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"Arabists" have a point... but their position is intended to stultify, not enhance, scholarship

Reader comment on item: Arabist Snobs

Submitted by Alex Schindler (United States), Nov 23, 2011 at 12:22

The goal of their position is not a more nuanced and accurate understanding of Arabic terminology, but an academic monopoly on "truth" or "competence."

But there is certainly truth to the claim that someone who cannot comprehend the subject material without translation is beholden to the biases and inaccuracies of translators. So, everyone studying these matters SHOULD learn Arabic.

And that is part of why Daniel Pipes' expertise is so valuable. Because:

Mr. Pipes (www.DanielPipes.org), author of a grammar of the Egyptian dialect, is president of the Middle East Forum and Taube distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University. © 2011 by Daniel Pipes. All rights reserved.

That reality makes him impossible to ignore, even for the Arabists who have found a convenient acid test for dismissing their opponents.


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