Steiner's definitions

Staudenmaier's reading comprehension

 

From: Detlef Hardorp
Date: Wed Apr 7, 2004 3:16 am
Subject: Staudenmaier's reading comprehension

Daniel recently wrote that the reading comprehension of PS is at the level of 10th graders. I disagree. With the reading comprehension shown in post 4099, he wouldn't pass an elementary school reading comprehension test!

Have a look at these examples!

__________________________

PS wrote:

Since you admit that Hauptrasse can mean root race, and since you admit that it is not true that Hauptrasse must mean main race, everything you have said so far on the topic is nonsense.

"..it is not true that Hauptrasse *must* mean main race.."?!? Of course "Hauptrasse" must mean "main race"! That is the direct translation of the word.

Anyone who "admits" "that it is not true that Hauptrasse *must* mean main race" either doesn't have an elementary comprehension of German and English or can't think straight!

I certainly never claimed that "it is not true that Hauptrasse *must* mean main race". The guy can't read!

_______________________________________

DH wrote:

Thus "root races" and "principal races" (in the sense of "coloured races") are two quite different concepts.

PS responded:

Yep. They're just not two quite different terms.

Fascinating! Here someone agrees that "root races" and "principle races" are two quite different concepts, but are "not two quite different terms". This is beginning to sound like gibberish to me.
________________________________________

DH wrote:

We have also agreed that they can both be referred to as "main races": the former are "main races" in the Theosophical tradition, the latter are "main races" in the sense that races were written about in high school textbooks around 1910.

PS responded:

Sure. And they're also both 'root races'. Is that a little too complex for you?

"Sure": he agrees that "main races" refer to two different concepts. He had agreed previously that there is no 1-1 correspondence between "root races" and races in the sense of "coloured races" (message 4018). So they cannot both be "root races"!

It is not too complex to realise that he is now writing complete gibberish.

_____________________

PS wrote:

Hauptrassen" can mean "root races" just as well as it can mean "main races", hence your claim that only one of the two translations is acceptable is plainly false.

I never claimed "that only one of the two translations is acceptable"!

I wrote that "Hauptrasse" (which ALWAYS means "main race") can denote either "root race" (in the context of "Cosmic Memory") or "principle race" ("Grundrasse") in the context Steiner uses it in his "Mission..." book, i.e. "coloured races" and the "white race".

Which translation is acceptable depends on the context. A translator that stays close to the actual German word by using "main race" will always be correct. I recommend this literal translation for future translators!

_____________________________________

Dottie commented PS's response in message 4102:

Peter Peter Peter, it is more than just reading words man. ....

Of course she is right, it is more than just reading words. But the man can't even read the words correctly! This is more pathological than I had previously believed.

Detlef Hardorp

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From: Peter Staudenmaier
Date: Wed Apr 7, 2004 10:41 am
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Staudenmaier's reading comprehension

Detlef writes:

"Hauptrasse" must mean "main race"! That is the direct translation of the word.

I'm afraid you've got that backwards, Detlef. "Hauptrasse" is a direct translation of "root race".

Here someone agrees that "root races" and "principle races" are two quite different concepts, but are "not two quite different terms".

Indeed. Perhaps you have never encountered the distinction between terms and concepts before.

So they cannot both be "root races"!

Obviously they are both 'root races'. The term has multiple meanings. That's sorta the point, y'know?

I never claimed "that only one of the two translations is acceptable"!

Then why do you insist that one of them is a mistake?

I wrote that "Hauptrasse" (which ALWAYS means "main race") can denote either "root race" (in the context of "Cosmic Memory") or "principle race" ("Grundrasse") in the context Steiner uses it in his "Mission..." book, i.e. "coloured races" and the "white race".

But he uses it in *both* contexts in Cosmic Memory. You really aren't paying attention here, are you? By the way, could you explain why you simultaneously believe that Hauptrasse always means main races, *and* that it can denote root race? Did this contradiction not occur to you earlier?

Which translation is acceptable depends on the context.

Not if the context directly refutes your own personalized reading of the text. Demanding that translators share your private idiosyncrasies, and accusing them of mistakes when they do not, is foolish.

A translator that stays close to the actual German word by using "main race" will always be correct.

Except for the inconvenient fact that the actual German word was itself already a direct translation of the English term 'root race'.

I recommend this literal translation for future translators!

Aside from the problem that your preference is hardly literal, do you really mean that you simply "recommend" this preference? Or do you still think that any other rendering is a "mistake"? Or do you believe that your preferences determine what counts as a "mistake" in the first place? That would certainly explain a lot.

Yours for reading comprehension,

Peter

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From: Tarjei Straume
Date: Wed Apr 7, 2004 11:02 am
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Staudenmaier's reading comprehension

Detlef:

Here someone agrees that "root races" and "principle races" are two quite different concepts, but are "not two quite different terms".

Peter S:

Indeed. Perhaps you have never encountered the distinction between terms and concepts before.

Oxford English Reference Dictionary, Oxford University Press, Revised second edition 2002:

term n. &. v. - n. 1 a word used to express a definite concept, esp. in a particular branch of study etc. ("a technical term")

Tarjei:

Peter, we already know that your definitions don't match those of dictionaries, but don't expect us to respond to the gibberish that results from the confusion you are trying to create thereby.

Tarjei

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From: Deborah
Date: Wed Apr 7, 2004 9:47 am
Subject: Staudenmaier's reading comprehension

I have a request. Would Detlef Hardorp or Daniel Hindes be willing to repost two basic bits of material?

1) Peter's original commentary on the lecture under discussion
2) The actual passage from the lecture in German and English

I think this argument has come very far from its roots. I've lost track of the point and I suspect that everyone else except from the two D.H.'s and PS have too.

Thanks in advance.

Deborah

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From: Detlef Hardorp
Date: Wed Apr 7, 2004 3:36 pm
Subject: Staudenmaier's reading comprehension

Wow, I didn't think we could could steep this low!

I had written:

"Hauptrasse" must mean "main race"! That is the direct translation of the word.

PS responded:

I'm afraid you've got that backwards, Detlef. "Hauptrasse" is a direct translation of "root race".

Someone asked for the original quotes in German and English. I'll leave that to somebody else. The nitty-gritty concerns three words:

1. Wurzelrassen
2. Grundrassen
3. Hauptrassen

The English translations are:

1. root races
2. principal races
3. main races

Anyone can check in the tiniest of dictionaries that
a. Rasse = race
b. Wurzel = root
c. Grund = basic, principal
d. Haupt = main

Thus the direct (i.e. literal, lexical) translation of "root races" is "Wurzelrassen". This is the word Steiner uses when talking about the Theosophical "root races". Blavatsky wrote in English and used "root races". Steiner wrote and spoke in German and used "Wurzelrassen".

As this concept is fundamental to Theosophical thinking, the seven "root races" have also been referred to as the seven "main races". Similarly in German, the seven "Wurzelrassen" have been referred to as the seven "Hauptrassen". It is not exactly unusual to refer to the fundamental concepts as "main" concepts.

But the "main" something can be quite different in different contexts!

So when American high school textbooks talk about the five basic or principle races of mankind (the black, yellow, brown, red and white race), they may very well refer to them as "main races" also. But they are obviously not talking about the seven "root races" of Theosophy!

Similarly, when Rudolf Steiner talks about the five basic or principle races ("Grundrassen") in his "Mission ..." book (referring explicitly to the black, yellow, brown, red and white race), he refers to these as "main races" at least once. But this does not automatically mean that he is now talking about Theosophical "root races" as some nit-wits still want us to believe!

To make it absolutely clear: to translate "Hauptrasse" with "root race" in a context where the author is clearly not speaking or writing about the seven root races ("Wurzelrassen") of Theosophy but about the five classical "Grundrassen" (basic or principal races: the black, yellow, brown, red and white race) as also found in high school text books is plain wrong.

This can only occur when people think in words without understanding the ideas behind the words.

I can certainly vouch for the fact that this easily happens to translators! I once had to submit an authorised translation (by a state-certified translator) of my Ph.D. thesis abstract into German. My thesis was in mathematics and concerned "three dimensional manifolds". Well, the state-certified translator looked in a dictionary and found that "manifold" meant something out of the engineering realm (I think it was the equivalent of "carburator" or something like that - I just tried the translation service at http://translation2.paralink.com/ and they came up with "Sammelleitung" for manifold, yet another engineering term to do with bundled phone connections), whereas in fact it means "Mannigfaltigkeit" in topology in German and has to do with topologically twisted spaces. So I corrected the translation (there were quite a number of other mistakes in the few sentences he was supposed to translate as well), sent it back to the state-certified translator, and he redid it exactly the way I told him to (and still charged me a horrific fee for the few sentences he had not been able to translate!). This just proves a point which any decent translator knows: you cannot translate properly if you don't properly understand what the subject is about. The most fundamental errors can occur if you don't.

Translation errors abound in early translations of Steiner, as we see to this day. This is not surprising either. But they can be corrected by anyone with a good understanding of anthroposophy and of German and English.

I am getting increasingly tired of writing about this topic again and again simply because one participant on this list chooses to be so dim-witted! I hope this really was the last time.

Detlef Hardorp

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From: Peter Staudenmaier
Date: Wed Apr 7, 2004 7:19 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Staudenmaier's reading comprehension

Hi Tarjei, you wrote:

Peter, we already know that your definitions don't match those of dictionaries, but don't expect us to respond to the gibberish that results from the confusion you are trying to create thereby.

I don't find the matter particularly confusing. Steiner used the term "Hauptrasse" to refer to at least two different concepts. Blavatsky used the term "root race" to refer to a range of several related concepts. The first term is a translation of the second term. Hence the second term is an acceptable translation of the first, regardless of what individual readers might want the text to mean. Maybe you could explain what seems confusing about this?

Peter

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From: Peter Staudenmaier
Date: Wed Apr 7, 2004 8:08 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Staudenmaier's reading comprehension

Detlef writes:

Thus the direct (i.e. literal, lexical) translation of "root races" is "Wurzelrassen".

That is incorrect. There are two direct translations of "root races" in German: "Hauptrasse" and "Wurzelrasse", as well as combinations of the two. This has been the case for one hundred years. For example, the first German translation of Blavatsky's book The Secret Doctrine.

This is the word Steiner uses when talking about the Theosophical "root races".

That is incorrect. Steiner uses two words when talking about the theosophical root races: "Hauptrasse" and "Wurzelrasse". He sometimes uses both in the very same text. For example, his foundational text Aus der Akasha-Chronik (Cosmic Memory in English).

Steiner wrote and spoke in German and used "Wurzelrassen".

As well as "Hauptrasse", as Detlef himself finally conceded a while back.

As this concept is fundamental to Theosophical thinking, the seven "root races" have also been referred to as the seven "main races".

I invite Detlef to name a theosophical text in which this term is used.

Similarly in German, the seven "Wurzelrassen" have been referred to as the seven "Hauptrassen".

Quite so. This renders Detlef's argument absurd. I confess that I have no idea why this remains somehow unclear to Detlef. Would anybody else care to explain it?

To make it absolutely clear: to translate "Hauptrasse" with "root race" in a context where the author is clearly not speaking or writing about the seven root races ("Wurzelrassen") of Theosophy but about the five classical "Grundrassen" (basic or principal races: the black, yellow, brown, red and white race) as also found in high school text books is plain wrong.

That is incorrect. "Hauptrasse" is itself a translation of "root race". Theosophical texts, including Blavatsky's, refer to "root races" in descriptions of black, yellow, red, and white racial groups. Sometimes they refer to five races. Sometimes they refer to seven races. Detlef's private views on the appropriateness of such terms are irrelevant to the question of translation.

This can only occur when people think in words without understanding the ideas behind the words.

The expectation that translators must share one's personal interpretation of a given text is childish.

So I corrected the translation

That's perfectly acceptable with your own translations or with your own texts. In stark contrast, complaining that other translators (anthroposophist translators, at that) of texts by another person have made repeated "mistakes" merely because their rendering does not accord with your preferred reading, is quite frivolous.

Peter

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From: Detlef Hardorp
Date: Thu Apr 8, 2004 1:45 am
Subject: Staudenmaier's reading comprehension

I wrote:

As this concept is fundamental to Theosophical thinking, the seven "root races" have also been referred to as the seven "main races".

PS then extended an invitation:

I invite Detlef to name a theosophical text in which this term is used.

Here's one:

http://www.theosophical-society.org.uk/html/insight_articles/blavatsky_lecture_2001.html

THEOSOPHY: ITS BENEFICENT POTENTIALITIES

by Geoffrey Farthing 2001 Blavatsky Lecture

delivered at the Summer School of the Theosophical Society in England King Alfred’s College, Winchester, U. K. Sunday 29 July 2001

The Theosophical Publishing House 50 Gloucester Place, London W1U 8EA

... Theosophy tells us of the differences between sections of humanity by way of Root Races, sub-Races, families and so on. Each of these groups has an historic background and each of them is developing its own aspect of man’s constitution. The
main races of humanity develop their respective principles in due season. At this time in the 4th Round the 5th Root Race is developing the mental aspects of Kama (the 4th principle). Each Sub-Race of each Root Race is developing or has developed one or other of these aspects but the Races and Sub-Races overlap. ...

_________________________

I had written:

Thus the direct (i.e. literal, lexical) translation of "root races" is "Wurzelrassen".

PS responded:

That is incorrect. There are two direct translations of "root races" in German: "Hauptrasse" and "Wurzelrasse", as well as combinations of the two.

Man, this guy is thick! When I say "direct" I explicitly said that I meant "literal, lexical"! Please look up "literal" and "lexical" in the dictionary! The literal (i.e. lexical) translation of "root race" is "Wurzelrasse" and nothing else. Another (non-lexical) translation is "Hauptrasse". The converse does not follow from this! You need a course in logic: if rabbits can be white this does not imply that all white things are rabbits! Similarly, if "root race" can be translated as "Hauptrasse" this does not imply that the word "Hauptrasse" always refers to "root race"!

Mr. Staudenmaier: go home to your co-op bookstore and stop wasting everybody's time. I can imagine that you might do well as a bookseller, you have obviously seen a lot of books in shelves and browsed through some of them. BTW, did you ever manage to get a high school diploma? What high school and what year was that?

Dr. Hardorp

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From: Peter Staudenmaier
Date: Thu Apr 8, 2004 9:44 am
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Staudenmaier's reading comprehension

Good morning Detlef,

speaking of time travel... You helpfully quoted the "2001 Blavatsy Lecture". Are you trying to say that this 2001 lecture should have been taken into account by anthroposophist translators in 1929 and 1970? Also, by your reading, does this 2001 lecture clearly distinguish between root races and main races? If you answer yes to either question, could you explain why?

The literal (i.e. lexical) translation of "root race" is "Wurzelrasse" and nothing else.

That is false. The literal translation of "root race" is both "Hauptrasse" and "Wurzelrasse", as well as "Haupt- und Wurzelrasse" etc. I recommend you take a look at German translations of Blavatsky.

Similarly, if "root race" can be translated as "Hauptrasse" this does not imply that the word "Hauptrasse" always refers to "root race"!

I'm not sure why this hasn't dawned on you yet, but people sometimes disgree about what specific texts refer to. When such disagreements arise, there is no point in shunting them off into invented disagreements about "mistakes in translation". To follow on your own sentence above: if "root race" can be translated as "Hauptrasse", that does indeed mean that "Hauptrasse" can be translated as "root race", even in those circumstances where you might have preferred a different rendering.

Peter

delivered at the Summer School of the Theosophical Society in England King Alfred’s College, Winchester, U. K. Sunday 29 July 2001

The Theosophical Publishing House 50 Gloucester Place, London W1U 8EA

... Theosophy tells us of the differences between sections of humanity by way of Root Races, sub-Races, families and so on. Each of these groups has an historic background and each of them is developing its own aspect of man’s constitution. The
main races of humanity develop their respective principles in due season. At this time in the 4th Round the 5th Root Race is developing the mental aspects of Kama (the 4th principle). Each Sub-Race of each Root Race is developing or has developed one or other of these aspects but the Races and Sub-Races overlap.
...

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