by John Donne
Moist, with one drop of thy blood, my dry soule
Shall (though she now be in extreme degreeToo stony hard, and yet too fleshly) be
Freed by that drop, from being starved, hard, or foul,
And life, by this death abled, shall control
Death, whom thy death slew; nor shall to me
Fear of first or last death, bring misery,
If in thy little book my name thou enroll,
Flesh in that long sleep is not putrified,
But made that there, of which, and for which ’twas;
Nor can by other means be glorified.
May then sins sleep, and deaths soon from me pass,
That waked from both, I again risen may
Salute the last, and everlasting day.
by John Donne
LET man’s soul be a sphere, and then, in this,
Th’ intelligence that moves, devotion is ;
And as the other spheres, by being grown
Subject to foreign motion, lose their own,
And being by others hurried every day,
Scarce in a year their natural form obey ;
Pleasure or business, so, our souls admit
For their first mover, and are whirl’d by it.
Hence is’t, that I am carried towards the west,
This day, when my soul’s form bends to the East.
There I should see a Sun by rising set,
And by that setting endless day beget.
But that Christ on His cross did rise and fall,
Sin had eternally benighted all. Continue reading
I don’t want to always be a schoolmarm, correcting the misuse of this or that term, but there are a few that cry out for attention. “Gnostic” is one such word. It has recently come to be a shorthand to describe a variety of concepts, typically those which prioritize the spirit or the mind to the body. Anyone who believes in the priority of the intellect could be called a “Gnostic” under this usage, as well as anyone who thinks that the soul is on a different plane of being than the body. “Gnostic” is also employed to critique those who hold to idealism over materialism. Strangely, not a few of the modern “anti-Gnostics” have gone so far as to deny the soul’s ability to exist apart from the body, thus creating a heresy of their own in the opposite direction.
But according to folks like Kurt Rudolph, we don’t actually know much about the original Gnostics. Continue reading
This paper seeks to show that Constantine did have a policy of religious tolerance. It will be of interest to many folks I know, and it will shed some light on the recent political conversations we’ve been having.
Thinking about the gay caveman and the media attention given to it, I’m left with a few thoughts.
It is currently the case that “science” and to a lesser extent “history” are the leading intellectual pressure-points. If science can speak to us, then we are to listen and obey. If history teaches us, then we must react to it in a politically appropriate way. But here’s the reality- science and history are both methods of observation.
Science answers the question “What is this?” History answers the question “What was this?” But neither can answer the question “What does this mean?“ Neither can answer the question “What should we do about this?”
And those last two questions are what most folks seem to be interested in. That’s when philosophy steps in.
So it seems that we’ve taken a giant step forward in research methodology with the discovery of the world’s first gay caveman. Now let me say at the outset that if there were actually cavemen in the popular sense of that term, then it wouldn’t be terribly surprising to find out that some of them were gay or practiced homosexual behavior. Since these remains are only 5,000 years old, they aren’t all that far away from the Mosaic era, and from what we know about the legislation of that era, sexual deviations not only existed but were viewed as an issue worthy of criminalizing. So the existence of homosexuals in the bronze age wouldn’t be too revolutionary of an idea, nor would it really affect the contemporary debate over ethical or legal standing. But clearly the media attention over this “discovery” is thought to be a contribution to our current conversation, and I find many of the assumptions rather curious. Let’s examine some of the ones going into this “research” in the media and see what we can uncover. Continue reading