On Wandering pt. II

31 December 2005 at 6:06 pm Leave a comment

So the etymology of “erratus” in the blog’s title suggests that wandering is a form of error, and vice-versa:  error is wandering, it is deviation from the acceptable path, a mistake.  From an etymological perspective, then, a wandering scholar is a scholar who is in error, who is outside of the acceptable paradigm.  Without the corrective influence of the Academy and its requirements for publication in peer-edited journals, a scholar outside of the academy will wander, will stray from proper scholarship. 

You can’t go far along this “path,” along this “line of thinking,” without thinking of the opening lines of Dante’s Divine Comedy:  “Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita/mi ritrovai per una selva oscura,/ché la diritta via era smarrita”:  “Half-way down the path of our life,” Dante starts, “I found myself in a darkened wood,/where the true path had been obscured.”  This suggests a moral dimension:  the wandering scholar has fallen away from the true path.  Like the Old English poem “The Wanderer,” he has been banished from his community and sent out into the cold, cruel world to fend for himself.

In other words, you shouldn’t listen to a word I say. . . .


Entry filed under: words.

On Wandering pt. I On Wandering pt. III

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