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In Chinese too we have to deal with a continuous lexicographical tradition going back at least to the - 3rd century.
Indeed we find from time to time whole clusters of technical terms which mutually illuminate each other.
Daunting difficulties of course remain. A discovery or an invention may appear under various terminological disguises. Worse still, the term may continue though the thing changes.
Such problems can only be solved by the comparison of as many texts as possible. A probable conclusion, if not certainty, usually emerges. Mistakes which have been made in the past about technical terms in Chinese texts have generally been due to the fact that scholars had neither the desire nor the time nor the necessary knowledge of the natural sciences to pin down the terms in this way.
But the present generation of sinologists is rapidly repairing this position.
In some fields, such as alchemy and pharmacy, Chinese writings contain the same bewildering abundance of synonyms as in the West, and no doubt for the same reason, precisely in order to bewilder the uninitiated.
It is likely that the Kuan Tzu book stems from them. Here again the juxtaposition of many texts is the only way-so far as we are aware, the expression huo yao 1 never once occurs in such a connection that it cannot mean that mixture of various proportions of sulphur, saltpetre and charcoal which in the medieval time it undoubtedly does.
If seng thieh4 does not mean cast iron, if shu thieh S does not mean wrought iron, if kang 6 Not the final chhii 665 not mean steel as indeed they all still do in China todaynone of the texts makes sense; conversely all make sense. A very distinguished critic complained of our second volume that it made the sayings of ancient Chinese philosophers sensible.
For philosophers of course we would hardly dare stand guarantee, but where the practical men were concerned, the reckoners and star-clerks, the leeches, the miners and the ironmasters, there can be no possible doubt.
If one cannot be sure of the details of the Mohist specifications for crossbow-artillery,! Even then, if one can once be quite sure what the ancient author was talking about, the whole pattern becomes clear and emendations may follow of themselves; such was the case, for example, with the root extraction methods of the Chiu Chang Suan Shu.
It figures prominently in Sections 40 and 41 below. Though there is no substitute for original freshness, we have done our best to use the deep-freeze technique, so that a quotation may come to life as much as possible when warmed by the friendly imagination of the reader.
If many brackets are interspersed among our translated sentences, this is not because of excessive vagueness in the text itself, but because Indo-Europeans have to supply inflections and to add particles and other words, with which the laconic Chinese dispenses, to make the passage readable.
Grammar and sentence-construction differ. Here considerable judgment, based on the knowledge of many parallel and relevant texts, may sometimes be required. Yet far from being vague, many of the Chinese statements are marvels of crystalline compression for outstanding examples cf.
Although so much is said of the ambiguity of classical Chinese we can remember surprisingly few passages where indelible doubt remained concerning the nature of the scientific proposition which the original intended to convey, or the technological process which it was discussing; parallel passages always being taken into account.
Of course the information given is sometimes not as adequate as one would like, and the epigrammatic brevity of Confucian scholars has its faults where practical matters are concerned.
Though all translators may be traitors, the duty of translation has at least the merit that it forces decisions about meanings, provisional though they may have to be. A historian writing in his own language may quote an ancient text as general evidence for his argument without really explaining it or elucidating its technical terms.
But when such a passage has to be translated into another language it is no longer possible to proceed in this way.
When Chang Heng is being englished-or Aristotle sinifiedmeanings and implications can no longer be left open; all linguistic interpretation is in fact necessarily the exposition of content. Indeed one might say that many technical texts of great interest first found their voice only in having to put on a different dress.
Chinese scholars, newly conscious of this, are now beginning to make admirable versions in modern Chinese of some of their own ancient and medieval works.
One minor matter may also be mentioned. Everyone who translates Chinese texts into other languages meets with difficulty in rendering the numerous official titles therein.Exams & Quizzes Class Notes Flashcards Videos Job Center *NEW* Textbook Finder Schedule Maker GPA Calculator Study Break Universities» Liberty University (LU)» CHHI - Church History» - .
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Home Essays Not The Final CHHII Not The Final CHHII Topics: Baptist and not evolving with the times” I will always uphold the word of God as authoritative and surmise that it has the final say in all matters. Thank God and our forefathers for their contribution to our religious freedom and liberties.
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