Two Questions Really:1: do you know what the sentences refer to? 2: ever seen so many commas?
"a complete system on things of a moral and spiritual order, yet it can not be considered either as a philosophy or as a religion; I mean to say, it rests, apparently at least, neither upon reason nor upon inspiration or authority. Like most of the systems of the Middle Ages, it is the fruit of the union of these two intellectual powers"
Essentially different from religious belief, under the power, and one can say, under the protection of which, it was born, it introduced itself, thanks to peculiar forms and processes, unnoticed into the minds."
I don't know what text this is a part of, but it's beyond my intellect. I hope the person who originally wrote it knew what he meant. Unless he just wanted to impress himself with his ability to slap some phrases on the paper to make himself look too smart to understand.
In my younger days I used to read many philosophers' works and with some of them I got myself equally lost in the maze of phraseology and academic cosmetics. But then again, maybe other philosophers knew exactly what he meant, and the text was too deep for me to grasp.
As for so many commas, on a humorous side, maybe the author of the above text was dictating it to someone who wrote it for him, so every time he took a breath, the writer put a comma.
Val, I will give you the link from where the clutter came from. Yeah, I agree the author, trying to dictate aloud with pauses during breathing, caused the scribe to punctuate thusly?
Funny thing, I was unaffected by the quantity, and was able 2 C It.
Once upon a time comma rules were not well codified, and so it was up to the author to put them in where they seemed right. Often this meant putting them in at natural pauses or breaths in the sentence.
Take the opening line of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice for example: "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife."
Written today, we would omit the commas in that sentence.
Or how about this blurb from Thomas Jefferson from his Statute of Religious Freedom: "Whereas Almighty God hath created the mind free; that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens, or by civil incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the Holy author of our religion, who being Lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was in his almighty power to do;"
It is punctuated based upon how it would be spoken.
Over time we have developed codified rules for comma usage and have tended to omit them more and more.
As far as I can tell, your passage is a translation from a book written in the 19th century. The comma usage probably fits the time and nature of the work. Much of it is parenthetical - stuff we might today put in parenthesis. You could change the punctuation of the last sentence to this: " Essentially different from religious belief (under the power of (and one can say under the protection of) which it was born), it introduced itself (thanks to peculiar forms and processes) unnoticed into the minds."
That might make more sense to a modern reader, though, it is still stylistically different from what we are used to. I think a lot of older writing was strongly influenced by oration, which just isn't the case these days.
Regarding the comma usage I agree with Junkseller's point of view. I can add to that with once I took a writing class and we use to do a writing exercise. It simply was whenever a new thought occurred to end the last with a comma and not pay attention to creating paragraphs.
It was when edited that sentence structure took place while creating the parenthetical. Ultimately as writers we seek to convey a message. That can be a short thought process or one of length. Adding too I at times use . . . for a long pause before a new thought.
Also, a good point to ponder is the audience. For me my muse comes to mind when writing. I know . . . I know that may be thought of as archaic. But, to whom is the writing actually focused? That is somewhat singular in form though not of format.
What is interesting to me is we as readers with emphasis as writers tend to have a lean of editing as we read. That may be somewhat innate or natural. I know for me I at times lose the meaning of a writing when I change things in my mind. I lose the intent of the author.
I can fathom a guess with the meaning of the thoughts shared with the quote as I see it. Firstly, I consider order and structure of clauses . . .
A complete system is the subject focused on moral and spiritual order
Contrast/compare meanings as philosophical 'or' religious being of difference
Instead of 'I mean to say' I insert 'perhaps'. Next as I interpret with meaning is 'its weight as truth (Alluded to being religious or philosophical) followed with having 'doubt(s)' while is not reliant upon reasoning (Cognitive thought) or inspiration (Intuitiveness) or from a reliable source. In other words it just is as is . . . is so.
The middle ages relied on religious authority before the age of enlightenment when philosophy spurted with difference between the rational and experiential seeking justification for knowledge as a truth be that existence, reality, or God.
There was contrast with a priori and a posteriori justifications while Kant's view with those synthesized is at task too. There is inference to the ontological and with tautology or the author is very familiar with formal philosophy. He is very familiar with the theology of that era as well. I would look to Thomas Aquinas for support for the reasoning of a marriage of those two as one.
He concludes IMHO that no matter all the preceding what arrives simply arrives while from where is of no consequence since it is . . . as is . . . is so.
This is the source of the sentences I asked the question about.
The Kabbalah or, The Religious Philosophy of the Hebrews
by Adolphe Franck
translated by I. Sossnitz
[1926, not renewed]
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