No. For the Church is stronger for this action,
Triumphant in adversity. It is fortified
By persecution: supreme, so long as men will die for it.
Go, weak sad men, lost erring souls, homeless in earth or heaven.
Go where the sunset reddens the last grey rock
Of Brittany, or the Gates of Hercules.
Go venture shipwreck on the sullen coasts
Where blackamoors make captive Christian men;
Go to the northern seas confined with ice
Where the dead breath makes numb the hand, makes dull the brain;
Find an oasis in the desert sun,
Go seek alliance with the heathen Saracen,
To share his filthy rites, and try to snatch
Forgetfulness in his libidinous courts,
Oblivion in the fountain by the date-tree;
Or sit and bite your nails in Aquitaine.
In the small circle of pain within the skull
You still shall tramp and tread one endless round
Weaving a fiction which unravels as you weave,
Pacing forever in the hell of make-believe
Which never is belief: this is your fate on earth
And we must think no further of you.
01 July 2015
27 June 2015
09 June 2015
07 June 2015
02 June 2015
In The Phantom Tollbooth, Milo, an unimaginative, dull boy who sees no point in education, curiosity, or imagination is taken on a magical adventure to a land in which abstract concepts like numbers, words, reason, and wisdom are personified. The cities of Digitopolis, ruled by the Mathemagician, and Dictionopolis, ruled by King Azaz, have been enemies for years. Everyone that Milo meets in this world is myopic.
|This demon is called "The |
Terrible Trivium," but I'm
pretty sure it's just Slenderman.
My favorite selection from the book is when Milo finds the princesses and talks about them about the journey he has taken:
"You must never feel badly about making mistakes," explained Reason quietly, "as long as you take the trouble to learn from them. For you often learn more by being wrong for the right reasons than you do by being right for the wrong reasons."
"But there's so much to learn," he said, with a thoughtful frown. "That's just what I mean," explained Milo, as Tock and the exhausted bug drifted quietly off to sleep. "Many of the things I'm supposed to know seem so useless that I can't see the purpose in learning them at all."
"You may not see it now," said the Princess of Pure Reason, looking knowingly at Milo's puzzled face, "but whatever we learn has a purpose and whatever we do affects everything and everyone else, if even in the tiniest way. Why, when a housefly flaps his wings, a breeze goes round the world; when a speck of dust falls to the ground, the entire planet weighs a little more; and when you stamp your foot, the earth moves slightly off its course. Whenever you laugh, gladness spreads like the ripples in a pond; and whenever you're sad, no one anywhere can be really happy. And it's much the same thing with knowledge, for whenever you learn something new, the whole world becomes that much richer."
31 May 2015
17 May 2015
Okay, so first of all, yes, I'm still alive. Yes, it's been over two months since my last post. I think I've got a good excuse...
So here at the end of the school year, I'll finally be able to catch up on everything, and I might even post more often. For now though, I just finished reading some Chaucer.
15 March 2015
I teach Josephus’s The Jewish War every year in one of my classes, and I was excited to get my hands on this book to give me some further insight into the character and work of Josephus. Unfortunately, I was ultimately disappointed in Josephus and the Jews by F.J. Foakes Jackson.
Many of the book’s primary problems are due to the fact that it was written in 1930. The edition I read had 1978 on the copyright page, and did not indicate that it was a reprint of an earlier book. It was only as I was reading the book and noticing some seriously outdated terminology that I began to suspect the book was much older. A quick Google search confirmed the fact.
The first effect of reading a book about Josephus written in 1930 is that a huge amount of the information is outdated. The Dead Sea Scrolls, discovered between 1946 and 1956, changed the way we think about Jewish sects in the first century A.D. Masada, which plays a large role in the ending of the war between the Romans and Jews was not excavated extensively until Yigael Yadin undertook the task in the 1960s. Another effect of reading a book written during this time period is that the author continually makes reference to Zionism as a movement. This was, of course, prior to Israel gaining statehood in 1948. Jackson identifies modern Zionists with the Jewish rebels in Josephus which colors his vision of the first century events.
There are three particular qualities of this book that prevent it from being very useful today. First, I was surprised at how uncritical the book was, especially when it needed to be. The author does talk about Josephus’s sources to some extent, but in many places is content to simply summarize what Josephus wrote. I was looking for some more in-depth commentary and criticism about Josephus’s history.
Second, Jackson offers some strange moralizing in various parts of the book. He also displays a good bit of antagonistic and ethnocentric attitude toward the Jews and all eastern nations. He talks often of Oriental savagery and/or fanaticism and opposes it to Roman and Western civilization and rationality. He has almost nothing good to say about Jewish leaders who fought for independence, but attempts to continually defend the Jews who embraced the Romans. This was especially interesting in the fact that he tried to paint the Herodians as magnanimous and civilized and downplays the cruelties of the members of Herod’s family.
Third, while he starts with a discussion of Josephus’s autobiography and his book Against Apion, and though he ends with a very brief discussion of the Jewish Antiquities, he spends the majority of his time on The Jewish War. It’s a good historical overview, but that can be had in many books about the time period.
So, in conclusion, though Josephus and the Jews may have been a useful book for the time in which it was written, its lack of criticism, odd moral judgments, and unbalanced emphasis on one of Josephus’s works coupled with the outdated information makes this book pretty well obsolete for the study of Josephus today.
13 March 2015
I've always thought it a bit silly for people to get all teary-eyed when a celebrity dies. After all, they didn't know that person...well... personally.
I think I'll have to revise my former opinion on the subject, though.
Good bye, Sir Terry. You've given us so much, and the world will miss you.
Also this picture on Deviantart
09 March 2015
I've been a fan of Hercule Poirot for a long time, so it's hard to
remember exactly how I first encountered him. I believe it was in the
book Appointment with Death. In any case, I prefer
Poirot's travels as an older man through the East to his earlier
adventures in London with his friend Captain Hastings.
Regarding Murder in Mesopotamia, we have here a classic Christie mystery. It's set in the middle east at an archaeological dig, a setting Christie knew a lot about being married to an archaeologist. The characters were superbly drawn, the puzzle was clever, and Poirot's denouement hit all the right notes. While not as spectacular as some of her novels, I think I might recommend this as an introduction to the character of Hercule Poirot for new Christie readers.