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Appendix A: Notes on Memorization$ 

Appendix A: Notes on Memorization

 

            Historically, due to the very high cost of books, great emphasis was placed on rote memorization. The tradition of having students and children memorize all or part of the Shorter Catechism continues today as well, and many have profited. However, this translation of the WSC is oriented toward ease of reading, not memorization. Thus, this appendix gives a few hints on how one may memorize or recite passages in this translation. Of course, one is free to develop his or her own methods.

            Perhaps the most potentially troublesome for memory or recital are bulleted lists as in the example below:

 

Q. 18. What is the sinfulness of that state into which man fell?

A. The sinfulness of that state into which men fell, consists in both:

1.     That which is commonly called original sin:

o      The guilt of Adam’s first sin

o      The lack of original righteousness

o      The corruption of his whole nature

2.     All actual transgressions that proceed from it.

 

There is a difference between bulleted lists and numbered lists; numbers imply a particular order, while bullets do not. It is thus clear that a method is needed of articulating this structure. In the original, commas or semicolons usually appeared at the line breaks; hence, one might simply pause between lines. The example below shows another way; the structure is preserved, while words in brackets are words that one might add as an aid in memory or recital. Slashes indicate alternate choices.

 

A. The sinfulness of that state into which men fell, consists in both:

[One / First] That which is commonly called original sin:

[One, Point / First, Point] The guilt of Adam’s first sin

[One, Point / First, Point] The lack of original righteousness

[One, Point / First, Point] The corruption of his whole nature

[Two / Second] All actual transgressions that proceed from it.

 

Had the above example simply defined original sin, one would have:

 

A. Original sin is:

     [Point] The guilt of Adam’s first sin

     [Point] The lack of original righteousness

     [Point] The corruption of his whole nature.

 

            In the first example above, “original sin” is emphasized. This leads to the question of how to treat quotation marks and emphasis. One choice, and probably the easiest, is a brief pause. After all, emphasis does not really change the meaning and quotations are typically obvious in context. “Quote”/“Unquote” might also be spoken where applicable.


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