Friday, June 26, 2009

Notes and Links

* "The Wild Hunt" weblog had a post a couple of weeks back on the problem of racist misappropriations of pagan symbols; as the author points out, it's a shielding mechanism: racists use important symbols as cover for their own views, which leads to bad associations with those symbols, which leads to problems for the people whose symbols they actually were. It's a recurring pattern, something that is done again and again, but people are never called on it as they should be; as the author says, "This is why it’s so important to constantly educate people, remain in the public eye, and speak out against the misuse of pre-Christian symbology." And it's certainly not just modern pagans themselves who need to be on the lookout for such misappropriation of symbols; everyone else needs to take care that they are not taken in by such sophistry.

* One of the difficult things one has to face in thinking about the Holocaust is its many-sidedness; Timothy Snyder has an article at the NYRB that notes some often overlooked sides to it. (ht)

* A poem by St. Philaret of Moscow, which apparently was a poetic response to a poem by Alexander Pushkin, who returned a poetic response.

* I mentioned Iamblichus recently; it turns out his book On the Mysteries is online in Taylor's translation (1821) and in Wilder's translation (1911). It's a pretty good way to get an idea of the important but often overlooked second major phase of Neoplatonism, and the sort of elaborate but carefully reasoned Platonic account of pagan ritual that the pagans were putting up against the Christianity of the Church Fathers in the days of Julian the Apostate (Julian was the student of Maximus of Ephesus, who was in turn a student of Iamblichus, although Julian himself was not a particularly outstanding representive of the pagan intellectuals of the time).

* Joe Carter has a good post at "First Thoughts" on the degeneration of Thomas Kinkade's work. Kinkade has a genuine talent that shows through some of his earlier work (and even, here and there, in his more recent work), but commercialism has taken its toll, as each painting outdoes the previous as a caricature of the Kinkade Style (TM). It's Christian Pop Music for the painting world.

* Speaking of Kinkade, one should look at's exploration of Kinkade-with-a-twist: Kinkade's scenes on fire, alien-invaded, and more. Some of them really are awful, but some are very good spoofs.

Paintings of Light (Part 1)

Paintings of Light (Part 2)
Paintings of Light II (one of the best is on the last page)

* Sherry's Hundred Hymn List continues:

#81 The Lord's My Shepherd, I'll Not Want
#80 Here Is Love Vast as the Ocean
#79 Trust and Obey
#78 Victory in Jesus
#77 More Love to Thee

* Watching The Lord of the Rings in Tehran.

* Chad Orzel notes a collision of two press releases.

* Congratulations to Wayne Sumner for winning the 2009 Molson Prize for the Humanities (ht); he definitely deserves it. His work on utilitarianism and rights is quite interesting. I don't recall ever actually taking any of Sumner's graduate courses while at UToronto; I think intended to at one point but, as luck would have it, it conflicted with history of philosophy courses that were a higher priority.

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