Monthly Archives: April 2012

Gryson’s New Critical Edition of Beatus

1. Yay for Ohiolink! It’s here! Both volumes! They seem pretty sturdily bound, so I won’t be afraid to photocopy whatever’s needed. Gryson includes more in the way of section numbers and sentence numbers, so that it will be easier for people to quote Beatus and find quotes from him. This is a Good Thing.

2. Forewords with all kinds of manuscript discussion: French. They take up about a quarter of the first volume, so I’m sure there’s a lot of meaty information. The table of contents is at the back of Volume 2, as is the European style. There’s also a table of scriptural citations, another of non-scripture quotes, and another of the illustration pages.

3. Beatus text: in the original Latin. Critical apparatus: tons more of it.

4. Footnotes for quoted sources: at the very bottom of the page, and in Latin. Unfortunately, the way they’re set up typographically, the footnotes are very difficult to parse out at a glance. Maybe I’ll get used to the format, but right now I’m having difficulties. (Possibly it’s the house style or a French format.)

5. Illustrations seem to be all black and white reproductions, unless there are color plates I’m not seeing. They are nice, but rather small. In the case of diagrams and tables, they are too small to make out, which doesn’t seem useful.

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Mandrake Fruit!

The Cloisters’ garden blog has a nifty picture of a mandrake and its unripe fruit, and the mandrake in bloom earlier.

(As you may recall from Genesis, Rachel was very fond of mandrakes, and Leah used to her bargaining advantage some mandrake fruits that her kids found.)

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The Archeology of Medieval Sinusitis

If you have really, really bad sinus problems, it changes your maxillary sinus bones.

So yes, there are medieval sinusitis archeology studies.

“Chronic maxillary sinusitis in medieval Sigtuna, Sweden”.

“Maxillary sinusitis in Medieval Chichester, England”.

“Comparative study of the prevalence of maxillary sinusitis in later medieval urban and rural populations in Northern England

So if you have sinus problems, now you know your ancestors survived sinus long enough to reproduce…. 🙂

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Why I’ll Never Be a Professional Apologist

Apparently when people try to claim that Jesus was somehow still alive after being crucified and having His heart speared, and you point out that not only was he dead, but as dead as a package of meat in the supermarket (given that whole “blood and water” thing) — it offends people.

I’m not really sure how somebody flirting with Docetism can be offended by that. But I guess that’s the whole point of all the Docetist-type heresies. People would rather believe that Jesus faked His death or never had a body or somehow managed to escape suffocation and bleeding to death through hibernation. They don’t want to believe in Christ dead on the Cross. They want the befores and afters, because they are prettier. They don’t want the scene inbetween, even though that’s the crux of matters.

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Lyrid Meteor Shower and Pony Royal Wedding Finale!

Pretty good weekend stuff, folks.

Lyra explains the Lyrid meteor shower.

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Allegedly Based on a True Story….

There’s a lot of bronies in the military. Here’s the fanfic version of something that may or may not have happened to one of them. You do hear stories like this going around, but no definite names and dates. The guy who wrote it isn’t anybody it happened to, or even anybody in the military, though.

So in this case, it’s “fanfic” in the seldom-used meaning of “fiction about fans.”

“The Pony in My Pocket”

As always, I make no guarantees or recommendations about the rest of the fanfic world, or other stories on its host site — just this particular story.

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Ah, the Internet’s great moments of ecumenical dialogue….

I just ran across a page written by some flavor of Orthodox (Greek, Russian, who knows?) which was decrying Marian apparitions. Mostly because such things only ever happened in the West, and they were connected with “Latin” pious practices, which obviously meant they were crap. (Especially if you take the most doubtful and unapproved apparitions as typical, and ignore the well-established ones.) Well, except for the Zeitoun apparitions, which were probably okay because they were seen by Copts… except that nope, the pagan practices of Egypt obviously must have raised their heads, and it was really some kind of Isis thing, because they weren’t Orthodox. (And pointing out that people who see apparitions usually see saints and Jesus as well as Mary — well, that doesn’t count, because it doesn’t fit the author’s thesis.)

All throughout the Bible, people run into apparition-like phenomena. In the New Testament, probably the most influential examples are the linked stories of St. Stephen, seeing Jesus, and St. Paul’s conversion, hearing Jesus. We also have the vision or visit of heaven by St Paul, and St. John’s Apocalypse. I trust nobody’s going to argue that those are unbiblical Western delusions of seeing pagan gods….

Those sorts of experiences did not end with St. John. From the very earliest period, we have the Shepherd of Hermas, for example. Every so often, either a single person or a group of people would have some kind of vision, either brief or long, either singly or repeated. It wasn’t common; it wasn’t uncommon. Most churches of early Christians have some such story attached to their history.

The Orthodox don’t seem to have ditched the story that the Emperor Constantine saw a vision of the Cross, and was told “In this sign you will conquer.” I trust nobody’s claiming that was a vision of the pagan god of axles and angles?

Now, anybody who has read the history of the later Roman Empire knows that plenty of people in the heyday of Constantinople saw Mary, as well as other saints, warrior angels, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, and it wouldn’t surprise me if somebody had visions of the Father dwelling in unapproachable light. A lot of times, Byzantine apparitions happened while they were traipsing some wonderworking icon around in a procession. There was tons of this stuff; it wasn’t obscure.

Now, you could argue that mass pilgrimages and excitement about Marian apparitions, and other apparitions, is new and relatively modern. But stuff like Our Lady of the Pillar and St. James of Compostela, and similar Eastern pilgrimage sites, would tend to argue against that.

So an Orthodox guy saying Marian apparitions are all a Western and recent phenomenon is profoundly silly, ahistorical, and insulting to his own Eastern traditions. But no, it’s more important to try and keep Orthodox people away from Western Latin cooties than to understand Orthodoxy. (Though of course, it’s also possible that the author was some kind of Protestant convert to orthodoxy, and was influenced by anti-Marian rhetoric from his old church.)

I suppose the thing to do is to go comb through stuff and find records of Eastern and very early apparitions, so Orthodox folks won’t be left ignorant that this stuff is part of their Christian heritage too.


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