Best of the blogs: taking on Trithemius

October 6, 2009

trithemius-smallMost of you were fascinated by Trithemius’ rant treatise on print. Expressions explains that it’s a “powerful tactic to use a Holy entity as an incentive to coerce others into sharing similar beliefs.” Tahreem’s Lit sees Trithemius as bit of a control freak and uses his extreme reaction to remind us that a new technology does not replace older ones. I’d qualify that a bit: don’t new technologies at least modify our use and understandings of the role of previous ones? Yes, handwriting is still with us, but scribal publication is not (unless grocery lists count).  And speaking of publication, Literature? , reflecting on Trithemius’s use of the term “herald,” wonders about the efficacy of spreading the Christian message through sitting in a cell (see my comments there for my thoughts).  LitBlogger, knows how the cell-bound monks feel, equating all that tedious copying with her own paper (and blog!) writing.  Oh dear!  Jewelianne updates Trithemius by commenting on today’s Christian technologies.  As she reflects on his disdain for the “new” print books, she wonders if her prejudices against e-books will ever change.   Many of you, in fact, saw parallels between your own attitude toward digital culture and his toward print.

But it wasn’t just Trithemius’ perceived technophobia that got you buzzing: Literary Adventures notes that it’s all about the hands—what they should and should not (!) be doing…with a bizarrely appropriate nod to Futurama.  Similarly, Two Weeks from Everywhere gives his post a title that has to be this week’s best: “Hands, touchin hands, Reachin out, Touchin me, Touchin You” (ahem…) followed by the disclaimer: “Once again, what follows contains allusions to debauched and immoral behavior.”   Read at your own risk. Nonetheless, he makes a serious point about the ramifications of the culture of obedience Trithemius imposes.

Tired of Trithemius? Reflecting on Chartier’s history of reading, Th3Giv3r reflects on the psychodynamics of being locked (too long?) in the library.


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