I have a new post up at the Café. In researching and writing it, I discovered that it was ground I’d covered once before. In my first year of Ph.D. coursework I did a brief in-class presentation on the Jewish War, so I dug up some of the things I wrote then. One of these items was a timeline of the events which is now posted here as a PDF.
As is noted on the sheet itself, the timeline is based on John Hays and Sara Mandell’s The Jewish People in Classical Antiquity: From Alexander to Bar Kochba. I recommend this book if you want a lucid introduction to the complicated history that covers the time from the Maccabees through the destruction of the Temple and the second revolt in the 130’s. While thoroughly rooted in the extant sources (especially Josephus, Tacitus, etc. for the Jewish War section), it wears its extensive learning lightly and is accessible for people who aren’t biblical scholars. It’d be a fine choice for a pastor’s study or for the interested layperson looking to learn more.
Well, my good friend LutherPunk has decided to call it quits on the blog–or at least that blog. I understand the feeling–though it’s not something I’m in the mood to do right now…
I do hope he starts up again, and I’d vote for the version that includes discussion of modern homesteading and brewing beer.
And btw Mr. Protestant, if you feel the need to start disposing of your books of Romish doctrine and liturgy I know a bookshelf where they’ll feel right at home… :-D
Succinct yet powerful: I liked this a lot…
Craig, a friend of the blog, has sent me word of a write-up on the work that he’s doing in Birmingham (UK) with the goth/emo community. It involves a combination of a real life and Second Life initiative to do reach out to some people who need it. Here’s the write-up. I’m not on Second Life yet, but those who are should check it out…
Pagan Survivals in Children’s Literature: The Case of “Mr. Brown”
The eponymous hero of Dr. Seuss’s Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?: Dr. Seuss’s Book of Wonderful Noises displays a remarkable ability to evoke a wide range of sounds. Clues embedded within the structure of the text suggest that Mr. Brown is more than he appears to be on a surface level. The climax of the book is a dramatic scene involving weather manifestations. Thunder takes the fore, chiastically bracketed between rain and lightning. While in most of the vignettes Mr. Brown “can sound like” things, here there is a profound shift: Suess writes, “Boom Boom Boom/ Mr. Brown is a wonder./ Boom Boom Boom/Mr. Brown makes thunder!/ He makes lightning / Splatt Splatt Splatt/ and it’s very, very hard/ to make a noise like that!” The crucial shift moves away from onomatopoeic mimesis; rather than declarative speech, Mr. Brown is engaging in performative speech that not simply replicates but produces the very phenomena conjured by its sound. In short, Mr. Brown bears the characteristics of a storm god.
When the rest of the narrative is viewed through this lens, an unmistakable agricultural pattern may be discerned in many of the sounds connected with Mr. Brown: bees (Buzz Buzz)–important pollenators and source of a primary ingredient of most premodern diets, rooster (Cocka doodle doo), grapes and wines (the sound of a cork: Pop Pop accompanied with an image of a wine bottle). The presence of an owl (Hoo Hoo) suggests Mr. Brown may manifest a chthonic form as well. The most telling piece of evidence receives structural emphasis as it is the first sound/image of the book: the cow. Pulling the evidence together, a storm god surrounded by agricultural motifs foremost among them the image of a cow or bull, it seems quite clear that Mr. Brown is a survival of the Ancient Near Eastern Hadad/Ba’al tradition.
There is one little word that ought never to appear in lectionaries: “or”.
I’ll not be posting much or be online much for a while. Some major projects are in the works that are demanding my attention.
One of them is moving. Our household will be leaving our current area and will head up towards the general Washington/Baltimore area later this summer. That alone will keep us busy in addition to securing housing, employment, schools, etc.
Items will still appear at the Cafe and I’ll note them here, but I doubt much else will appear…
I’ll also give what I hope to be my final foot update: three months to the day my doctor took me off of all antibiotics. I still have some pain—especially in mornings and evenings—but the orthopedist said that is caused by a weakening of the foot ligature where the infection was. He said it should tighten back up and the pain will go away in another six to eight weeks. I was hoping to start running again, but he said no running until after July 4th which is unfortunately especially given local traditions. Nevertheless, good news overall.
Google Books—as you know—has full-text of old stuff and snippets of new stuff. Mostly. However, there is some full-length new stuff there including a fascinating collection of essays on the Psalms. [Note: it is actually under limited preview. I got through the first essay, then it turned itself off…] It immediately attracted my attention when I saw the editors: H. Attridge and M. Fassler. When Harry Attridge, noted New Testament scholar and Margot Fassler, noted musicologist team up on something on the Psalms you know it’s going to be both good and broad.
The table of contents suggests exciting too… A lot of big names from various fields are represented: Robert Taft (liturgical history), John J. Collins (intertestamental literature) Gordon Lathrop (liturgical theology) and more.
This is definitely worth a read and can be accessed here.