Category Archives: religion

5 Minutes in the Middle Ages

Enjoy Anthony Esolen’s sketch of the Middle Ages.

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Leon Kass on Ten Commandments

… despite its notoriety, the Decalogue is still only superficially known, in part because its very familiarity interferes with a deeper understanding of its teachings. This essay, in aspiring to such an understanding, intends also to build a case for the enduring moral and political significance of the Decalogue—a universal significance that goes far beyond its opposition to murder, adultery, and theft.

– Leon Kass

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Civilization is a spiritual labor

“Civilization is a spiritual labor, an openness to revelation, a venture of faith, subsisting to a great degree on things no more substantial than myths and visions and prophetic dreams; thus it can be destroyed not only by invading armies or economic collapse, but also by simple disenchantment.”

– David Bentley Hart

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What gives? Amazon won’t publish this review

I’ve tweaked this review a couple of times and re-submitted it, but Amazon responds with a no-go. You tell me. What’s wrong with this review? The book is “The King of Prussia and a Peanut Butter Sandwich” by Alice Fleming.

Russian Mennonites and Kansas Wheat, May 24, 2013
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: The King of Prussia and a Peanut Butter Sandwich (Paperback)

This is a read-aloud or a young reader’s book that traces the steps of a group of Mennonites, from Germany to Russia to Kansas. The reason for the trekking was the Mennonites’ conviction against participation in military service- a point which the book makes clear. Frederick the Great inaugurated mandatory military service which the Mennonites were unwilling to perform. Catherine the Great of Russia offered the Mennonites exemption from military service for 100 years in exchange for developing the Crimean Peninsula for agricultural purposes.

The story doesn’t focus exclusively on the religious beliefs of the Mennonites. Farming is the second track that carries this train. Perhaps the most interesting part of the book was the telling of how the Mennonite children sifted through sacks of wheat grain looking for the best specimens in preparation for the move to Kansas.

About half of the book is illustrations, which engaged the children.

“King of Prussia” fit in well with our homeschool curriculum. Appearances are made by historical figures/events Ulysses S. Grant, Kansas Grasshopper Plague of 1874 (circa the time of Laura Ingalls Wilder books), emerging nationalism in Europe. And Frederick and Catherine, too.

There isn’t actually any peanut butter sandwich in the story. The author is trying to connect the wheat of the story with daily fare of the child reading the book.

The binding is a little unusual. It has no spine because it is a staple-bound kind of book. But the book seems just a little too large to go spineless. It makes it a little difficult to keep on the book shelf because of this feature. All the same, I think that its a piece of history that is rare to find in children’s books, and it is worth owning.

 

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Man the animal

Man has called himself (among other things): the rational animal; the moral animal; the consciously choosing animal; the deliberately evil animal; the political animal; the toolmaking animal; the historical animal; the commodity-making animal; the economical animal; the foreseeing animal; the promising animal; the death-knowing animal; the art-making or aesthetic animal; the explaining animal; the cause-bearing animal; the classifying animal; the measuring animal; the counting animal; the metaphor-making animal; the talking animal; the laughing animal; the religious animal; the spiritual animal; the metaphysical animal; the wondering animal… Man, it seems, is the self-predicating animal.

– Raymond Tallis, The Explicit Animal

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