Friday, November 18, 2005

Links and Notes

* John Samson has a nice post on divine foreknowledge at "Reformation Theology." (HT: Rebecca Writes)

* "The Crusty Curmudgeon" reviews a South Park episode on a certain religious organization associated with celebrities like Travolta and Cruise. I confess I'm a South Park fan; I've even used one of its episodes ("The Tooth Fairy Tats 2000") in a class for the purposes of review (a delightful subplot of the episode is Kyle's crisis of doubt when he finds out that the Tooth Fairy and Santa don't exist; the crisis is overcome in part by the reading of Descartes -- I had the students discuss what Descartes would agree with and what he wouldn't).

* Orac at "Respectful Insolence" discusses the recent arrest of David Irving in Austria for Holocaust denial.

* Mark Grimsley at "Blog Them Out of the Stone Age" critically discusses the concept of 'fourth generation warfare' in two posts (and soon to be three).

* Mark Roberts has a thirty-part series of posts on the question Are the New Testament Gospels Reliable? The posts strike a good balance between being readable and dealing with the technical issues. He's currently blogging on the question of churches and politics, which has become a big issue recently, given the recent furor about IRS action against All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California for the preaching of an anti-war sermon. Roberts's analysis, which I found a bit surprising (and with which I'm inclined to disagree), is that the sermon probably did violate IRC 501(c)(3).

* "Novum Testamentum" has a post giving a translation of Arius's Thalia, which sums up the heresiarch's theology.

* At "18th-Century Reading Room" a while back, there was a post with a selection from Hume's essay, The Epicurean. "The Epicurean" is the first of four essays on human happiness, the other three being The Stoic, The Platonist, and The Sceptic. None of these essays portray Hume's own view. The best way to see them is as a dialogue, in which each speech needs to be counterbalanced against the others. (There are two kinds of dialogue, according to Cicero, who is Hume's biggest influence in these matters; the more familiar dialectical, which emulates a conversation, and the rhetorical, in which the characters don't converse but give set speeches.) Each of the speeches is supposed to sum up a view of human happiness that naturally tends to arise among the human race. Hume clearly sympathizes most with the Sceptic, and least with the Platonist; but each of the speakers captures something of the truth, and the Sceptic's position doesn't strictly match Hume's position elsewhere. Both the Stoic and the Epicurean, for instance, say things with which Hume would clearly agree. In any case, I'm glad to see these essays out and about. They deserve to be better known, being some of Hume's better philosophical writing.

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