Thomas E. Peck and concise writing

Discussion in 'The Literary Forum' started by Reformed Covenanter, Dec 2, 2019.

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  1. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritanboard Commissioner

    I am a great believer that conciseness is a mark of maturity. As the biographer of Thomas E. Peck observed:

    His style, both in speaking and writing, underwent a change as he passed from youth to age … The longer sentences which distinguished his style at first grew compact and often curt in his later work.

    Clement R. Vaughan, ‘Biographical Sketch of Dr. T. E. Peck’ in Miscellanies of Rev. Thomas E. Peck, D.D., LL.D., Professor of Theology in the Union Theological Seminary in Virginia, ed. T. C. Johnson (3 vols, Richmond VA: The Presbyterian Committee of Publication, 1895-97), 3: 18.

    N.B. If someone writes a looooooooooong post on PB, I am nearly always less inclined to read it.
  2. RPEphesian

    RPEphesian Puritan Board Junior

  3. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    “I apologize for such a long letter - I didn't have time to write a short one.” Mark Twain
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  4. Phil D.

    Phil D. Puritan Board Junior

    So this is derived from Vol. 3 on concise writing..?? o_O And what about the very lengthy and detailed writings of many early Reformed divines?

    Of course I've been known for some lengthy writings myself... But I think appropriate length largely depends on the subject matter and intended audience. Consider this thought on apologetical writing from Thomas Sherlock (1678–1761; Anglican; Bishop of London):

    Objections built on popular notions and prejudices are easily conveyed to the mind in few words; and so conveyed, make strong impressions. But whoever answers the objections must encounter all the notions to which they are allied, and to which they owe their strength: and it is well if with many words he can find admittance.

    (The Tryal of the Witnesses of the Resurrection of Jesus {1729}, [Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1843], 66.)
  5. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritanboard Commissioner

    Most of the writings in those volumes are concise.

    Some works are immoderately long. However, it is possible to write multi-volume works that do not come across as unnecessarily bloated. Francis Turretin, for instance, writes concisely and does not waste words despite his Institutes comprising of three substantial volumes.
  6. Phil D.

    Phil D. Puritan Board Junior

    Well, thanks for writing a few more words to qualify your original statement... ;)

    I do know what you mean. On the other hand one of my pet peeves are the all too frequent drive-by assertions that get made on this board...
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