What Is a Classic?


In his important essay presented to the Virgil Society in 1947 in London, T.S. Eliot attempts to nail down what makes a classic work of literature a classic. It's actually not that easy to do. I am reminded of the comment by Ben Jonson about his contemporary's plays (i.e. Shakespeare). He says they were "not of an age, but for all time". I tend to agree. A piece of literature say, like Virgil's Aeneid, or Dante's Divine Comedy or the Bible or Shakespeare that speaks to any and every age … [Read more...]

The Hobbits are Coming— December 14th

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOGsB9dORBg … [Read more...]

Hurtado on Boyarin and the Jewish Gospels


Schafer’s Review of Boyarin’s “The Jewish Gospels” by larry hurtadoOne of my newly-finished PhD students alerted me to the recent review of a new book by Daniel Boyarin, The Jewish Gospels: The Story of the Jewish Christ (New Press, 2012), the review by the eminent scholar, Peter Schafer, in The New Republic 18 May.http://www.tnr.com/print/article/103373/books-and-arts/magazine/jewish-gospels-christ-boyarinSchafer's review seems to me very well informed, and his rather devastating cr … [Read more...]

Visiting Potter’s Domain


Picture, if you will, a European castle, rather like Neuschwanstein in Germany in the middle of a bunch of palm trees. It reminds me of the Sesame Street song 'which of these things is not like the other'. Nevertheless, this is what you encounter at Universal Studios new and impressive village and ride dedicated to Harry Potter. It was something of a major coup when Universal won this franchise's rights over Disney, but I digress. If you are wondering if this relatively new area at Universal … [Read more...]

T.S. Eliot on the Spirit of the Age of Obsolescence

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T.S. Eliot was one of the great English poets of the twentieth century. Born in St. Louis, at age 25 in 1914 he moved to London, and fourteen years later became a naturalized British citizen. One could call him a Trans-Atlantic author. He was best known for poems like The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, or The Wastelands, but he also won awards for prose such as his 'Murder in the Cathedral' and of course the musical 'Cats' is based on some of his poetry. He was also a very keen observer of … [Read more...]

Of Burning Books and ‘The Vanishing Library’


Bruce Metzger, in what seems like a lifetime ago, was once the head of the RSV translation committee. He told the tale of how, when it came out, a certain fundamentalist Baptist Church in my home state of N.C. saw fit to blow torch a whole pile of them, as somehow a translation that polluted and subverted the holy KJV. After reporting this incident, which transpired in the 1950s, he quipped: "Well at least we are making progress. We use to burn the translators themselves (e.g. Tyndale), now … [Read more...]

Silence….. in ALL the Churches?

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SILENCESilence Is The absence of SoundOr Is it The presence of Quiet?Why Would it Be golden If it is Nothing?Silence Can only Be heard By stillness.The still Small voice says Be still And … [Read more...]

A New Bob Dylan Biography

Without question and hands down, as even our President recently said when he gave him the Medal of Freedom in the White House, Bob Dylan is the greatest living American song writer of any sort. Here is an interesting interview with David Dalton who wrote 'Who is That Man'Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy … [Read more...]

The Amazing Spiderman and Me


A LARGE part of my love for reading when I was growing up was instilled in me by reading Marvel comics in the 60s and 70s, and especially by reading Spiderman comics. Here was an awkward, geeky, and yet lovable young super hero that kids could both identify with and admire. Many of them could also identify with growing up without a father or even both parents.There was something tragic about this hero, as is true of most all great heroes (Jesus included). So it was a good 4th of July … [Read more...]