I can’t recall when I heard that phrase, ‘citing chapter and verse’, whenever someone referred to a line of scripture. It definitely was when I was young, at least as old as my early days of attending religious school at the reform Jewish synagogue I went to in Massapequa in Long Island.
It is the basic key phrase to scholarship and honest recounting of a quotation. The cornerstone of facts and what is true.
If you are discussing the phrase ‘An eye for an eye’, for example then you would say Exodus 21: 24. Then anyone interested in what you are talking about could check it out.
It is obviously, at least to me, useless to say “The phrase ‘an eye for an eye’ is in the Bible.” That doesn’t tell me if you meant the Hebrew Scriptures, in Christian circles this is the so-called ‘Old Testament’, or the New Testament. Either way you are talking about somewhere in around 1000 to 2000 pages! How in heavens name is anyone going to find out the context of what you are talking about without the minimum of a citation, ie. Chapter and verse.
Another useless thing to do is to write something like: ‘A rose by any other name will smell as sweet, Shakespeare.” The man has written millions of words in hundreds of plays and sonnets, how on earth is anyone going to know what you mean, or if you quoted the phrase correctly if all you give is the author’s name?
A quotation without a proper citation is merely something that is supposedly attributed to some author, and it may or may not be true or accurate.
For some bizarre and foolish reason it has been the habit for American publishers, authors, and websites to have this anti-scholarship, anti-education, reverse snobbery. As if it taints you if you at all admit that you can think and read a book. It annoys me no end to see books or any kind, fiction or nonfiction, or websites that just give a quotation without any proper citation. As if the author and or editor is afraid of looking intelligent or implying that the reader is illiterate and embarrassed that they can’t read and can’t look something up in a book!
The whole reason we have Trumpisms and his fake news is because intelligent people are afraid to look intelligent and literate by refusing to present proper citations. Without proper citations as to the source of your facts then they can never be checked. Which is exactly what con men want to have happen!
So stop promoting ignorance and illiteracy!
Stop being afraid of scholars, scholarship, and education.
Put a citation for your quotations!
Be proud of your literacy and your education!
Otherwise all you have is a bunch of useless words on a page.
A great website to help promote literacy and clear thinking: quoteinvestigator.com/
Gary Jaron's musings.
In my High School Art Department someone had made an ornate sign on hung it on the wall that read: 'Ignore this sign completely.' A paradox couched in sarcasm and irony. This blog is for random musings on anything and everything that comes into my head.