Unit 7 A Few Kind Words for Superstition
Text Explanation Part I
About the Author
Robertson Davies(1913-19
  95), One of Canada's foremost writers of plays, novels, and satire. He was educated at Upper Canada College, Queen's University, and earned a degree in literature from Oxford. In 1961, he was appointed Master of Massey College at the University of Toronto and remained at that post until his retirement.
Text Structure
? ? ? ? Section 1: Paragraph 1-2 Section 2: Paragraphs 3-6 Section 3: Paragraph 7-11 Section 4: Paragraphs 12
Text Analysis
? In the first section the author tells of people's different reactions to superstition and the rampant superstition among learned people. The second section serves as a description of the four manifestations of superstition. The third section is an analysis of the history and characteristics of superstition. The last section concludes the whole essay.
Paragraph 0 (introduction part)
? "A Few kind Words for Superstitions" originally appeared in Newsweek magazine(Nov.20, 19
  78). Looking closely at why some people believe in magic and chance, Davies divides superstition into categories for the purpose of analyzing this complex topic. The four divisions he presents are certainly familiar to most of us, though few of us have taken time to label them. In taking a rational approach to what many people consider to be an irrational subject, Davis offers some fascinating observations about human nature.
Paragraph 1
? ...superstition does not figure largely as a serious challenge to reason or science. ? ...but superstition is merely deplored ? Is it because it has an unacknowledged hold on so many of us?
the period of European history at the close of the Middle Ages and the rise of the modern world; a cultural rebirth from the 14th through the middle of the 17th centuries文艺复兴 the revival of learning and culture; rebirth Leonardo da Vinci is a famous artist in the Italian Renaissance. 利奥纳多?达?芬奇是意大利文
? ? ? ? not consistent with or using reason Their actions may be qualified as irrational.他们 的行动可视为无理性的。 He had an irrational belief that everybody was his enemy.他有个荒谬的信念,以为人人都是他 的仇敌。 There was always the irrational hope that he might be taken for a pure Spaniard他总还抱着 个幻想,希望人家会当他是纯粹的西班牙 人血统。
? judge to be probable; be or play a part of or in; imagine; conceive of; see in one's mind; make a mathematical calculation or computation; understand
? superstition does not figure largely as a serious challenge to reason or science.
? phenomena that appear to contradict physical laws and suggest the possibility of causation by mental processes心灵学;超心理学;通灵学 ? Some scientists relegate parapsychology to the sphere of quackery.一些科学家把灵学归类到
? Parapsychology is a knowlege studying on various human psychic phenomenon.超心理学是研究心
? continuous and profound contemplation or musing on a subject or series of subjects of a deep or abstruse nature; (religion) contemplation of spiritual matters (usually on religious or philosophical subjects)沉思,冥想 ? In meditation there is no failure, only feedback.冥
? Meditation posture can stimulate your body energy.
? education that results in understanding and the spread of knowledge;教化;启迪; a movement in the 18th century that advocated the use of reason in the reappraisal of accepted ideas and social institutions 启蒙运动 ? Meditation isn't just for people seeking spiritual enlightenment.冥想并不仅仅是人们寻求心灵
? What enlightenment can you get from the text?你
? express strong disapproval of ? Some praise him, whereas others condemn him.有 些人赞扬他,而有些人谴责他。 ? If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
? His anger, condemn and jealousy will be erupted like volcano.他积压的愤怒、妒忌和谴责会象
? express strong disapproval of; regret strongly ? What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?你自
? And we deplore the violence against innocent civilians anywhere that it takes place.我们强烈反
对发生在世界任何地方的针对无辜平民的 暴力。
Paragraph 2
? Few people will admit to being superstitious; it implies naivete or ignorance. But I live in the middle of a large university, and I see superstition in its four manifestations, alive and flourishing among people who are indisputably rational and learned.
? showing ignorance of the laws of nature and faith in magic or chance ? Gamblers and adventurers are generally superstitious.赌徒和冒险家往往很迷信。 ? The superstitious regard it as a bad omen.迷信的 人认为那是一种恶兆。 ? I'm not usually superstitious,but yesterday was a VERY unlucky day.我通常并不迷信,但昨天 实在运气太不好了。
? (n.)lack of sophistication or worldliness ? I like the naivete of children and living simply.我喜 欢小孩子的纯真和平淡从容的生活. ? He finds the naivete of the young officer very engaging .他觉得这位青年军官那种天真烂漫
? naive (adj.) ? I remember in 1997, when I was a naive child.记得 1997年,那时我还是一个不懂事的孩子。
? a clear appearance ? Language is both the carrier and main manifestation of culture.语言是文化的载体,是文化的主要表
? The special type of appendicitis has the special clinical manifestation.特殊类型阑尾炎有特殊的
? Are these not the manifestation of God's power?这
? having or showing vigorous vegetal or animal life ? The clothing industry here is flourishing.这里的服
? When industry moves away,a flourishing town may quickly become decadent.工业迁走时,一个繁
? He came to Shanghai, the flourishing metropolis, to search for a developing opportunity.他来到上海,
? undoubtedly, not open to question; obviously true ? The choices are indisputably difficult, and Mr.Obama may be trying to keep his options open.
奥巴马面临着艰难的抉择,也许他是希望 他的选择可以更公开。
? This painting is indisputably one of his finest works.
? having or showing profound knowledge; highly educated; having extensive information or understanding ? The learned are the most modest.有学问的人是 很谦虚的。 ? Greetings, learned judge! 您好,博学的法官!
Paragraph 3
? You did not know that superstition takes four forms? Theologians assure us that it does. First is what they call Vain Observances, such as not walking under a ladder, and that kind of thing. Yet I saw a deeply learned prosessor of anthropology, who had spilled some salt, throwing a pinch of it over his left shoulder; when I asked him why, he replied, with a wink, that it was "to hit the Devil in the eye," I did not question him further about his belief in the Devil; But I noticed that he did not smile until I asked him what he was doing.
? n.someone who is learned in theology or who speculates about theology神学者 ? theology: the rational and systematic study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truth ? What is the Discipline of Biblical Theology?圣经神学是怎样 的一门学科? ? Any theologian worth his salt will tell you that you cannot have faith in God without it affecting your moral behaviour.任何一位 称职的神学家,会告诉你,你对上帝虔信,绝不可能 不发生影响,促成道德上的行为。
? the act of observing; taking a patient look; a formal event performed on a special occasion; the act of noticing or paying attention; conformity with law or custom or practice etc. ? The worker was praised for his observance of the rules.这个工人因为严格遵守规则而受到了表
? Mother's Day was proclaimed a day for national observance by President Woodrow Wilson in 19
  15.母 亲节作为一个全国性的节日是伍德罗.威尔逊 总统于1915年宣布的。
? n.the social science that studies the origins and social relationships of human beings人类学 ? Anthropology is the study of human beings人类学
? I can't decide whether to take anthropology or geology this term.我不能决定这学期是选人类
? a slight but appreciable addition; a small sharp bite or snip; a squeeze with the fingers ? I can lend you money in a pinch.在紧要关头我可
? Chinese real estate developers have been feeling the pinch.中国的开发商早已感受到压力。
? closing one eye quickly as a signal ? She threw him a wink and stepped out.她朝他眨
? Time passed by in the wink of the eye.一般用在开 头,时光飞逝的英语大家提供点. ? Maybe I should wink to get her attention.也许我应
Paragraph 4
? The second form is Divination, or consulting oracles. Another learned professor I know, who would scorn to settle a problem by tossing a coin( which is a humble appeal to Fate to declare itself), told me quite seriously that he has resollved a matter related to university affairs by consulting the I Ching. And why not? There are thousands of people on this continent who appeal to I Ching, and their general level of education seems to absolve them of superstition. Almost, but not quite. The I Ching, to the embarrassment of rationalists, often gives excellent advice.
? successful conjecture by unusual insight or good luck; a prediction uttered under divine inspiration; the art or gift of prophecy (or the pretense of prophecy) by supernatural means占卜,预言 ? Divination is made up of a little error and superstition, plus a lot of fraud .占卜是由一些谬
? In Russia, there's a Christmas divination that involves candles.在俄罗斯,蜡烛中会笼罩着
? an authoritative person who divines the future; a prophecy (usually obscure or allegorical) revealed by a priest or priestess; believed to be infallible; a shrine where an oracular god is consulted ? The Lord whose oracle is at Delphi neither speaks nor conceals, but gives a sign.居住在德尔斐的神谕既
? The most famous oracle resided in the shrine of Apollo at Delphi, located on the slopes of Mount Parnassus.最
著名先知驻所是在希腊古城特尔斐帕那萨斯山 上的阿波罗神殿。
? (n.) lack of respect accompanied by a feeling of intense dislike; open disrespect for a person or thing (v.) look down on with disdain ? All these indeed held to our scorn.我们真的不得
? The artist looked at her with scorn.艺术家以“蔑
? His suggestion was dismissed with scorn.他的建
? (n.) the trait of being resolute (v.) bring to an end; settle conclusively ? How can you resolve trouble? 怎样可以解决烦
? We must keep our resolve.我们必须保持决心。 ? George Washington was a man of great resolve.乔 治?华盛顿是一个非常刚毅的人。
appeal to
? 对…有吸引力;呼吁;要求;上诉 ? Bright colours appeal to children.孩子喜欢鲜艳
? Your only remedy is to appeal to law.你的惟一补
? Bright colours appeal to small children.小孩子对
? grant remission of a sin to ? This cannot absolve you from all responsibility.这 并不能解除你的全部责任. ? He cannot entirely absolve himself of the charge.他
? Time is our real dominator ,and he will never absolve you.时间是我们真正的统治者,它永
Paragraph 5
? The third form is Idolatry and universities can show plenty of that. If you have ever supervised a large examination room, you know how many jujus, lucky coins, and other bringers of luck are placed on the desks of the candidates. Modest idolatry, but what else can you call it?
? religious zeal; the willingness to serve God; the worship of idols; the worship of images that are not God ? The queen was adored to the point of idolatry .女王


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