Not one iota of difference

I saw mundane detachable sleeves today! I was staring at them through the whole class.

If that wasn’t random enough, have a lot of random wisdom culled from various classes these last few days.

From the History of Philosophy: Metaphysics and Epistemology class:

Each language has a great work proving this vulgar tongue is worthy of great literature, a work which both showcases the beauty already present in the tongue and raises it to new heights. The example given was Rene Descartes’ work in French, but I thought of a few others: Homer for Greek; Jerome’s Vulgate for Latin; Dante’s Divina Commedia for Italian; Luther’s Bible for German; Beowulf for Old English, Chaucer for Middle English, Shakespeare for Modern. I’m not coming up with anything for Spanish, though. 

(Oh, and speaking of the Vulgate, in the Humanities class this morning the professor handed around his Greek NT for us to look at, and Olivia and I went and looked at the beginning of Revelation, after looking at the genealogy in Matthew.)

From the Advanced Fiction Workshop:

Thoughts on hearing about a man who lost all his limbs and was powerless even to commit suicide:

We will all suffer in this life. If we were to put such people “out of their misery” because they can’t bear it, where do we stop? We’ve all had rough days where we think we can’t bear it, but most of us are able to soldier through. You do get out of it eventually. While there’s life there’s hope.

And consider this. We can’t give anyone a perfectly happy life free from all sickness, sorrow, or other trouble. What we do get to do is choose how we respond to pain, whether we let it get us down (and turn us into villains), or turn it into beautiful heroism, or be mediocre — a mix of good and bad responses at different times.

From the Humanities class:

“When did Christianity become distinct from a Jewish sect?” Oh, I dunno, could be about the time Christ claimed to be God and the Pharisees picked up stones to throw at him. . .

In Imperial Roman religions, deities represented powers, impersonal, distant from humanity, and were worshipped rather impersonally (except maybe by their priest(esse)s?).

Ancient astronomers thought the planets were living beings, hence their being named after deities. Mater Terra’s atmosphere was her breath, the magma coursing through her was her blood, the earth was her flesh.

The cults of Dionysus, Isis, and Mithra were similar in accident to Christianity: the former, for example, had a death and resurrection, a mortal woman impregnated by a god, a ritual meal including wine; Isis was a kindly mother of a divine son who saw him killed and brought back to life; Mithraism also emphasized rebirth and resurrection, self-discipline, and celebrated the unconquered sun on December 25th. But a crucial difference between those and Christianity was that no one ever claimed that Zeus and Semele or Dionysus, Isis and Osiris, or Mithra, ever actually walked the earth. In Greek and Roman myths, when the gods came to earth, though they might appear to be men, they were never actually men in essence. Christianity not only claims that God appeared in history, it says He became man without ever losing an iota of His divine nature.

(By the way, the textbook rather skims over the Arian heresy and doesn’t even mention Athanasius, and calls the heretics “some dissenting Eastern churchmen”.)

The professor will say things like that which we fully agree with, and then he’ll go and say of the New Testament that “For a document supposedly transmitted directly from God, we have to remember that it was put together by a lot of scholars, from a lot of incomplete manuscripts,” and nod at us. We don’t complain when our textbooks are put together by a lot of scholars — I doubt we’d notice if they were put together by a lot of ghosts — so shouldn’t that make it more reliable, if it were to change anything? 

And to continue the thoroughly random theme of this post, here’s a bit from last semester. This is one illustration among many of how Thucydides’ Peloponnesian War could have been hilarious in spots, except he was too busy being a man of facts and science.

“The next day the Syracusans began operations at an earlier hour, but with the same plan of attack by land and sea. A great part of the day the rivals spent as before, confronting and skirmishing with each other; until at last Ariston, son of Pyrrhicus, a Corinthian, the ablest helmsman in the Syracusan service, persuaded their naval commanders to send to the officials in the city, and tell them to move the sale market as quickly as they could down to the sea, and oblige every one to bring whatever eatables he had and sell them there, thus enabling the commanders to land the crews and dine at once close to the ships, and shortly afterwards, the selfsame day, to attack the Athenians again when they were not expecting it.

In compliance with this advice a messenger was sent and the market got ready, upon which the Syracusans suddenly backed water and withdrew to the town, and at once landed and took their dinner upon the spot; while the Athenians, supposing that they had returned to the town because they felt they were beaten, disembarked at their leisure and set about getting their dinners and about their other occupations, under the idea that they done with fighting for that day.”


About Nolie Alcarturiel

Creative Writing major and Philosophy minor, contemplating a Master's degree in Medieval History. I enjoy practically anything to do with medieval history, including the domestic arts, with an especial emphasis on the Anglo-Saxon Era. In my spare time I read endlessly, do medieval living-history, hold philosophical debates at the drop of a hat, and write books on even slighter provocation.
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