Was the knowledge possessed by both of each of these languages, the extinct and the revived, theoretical or practical? Theoretical, being confined to certain grammatical rules of accidence and syntax and practically excluding vocabulary.(17.103)
This may seem like a bizarre quote for Patriotism, but we'll explain. In "Ithaca," Stephen and Bloom have just finished showing each other how to write in Gaelic and Hebrew respectively. Yet, here, we learn that their knowledge of these languages is only theoretical – that they don't actually speak them. Hence, instead of just sharing their respective cultures, what they are doing is enacting the sharing of their respective cultures (which they don't actually know that well). Why would the two enact the sharing of their cultures? Is this a sign of devotion to those cultures, or is there some other idea that is motivating their action?