Friday, March 03, 2006

Word Search

Alright, all you living-thesaurs types. Luke and I need your help. Over the last few weeks, we have been looking for the right words to describe a couple of relationships. Can you help us?

1. What do you call the person who is an academic muse and intellectual mentor, but you've never met them or worked with them? For example, if I ever did pursue that Bible PhD, I might want to follow in the tradition of say, Phyllis Trible*. Her writings would be a kind of standard for my own work, I would want to review her work every few years to renew my own track - a kind of "follwing in the footsteps." What word do I use to describe her in that case?

2. What is the word for someone who is doing exactly the kind of thing you want to be doing at this point, except that they are actually doing it? Its like encountering your more-accomplished, more-ambitious twin. "Nemesis" comes to mind... but that definitely isn't it.

I miss boot camp on days like these.

*In case anyone is wondering, Dr. Tribble is only an example. As much I think her stuff is brilliant, its not actually the tradition I would place myself in.


Mark said...

Our newsletter editor suggests:

1) role model
2) doppelganger (but that really refers to physical appearance)

And sent this link:

Ryan said...

1) Guru; academic progenitor.

2) Hero; faster than I am; irritating; source of envy; the standard; forerunner.


Susie said...

doppelganger had occured to me too - but if you meet your doppelganger, isn't the world supposed to explode or something?

And, R - I love your new icon.

Laura said...

1. Future Dissertation Advisor

2. Special Motivator

Baruch Grazer said...

1. For particular projects, I've used the phrase, "methodological muse" (coined, I think, by my friend Matt). There's a guy who did, in the book of Mark, something like what I am trying to do in Daniel: he is something of a "methodological muse" for me; where I differ from him in method, I also have a methodological muse for that aspect of my project. For the broad sense that you describe, hm, I usually just describe my stuff using their last name plus a suffix: "Triblesque" for "like Trible"; or "Seovanic" for "like Seow."

2. An inspiration (after morning coffee); a annoying louse (before morning coffee).

Anonymous said...

1) Here's a simple word, "influence." I like this word because it allows for the important person in question to have a significant impact on you in a way that does not constrain your future. There are ways that you would want to differentiate yourself from Trible. She would want that too.

2) "Inspiration" also came to mind. How about "conscience"? People who function in this way for me often haunt me like one. OR "An Able for my Cain" (Damn sibling/rival who always gets it right).