Mahadeviyakka and the Acts of Thomas

I was recently reading the new translation of The Acts of Thomas by Harold Attridge, and was struck by the similarity between a phrase used in that text to the way the 12th century bhakti poet Mahadeviyakka (also known as Mahadevi) expresses herself. In one of her poems, she expresses her devotion to Shiva as [Read More...]

Dangerous Superstition

I saw a news article today about the murder of Narendra Dabholkar in Pune, India. Dabholkar was an activist opposing superstition and blind faith. He was killed, not by a spell or a lightning bolt, but by human beings whose love of superstition of whatever sort did not give them supernatural power. They used technology, [Read More...]

Faith that Moves Mountains

David Hayward's latest cartoon has a real life story behind it. Dashrath Manjhi lived in a remote part of Bihar, India. Because of a mountain range with no road through it, when his wife needed urgent medical help, she died, because help could not reach her in time. And so he spent more than the [Read More...]

John Cage on the Purpose of Music

A few days ago I had the privilege of listening to a lunchtime talk with snippets of performance by my colleague Kate Boyd, who worked on and performed John Cage's Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano during her recent sabbatical. John Cage, I learned, had his thinking about the purpose of music transformed by a [Read More...]


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