what is the true meaning of "line" and "paper" in this context?

It was, however, on a very high moral and intellectual level, and might be best described as an up-todate Christianity with Christ's ethics applied to modern problems and entirely freed from all trace of dogma. "Documentary Religion," as Davis called it, was not in his opinion religion at all. That name could only be applied to the personal product of reason and spirituality. Such was the general line of teaching, mixed up with many revelations of Nature, which was laid down in the successive books of the "Harmonial Philosophy" which succeeded "Nature's Divine Revelations," and occupied the next few years of his life. Much of the teaching appeared in a strange paper called "The Univercoelum," and much was spread by lectures in which he laid before the public the results of his revelations.

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    It's the line of approach (the broad thrust, the focus). Which appeared in an [obscure, unusual] academic paper (a scholarly treatise). Feb 10, 2020 at 17:34
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    @FumbleFingersReinstateMonica Please don't post answers as comments, it breaks the format of the site because they can't be edited or properly voted on.
    – IMSoP
    Feb 10, 2020 at 18:11
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    @IMSoP: Fell free to copy my comment into an answer yourself, and make any changes you want. I can't be bothered to go into any great detail about this particular "spatial metaphor" usage, given the OP has also asked a completely unrelated question about the context-dependent meaning of the word paper. Why don't you complain about people asking multiple questions in a single post? Feb 10, 2020 at 18:26
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    @FumbleFingersReinstateMonica The problem is that by answering in a comment, you're actually encouraging the asker, because now they have the information they wanted; but you're simultaneously discouraging other answers, because you've said it already. The correct response to a question you think shouldn't be there is to downvote it and/or vote for closure; then either ignore it, or leave a comment helping the asker improve it.
    – IMSoP
    Feb 10, 2020 at 18:30
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    I'm sure there's much more to say about exactly how/why that metaphoric usage works (as is often said, All language is metaphor). I have to say that if someone else had posted exactly the text of my comment, I probably wouldn't have upvoted it . (Basically, it would be "too brief" - especially since it answers two questions! :) Feb 10, 2020 at 18:34

1 Answer 1


The word line has a wide range of meanings. Here the usage given by Lexico is:

5 An area or branch of activity

and in that area line can also mean policy, direction or strategy for example

the official line is that... (policy)

my line of reasoning is... (direction)

our line of approach is... (strategy)

The word paper isn't quite as diverse but still has many nuances, here Lexico gives as

4 An essay or dissertation, especially one read at an academic lecture or seminar or published in an academic journal.

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