Monday, February 25, 2008

Portable Professor - The Birth of Western Philosophy

As you might have guessed Plato is kicking my butt, and since Aristotle is up next I am expecting more bruises. However, this weekend at Barnes and Nobel I found one of their portable professor courses that deals with both Plato and Aristotle so I picked it up. Maybe my pain will now diminish.

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Saturday, February 16, 2008


Would any of the 4 visitors that I get here be interested in a "chapter a day" style podcast for Olympia Academy?

There are a few of this style podcast out there already but nothing that meets my needs for this blog. So I am thinking about filling a gap.

I don't like begging for comments but let me know before I go through all the trouble of setting up my webserver.

Also I have added links to free audiobooks, where available, to the books I have already read.

Monday, February 11, 2008

This is vaguely disturbing - The Bible as a graphic novel

“Christ is a hard guy, seeking revolution and revolt, a tough guy.”

Those are the words of Ajinbayo Akinsiku, author of “The Manga Bible: From Genesis to Revelation.”

The thing is despite being disturbing, they are true. Christ was a revolutionary challenging the power structures of his day. He took on the Pharisees and won (eventually) and while he didn't directly challenge the Roman's, if you believe Gibbons his teachings led to the fall of the Roman Empire.

It will be interesting to see how well this is carried off, especially given these details:

The medium shapes the message. Manga often focuses on action and epic. Much of the Bible, as a result, ends up on the cutting room floor, and what remains is darker.

“It is the end of the Word as we know it, and the end of a certain cultural idea of the Scriptures as a book, as the Book,” Timothy Beal, professor of religion at Case Western Reserve University, said of the reworking of the Bible in new forms, including manga. “It opens up new ways of understanding Scripture and ends up breaking the idols a bit.”

While known for characters with big eyes and catwalk poses, manga is also defined by a laconic, cinematic style, with characters often doing more than talking.

In a blurb for the Manga Bible, which is published by Doubleday, the archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, is quoted as saying, “It will convey the shock and freshness of the Bible in a unique way.”

No doubt. In the Manga Bible, whose heroes look and sound like skateboarders in Bedouin gear, Noah gets tripped up counting the animals in the Ark: “That’s 11,344 animals? Arggh! I’ve lost count again. I’m going to have to start from scratch!”

Abraham rides a horse out of an explosion to save Lot. Og, king of Bashan, looms like an early Darth Vader. The Sermon on the Mount did not make the book, though, because there was not enough action to it.

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Monday, February 04, 2008

An Islamic Europe Equals A Better World

On Point on XM Public Radio had an interview with David Levering Lewis author of "God's Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570-1215" this morning.

Lewis a pulitizer prize winner for his biographies of W.E.B. Du Bois essentially advances the argument that if the Berbers had swept into France from Spain (Al-Andalus) then European civilization would have essentially been fast forwarded 300 years. At least that is what I gathered from listening to his interview. I can't help but wonder if after that it wouldn't have essentially stalled. From what I know Islamic society isn't exactly known for it dynamism, at least after the Ottoman's took over the Caliphate. When he was directly questioned on the negative aspects of an Islamic Europe he tended to skip away from the question.

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