The ‘learned professions’ are traditionally reckoned to be the Church, Medicine and the Law, and there seems to be no reason to add to the list. These were normal careers for university graduates throughout the Middle Ages and until the Industrial Revolution made it possible for a person who had attended a university to think of other ways of making a respectable living. They were called the ‘learned professions’ because entry to them was restricted to men who had followed a course in the humanities and were accepted as scholars. How many of today’s clergy, lawyers and doctors would consider themselves scholars is an open question, but no great harm is done by giving them the benefit of the doubt. What they have always had in common, however, has been considerable social prestige, although that of the clergy is rather less now than it was a century ago, and the requirement, as an inevitable part of their position and duty, to function as linguistic middle men, people who allowed a certain amount of professional jargon to filter through to the general public. Most of them have earned a living, often a very handsome living, by interpreting scholarly knowledge to their fellow citizens and by applying it to the task of holding society together and helping it to function.
KeywordsLearn Profession Personality Profile Religious Language Ordinary Meaning Sodium Pentobarbital Anesthesia
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