Monthly Archives: May 2006

Top Ten Gnostic Quotes

From our office in Nag Hammadi, it's the
Top Ten Quotes from the Gnostics!

10. From "Allogenes":
"He is a perfect, invisible, noetic Protophanes-Harmedon.
And empowering the individuals, she is a Triple-Male."

9. From "The Apocalypse of Adam":
"….from the nine Muses one separated away. She came
to a high mountain and spent (some) time seated there,
so that she desired herself alone, in order to become
androgynous. She fulfilled her desire and became pregnant
from her desire."

8. From "The (First) Apocalypse of James":
"You are to say to him, 'They are not entirely alien,
but they are from Achamoth, who is the female.' "

7. From "The (Second) Apocalypse of James":
"I am he who received revelation from the Pleroma of Imperishability…
he who stripped himself and went about naked…."

6. From "The Dialogue of the Savior":
"Judas said, "…When we pray, how should we pray?"

The Lord said, "Pray in the place where there is no woman."

Matthew said, "'Pray in the place where there is no woman,'
he tells us, meaning 'Destroy the works of womanhood…."

5. From "The Gospel of the Egyptians":
"A hidden, invisible mystery came forth:
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
oooooooooooooooooooooo uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu
eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO." [the 7 vowels, 22 times each]

4. From "Marsanes":
"And consonants exist with the vowels, and individually
they are commanded and they submit… And the consonants are self-existent, and as they are changed, <they> submit to the hidden gods…."

3. From "The Sophia of Jesus Christ":
"All these were perfect and good. Thus the defect in the female appeared."

2. From "A Valentinian Exposition":

"But the Decad from Word and Life brought forth decads so as to make the Pleroma become a hundred, and the Dodecad from Man and Church brought forth and made the Triacontad so as to make the three hundred sixty become the Pleroma of the year."

And the #1 Quote from the Gnostics:

1. From "The Gospel of Thomas":
"Simon Peter said to them, "Make Mary leave us, for females don't deserve life."

Jesus said, "Look, I will guide her to make her male, so that she too
may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every female
who makes herself male will enter the kingdom of Heaven."

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Our Lady of Chiquinquirá

Two titles for the price of one!

As the UD Mary page notes, Colombia’s patroness is Our Lady of Chiquinquirá. This refers to the story of a Spanish painter’s image of Mary as Our Lady of the Rosary, holding the baby Jesus and flanked by Ss. Anthony of Padua and Andrew the apostle. The painting was kept in the town of Chiquinquirá in the worst conditions. One day, a woman saw its delapidated condition and wished that it looked as it once had.

And it fixed itself. And it continued to be in good condition despite all the loving use and bad storage it received for 300 years. (For the last hundred years or so, it’s been behind glass.) Her feast, celebrated in Colombia, is July 9th.

But in Venezuela on Lake Maracaibo, the people of the province of Zulia also honor Our Lady of Chiquinquirá. This title comes from a miraculous wooden statue of Mary, carved with Indian features and skin, and found floating in the lake. (Huge numbers of miraculous statues of Mary are found floating down rivers or on the ocean. Given the huge numbers of galleons that didn’t make it, this isn’t hard to understand along seacoasts.)

According to legend, the old woman who found the statue (while doing her wash on Nov. 13, 1749) at first thought it was just a little board, and then thought she saw a picture on it. She left to do errands, and when she came back found a crowd crying out, “Miracle! Miracle!” (Milagro! Milagro!) The piece of wood was glowing and floating in the air, and a picture of Our Lady of the Rosary (similar to the one in Colombia) had appeared upon it. So the street on which the woman lived is now called El Milagro.

This version of Our Lady of Chiquinquirá is affectionately known as “La Chinita”, for short. The La Chinita Festival (La Feria de la Chinita) is a very big deal, and the airport is even named for her!

Lovely photos of the Basilica and the image being lowered and taken out for the festival.

Chiquinquirá Delgado, co-host of Univision’s Battle of the Sexes show, was born in this area. According to this interview, the doctors had feared that she would be born deformed. So her mother told Our Lady that if her baby were saved she’d name the child Chiquinquirá. (Chiqui for short.)

This is fun! I think we’ll have to look at some more Marian stuff!

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The Virgin of the Thirty-Three

This month, since it's May, I wanted to put up some images of Mary which are less known around here.

The Virgin of the Thirty-Three (La Virgen de los Treinta y Tres) is both a title of the Virgin Mary and the name of a little wooden statue in a church in Uruguay. It was made in one of the Guarani Indian workshops founded by Jesuit missionaries in what is now Paraguay. In it, Mary is portrayed as the Immaculate Conception, standing on the crescent moon, and upheld by three cherubim. The statue came to the city of Florida in 1779, along with a group of Guarani who were moving there.

The statue gained its fame from the moment on April 19, 1825, when 33 rebels from the east bank of the Rio de la Plata (Orientales) knelt before the little statue and placed the fate of the nation they hoped to found in the care of the Virgin Mary. Their revolt against Brazil began on August 25, 1825, and indeed ended with Uruguay a free and independent nation.

(I would like to note that this story was not found in any of the books on Uruguay which I consulted for my seventh grade Ohio and Latin American History project, and I was quite thorough. Which goes to show that the Web is a very good thing.)

Today the Virgin of the Thirty-Three resides in the Cathedral of the city of Florida, Uruguay. Every year, a pilgrimage commemorates the founding of Uruguay and the gratitude of her people for Mary's continued protection and care. The dioceses of Uruguay celebrate the solemnity of Mary, the Virgin of the Thirty-Three, every second Sunday in November. She is the patron saint of Uruguay.

(And just so you'll know that her husband isn't neglected, check out the Shrine of St. Joseph. Lots of nice Baroque statues of Joseph and Jesus.)

Here's my translation of the Prayer to the Virgin of the Thirty-Three:

Most holy Virgin Mary, before your image, the founders of our country dipped their flag and reverently bent their knees. Always protect this people born in your beneficent shadow. Oh, Mother, grant that religion and all the Christian virtues may flourish around our hearths. Grant that we see the reign of Christ, which is one of truth and justice. Obtain us these graces and that of eternal salvation, from your son Jesus Christ, who with the Father and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.

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Skip the Foreword!

I am now going to give you a piece of advice that will stand you in good stead.

If there's a foreword to a classic book, and it's not written by the author (or possibly, an author you like), skip the foreword.

There are a few occasions when forewords actually provide useful information, or perform the task of making the reader interested in reading the book. But usually, forewords either spoil the plot, or try to tell you what some professor thinks you should think of the book. In either case, they also last long enough to dampen your enthusiasm for reading.
So skip the foreword and start reading the actual book. You can decide for yourself what to think about it. If the book can't do its own introductions, it's not much of a book.

Then, when you're done, go back to the foreword and see what was so important that they had to write a foreword about it. The professor's opinions will be a lot more interesting, because you will actually know what the heck he's talking about.

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Aristotle: A Writer’s Best Friend

Today I listened to this public domain audiobook of Aristotle's Poetics.

I only wish I'd read it back in college or even in high school, because this book says everything I've ever tried to say in class. (And gotten short shrift for saying.)

Characters only exist so plot can happen! Action reveals character, not pretty speeches! (Pretty speeches reveal thought and mindset, which ain't the same thing.) The dramatic unities are an analysis of contemporary best practice, not prescriptive rules!

Annnnnnd the "tragic flaw" is a good person's lapse in judgment. Mwahaha! I knew there was something wrong with that classroom definition of tragic flaws!

I see no reason why every creative writing and English major, much less the drama folks, should not read Aristotle's Poetics. If nothing else, it's full of good advice and good ideas. It's actually much less prescriptive than the average creative writing teacher. That makes it a good starting point.
So read the primary sources! Read them and make others weep!

"….one may string together a series of characteristic speeches of the utmost finish as regards Diction and Thought, and yet fail to produce the true tragic effect; but one will have much better success with a tragedy which, however inferior in these respects, has a Plot… beginners succeed earlier with the Diction and Characters than with the construction of a story… We maintain, therefore, that the first essential, the life and soul, so to speak… is the Plot; and that the Characters come second."

Sorry. I just had to savor that again. Characters come second. Style and characters are the easy part. Yes, Aristotle's got my back! 

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Secret Agent Priest?!

You never asked for it… you never heard of it… but it’s out on DVD….

A little show by Gerry Anderson called The Secret Service, whose main character is Fr. Stanley Unwin, agent of BISHOP.

Bizarre, huh?

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Cute Yet Gritty!

I happened to catch a really cute little show this morning when I woke up. (In the US it's part of Playhouse Disney, and apparently in the UK it's part of CBeebies.) The Koala Brothers is an Australian show set in a small town in the outback. All the townspeople are anthropomorphous animals (CGI, I think), but they live in a very detailed and realistic (and dusty) town. 

I am glad to report that no Aussie accents were removed for the sake of Americanization, under the idea that "the kids won't understand" or "the kids can't identify with someone from another country". (I don't know why that trend has returned, but in a world where your kids are almost certain to meet kids from other countries online, and even speak to them over their videogame connection, it's an even lamer idea than it used to be.)

It's cute, but also a bit thoughtful. The theme of the show is helping others, but they also ponder how best to help, and whether some help is really help.

In the episode I watched, the Koala Brothers' small sister Mitzi dearly wanted the cuckoo clock on the wall of the general store. The shopkeeper (some kind of mole, I think) gave it to her, but then pined for the clock (and had trouble keeping on time). Meanwhile, Mitzi and everyone else on the Koala homestead found it hard to sleep with the cuckoo clock around.  But the shopkeeper was too polite to ask for a gift back, and Mitzi was afraid she'd hurt the shopkeeper's feelings. Politesse met necessity; Mitzi asked the shopkeeper to keep the clock for her.

Anyway, here are some cute little websites for the show:

 Disney Playhouse: Music videos, stories, and games.

 CBeebies includes a link to a song and some games.

 Random House gives a better sense of the "set". 

 Always entertaining to read the site for the industry…. 

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