the priests." So Doeg the Edomite turned and struck them down. That day he killed eighty-five men who wore the linen ephod. 19 He also put to the sword Nob, the town of the priests, with its men and women, its children and infants, and its cattle, donkeys and sheep.

“If history repeats itself, the history itself is prophecy, Jones says. “Israel is different from all other nations in a lot of ways, but more than anything else, Israel is the only nation whose history was written before it happened.”…

2 Samuel 12:26 Meanwhile Joab fought against Rabbah of the Ammonites and captured the royal citadel. 27 Joab then sent messengers to David, saying, "I have fought against Rabbah and taken its water supply. 28 Now muster the rest of the troops and besiege the city and capture it. Otherwise I will take the city, and it will be named after me."

29 So David mustered the entire army and went to Rabbah, and attacked and captured it. 30 He took the crown from the head of their king —its weight was a talent of gold, and it was set with precious stones—and it was placed on David's head. He took a great quantity of plunder from the city 31 and brought out the people who were there, consigning them to labor with saws and with iron picks and axes, and he made them work at brickmaking. He did this to all the Ammonite towns. Then David and his entire army returned to Jerusalem.

Footnotes:

a. 2 Samuel 12:30 Or of Milcom (that is, Molech)
b. 2 Samuel 12:30 That is, about 75 pounds (about 34 kilograms)
c. 2 Samuel 12:31 The meaning of the Hebrew for this clause is uncertain.

More history as prophesy…

Amman is Jordan's capital city. It is built on seven mountains and has a fresh atmosphere and cool nights because of high altitude. Amman is a busy commercial center for Jordan with trendy boutiques and colorful bazaars. It is totally modern with many fine hotels and restaurants, entertainment, and sports.

In biblical times, Amman was known as Rabbath Ammon and under Ptolemies, as Philadelphia. It was taken by King Herod in 30 BC and became part of the Roman Empire and a member of the Decapolis, a dynamic commercial league of ten cities.
http://www.suntours.com.jo/amman.htm

Revelation 17:9 "Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits.

Bingo!

7:19 pm  
Anonymous Orthodox Believer (Slayer of lies) said...


PS PS PS

Indiana Jones goes to Hell: A quote from Spielberg describing the Music of Temple of Doom, (not The Temple of Roses!) and the thread references the parallels between the story of the movie and the Bibles explanation of the period between Jesus' execution and Resurection. Got to get back to that one!

Trenches of Hell: an episode of The Young Indy Chronicles, Hell refers to a state of being not the location

The Devils Lair: a name given to ancient digs in Australia

The Gates of Hell: a famous sculpture by Rodin and curiously enough a site near Turkmenistan

Ha Satan, The Devil, Iblis, Lucifer, Legion, Baal...
well there youhave it, diverse culture views and evolution of the dark side of man and or God's creation.

Hardly numerous threads about the Devil! They all have that exciting, eye catching curiosity-itching and compelling commonality: an easily misconstrued name.

And therin lies the dilemma, are you judging a book by it's cover?

Wasn't Indiana Jones first described as expert on the occult?

These topics, to your taste or not, are FAR and away more at home on an Indiana Jones message board then your other "hero".

7:21 pm  
Anonymous Scott said...

Hi Markus and Richard,

you raise an issue very dear to my heart! I was exasperated, in Tonga, by the way that academic studies were unavailable to the people who had been the subjects of those studies, and ended up visiting 'remote' villages with armfuls of printouts from academic datatbases, so that locals could see what archaeologists and the like had written about their neighbourhoods. We're moving back into our old house today but I'll post about this issue ASAP, and also track down an article Thompson wrote in the '70s about the state of public libraries in recession-hit Britain.

8:23 am  

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