Re: That Jowett "graffito"

Jeffrey Gibson (
Thu, 31 Oct 1996 23:54:08 -600 (CST)

On Thu, 31 Oct 1996, Edgar M. Krentz wrote:

> I have been interested to see the evidence of oral tradition and memory in
> the transmission of the Jowett "graffito." I have still another version to
> add to the list:
> First come I; my name is Jowett.
> There's no knowledge but I know it.
> I am master of this college:
> What I don't know isn't knowledge.
> The writer Ved Mehta cited this version in his article "What shall I read?
> An Oxford Memoir," THE AMERICAN SCHOLAR 62 (1993) 59.
> He said that Jowett's Balliol colleague Henry Charles Beeching pennd the
> poem as given above. Add it to the anecdote collection--and see how the
> oral tradion, always lively among college students, handed it on in variant
> manner.
> Given the rhyme, I don't what it suggests about how to pronounce the
> name--since I also cannot reproduce in my mind the British pronunciation of
> know it.
> Edgar Krentz, New Testament
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The British pronunciation of "know it" would be like "Hoe it" or "show
it", and this lends credence, if the grafitto is accurate and if the
last word in the second line was intended to rhyme exactly with the
last word of the first (i.e., Jowett), to the assertion made in a
previous post that Jowett's name was indeed pronounced "JOE it".

Jeffrey Gibson