The Problem with Prolegomena

The problem with prolegomena is that they are out of place.

Prolegomena are the things that must be said at the very beginning, before anything else.  They are the intellectual throat-clearing before meat of the matter, the logical foundations upon which later assertions will be based.  Karl Barth defined prolegomena as the explanation of the path to knowledge (in his case, in the field of dogmatic theology, but it could be taken more generally).  The prolegomena explain how the study of a subject ought to proceed, with what method, on what assumptions, in order to succeed at its intended task.  But the problem, with due apologies to Rodgers and Hammerstein, is that we never do start at the very beginning. (more…)


Christ is risen!

It is customary in many churches, in many languages, for Christians to greet each other on Easter with the affirmation that Christ has risen from the dead.  Here are some of the languages used for the greeting; you can think of this as an Easter appendix to Omniglot with a phrase more useful than “my hovercraft is full of eels.”

Greek: Χριστὸς ἀνέστη!  (Christos anesti!)
Syriac: ܡܫܝܚܐ ܩܡ (mshiho qom/mshiha qam)
Latin: Christus surrexit!
Armenian: Քրիստոս յարեաւ! (K’ristos yareav/K’risdos hariav)
Arabic: المسيح قام (al-masih qom)
Hebrew: המשיח קם (hammashiah qam)
English: Christ is risen!
French: Le Christ est ressucité!
German : Christus ist auferstanden!
Italian: Cristo é risorto!
Russian: Христос Воскресе! (Hristos voskres)
Maltese: Il-Mulej qam!
Valley: Christ, like, is totally risen.

A navigable list of many more languages is here.

Of course, one’s ability to use this as a greeting (with its conventional response, “He is risen indeed!”) depends in part on being introduced to it.  This was alien to my upbringing, and the first time after my conversion that someone greeted me with “Christ is risen!” I responded, “Yeah, I know!  Pretty cool, ain’t it?”