In case the source of the post title or the King James English is a puzzle to some, here’s a quote (and reference to the context) and brief commentary before I get to the substance–whatever there may be–of this post:
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. From 1Corinthians 13
Of course, the “glass” seen “through… darkly” referred to above is a mirror. The “through” instead of “in” (as we would have it today) reflects both changes in language and a particular view of the world–and mirrors ion particular–common for millennia up through at least the time of the court of King James, a view common enough even in the 19th Century to make Lewis Carroll’s use of it immediately accessible to his readers. The “darkly” is a common (in the day) reference to a cloudy mirror whose silvering has become delaminated or tarnished, reflecting *cough* the Greek passage’s reference to a tarnished mirror made of polished metal.
So, “Through a glass darkly” refers to an imperfect reflection of reality.
Simple, right? It ought to be obvious from context, but many people seem today to make the silly assumption that it refers to looking through a window in some manner.
Sidebar: I view anyone who cannot read and grasp the language of the KJV Bible or Shakespeare’s plays and poems in (close to*) Shakespeare’s language to be at best semi-literate. At best. These two bodies of work are simply the best literature in the English language and worthy of being grasped on their own terms.
Now, to whatever scraps of meat there may be in this post.
I was treated this AM to a brief glimpse–on two levels, which led to more that aren’t germane to this post–into the meaning of this excerpt from the famous Pauline passage. First, from this post at Ann Althouse’s blog (go ahead and read it for context if you will), two comments:
Oh, and by the way, as you sit at your COMPUTER to read this, remember what conditions it was produced under & think again about those evil, slave-holding, cotton producing, antebellum Southerners.
That’s you in the mirror.
Your computer comes with a mirror?
Strangely, the computer I was sitting at when I read the second comment was–dimmly–acting as a mirror. A 15.6″ glossy notebook screen in a room well-lit by direct sunlight? Mirror. *sigh*
And yes, I could see the semi-validity of the first comment, although the commenter’s analogy was seriously flawed. I’m more in the position of those (often British and Northern) consumers who wore cotton clothing made from slave-produced cotton exported for manufacture into other goods than the position of a slave-owning Antebellum Southerner (of whom the South had relatively few compared to its general population of free persons).
Yes, I benefit from the “Made by slave labor in China” effect, though the computer I was having my face reflected by was not produced with very many “made in China” parts and pretty much contained only a few materials derived from Chinese slave labor–mostly the rare earths materials exported by China and used in products used in America primarily because the “feddle gummint” makes mining and refining our own resources prohibitively expensive.
Still, what are my choices?
Well, at least I won’t be buying any Apple products. *heh*
*OK, so what’s the deal with “Shakespeare’s plays and poems in (close to*) Shakespeare’s language”? Simple. We have editions of Shakespeare’s plays which may or may not reflect accurately what was originally written, and though we have substantial evidence of Shakespeare’s work to go by, even less evidence of his actual work than we have textual evidence concerning differing versions of biblical works. “Close to” is good enough, though, to let us benefit from the richness of Shakespeare’s work, regardless of who the author was (another can of worms that doesn’t matter any more than it matters “which” Homer–if any–wrote Odysseus *heh*).