Monthly Archives: July 2021

Steve Martin Does a Mystery Show

I just saw a hilarious/interesting trailer for a new show called Only Murders in the Building.

Steve Martin and Martin Short team up with Selena Gomez to solve crime, when one of their Upper West Side NYC apartment building neighbors gets murdered.

The conceit is that Martin Short’s character decides to produce a true crime podcast about the murder, and then ropes in the other characters to help him. But the amateur sleuths soon start to find themselves in real danger, and the body count just might rise!

It looks like the show is going to ride the line between a comedy and a true cozy mystery, making good use of the NYC setting.

Steve Martin has done mystery plots in the past, and honestly the world of true crime fans and podcasts is a great source of pathos, intelligent but goofy characters, and comedy gold. So I am crossing my fingers for this one to work. And I like Steve Martin and Martin Short, and Selena Gomez seems to know how an actress plays a good lead.

It’s going to be on Hulu sometime soon, so maybe check it out!

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Clothed by Jacob, Supported by Leah

Every so often, we have to remind people that the Woman in Revelation 12 is alluding to Biblical imagery from the Book of Genesis, not to anything pagan.

“A great sign appeared… a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head, a crown of twelve stars.”

Specifically, we’re being referred to Genesis 37:5-10 —

“Joseph told his brothers a dream that he had dreamed, which made his brothers hate him more…

“‘I thought we were binding sheaves in the field, and my sheaf stood up, and your sheaves bowed to my sheaf…’

“His brothers answered, ‘Are you going to be our king? Or shall we be subject to you?’…

“He dreamed another dream, which he told to his brothers, saying, ‘I dreamed a dream where the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.’

“And when he had told this to his father and his brothers, his father [Israel/Jacob] rebuked him, saying, ‘What does this dream that you have dreamed mean? Shall I, and your mother, and your brothers, bow down to the ground before you?'”

At this point, Joseph’s biological mother Rachel is dead. But Leah is still alive, and is the highest-ranking woman in the household. She’s “the moon.” Jacob, now named Israel, is “the sun.” The eleven stars (the Hebrew says “one and ten”) are all the other sons of Israel.

Leah doesn’t get a lot of modern attention; but both Judah (and hence David) and Levi (and hence the priests) are descended from her. The rabbis liked to point out that Rachel got all the earthly attention, but that the eternal promises from God went to Leah’s sons. Leah is the “rafter” that holds up the whole roof of the house. (Although often Leah and Rachel are described as twin rafters, where both are needed.) Leah is also seen as a prophetess, because her words about her children came true.

Most importantly, though, Leah is tied to Mary by her words in Genesis 30:13, on the birth of her son Asher — “The daughters [ie, women] will call me blessed.”

So the Woman of Revelation 12, previously tied to the Ark of the Covenant, is shown to be clothed with the sun — ie, showing her descent from Israel — and she has the moon under her feet — showing that she springs from Leah. All the tribes of Israel crown her. She comes from them, but she is higher in status than all of them.

The interesting bit is that “hypokato ton podon” is the same Greek used by Matthew and Mark to translate, “The Lord said to my lord, ‘Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.'” (Ps. 110:1)

The idea of the original psalm, in Hebrew, is that the enemies become a footstool. (The Septuagint translation is “hypopodion ton podon sou.”) Hypokato literally means something like “down under,” whereas “hypo” just means “under.”

But there is a Septuagint text that uses “hypokato ton podon autou” — Ps. 8:7/8:6.

The Gospel writers deliberately honor Jesus, and indicate both his divinity and His humanity as the everlasting king of the House of David, by combining Ps. 110:1 with Ps. 8:7/8:6. (1 Cor. 15:25 has Paul talking about these verses together, also.)

So…. what kind of “mighty sign” is it, if John combines Ps. 110:1, Ps. 8:7/8:6, and Rev. 12:1?

Let’s go back and look at Psalm 8, to get the context.

“O LORD our Lord, how excellent is Your Name in all the earth!

You have set Your splendor in the heavens.

Out of the mouths of babies and suckling children, You have ordained praise

Because of Your adversaries, to silence the Enemy and the vengeful.

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,

The moon and the stars which You have established firm,

What is man [enowos] that You are mindful of him,

And the son of Adam [ben Adam] that You visit him?

For You have made him a little lower than the angels,

And have crowned him with glory [kabod] and honor.

You made him reign over the works of Your hands;

You have put all things under his feet:

Sheep, and oxen, and even the beasts of the field,

The birds of the air, and the fish of the sea

That pass through the paths of the seas.

O LORD our Lord, how excellent is Your Name in all the earth!”

So I think we have to understand the Woman through the lens of this psalm. Even a fallen ordinary human is walking around crowned with God’s kabod, and has power over all created things, including the moon and the stars. A Christian who overcomes until the end will have the iron rod that rules the pagan nations and will wear a crown. Mary and the Church, Daughter Zion, are not any less important than that.

So why does this image of the Woman upset people?

(One last thing: Leah’s name means “cow,” and Rachel’s name means “ewe.” So if the Woman is standing on Leah, she’s standing on the cows, and one assumes, on the sheep too.)

(And walking around crowned with God’s kabod is obviously connected to the whole female headgear discussion, which supports the idea that women are indeed wearing diadems of authority, including the coming Christian authority to judge angels.)

Of course, what we usually connect to Rev. 12:1 is Songs 6:4, 10 —

“My love, you are as fair as Tirzah, lovely as Jerusalem, terrible as an army with flags flying!

“Who is this who peers out [the window] like the dawn?

“Fair as the moon, pure as the sun, terrible as an army with flags flying?”

And since the Beloved is clearly Israel, we’re back with Daughter Zion again. Tirzah was the capital of Israel in the North, as Jerusalem was capital of Judah in the South. “Tirzah” means “my pleasure” or “pleasant,” and alludes to God’s promise in Isaiah 62:4 that “you shall be called ‘my delight.'”

But what did it say in Songs 6:9?

“The daughters saw her, and called her blessed.”

Hmmmmmm. Almost like we’re talking about Mary, isn’t it? Obviously there’s no reason at all to connect the Woman with Mary, noooo.

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Prayers Needed

I have a friend in Cincinnati who is getting chemo for breast cancer. Please pray for her recovery and healing.

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The Original Lincoln/Kennedy Parallels!!

The late Lloyd Ostendorf, best known to the world as a Lincoln buff, historian, author, artist, and collector, was also a comics artist and writer for the obscure Catholic kids’ comic distributed through parochial schools called Treasure Chest of Fun and Fact.

Catholic University of America has a complete run of the comic, and has digitized them all.

Here, from Volume 19, Number 12, February 13, 1964, is Lloyd Ostendorf’s comics feature that began an enduring meme. Just scroll down to pages 9-12 for the illustrated list, created with research help from David S. Keiser. (He was another Lincoln buff.)

Ostendorf was embarrassed by this at the end of his life, because most Lincoln/Kennedy “amazing parallels” lists are just stupid. His own list has a lot of parallels that fell out along the way, even though they were actually more interesting and amazing than the ones which were kept.

But he also insisted on his authorship of the meme — and he was not lying, nor was he wrong. His comic feature clearly predates the August 1964 GOP newsletter which is usually credited — and a few months is exactly how long it would take for someone to see the comic from his kid’s school, call it vaguely to mind, and copy the memories down for a newsletter filler, without being able to remember the source or provide credit.

Thanks to Mr. Beat and his Lincoln/Kennedy parallels video for reminding me about Mr. Ostendorf’s authorship, and inadvertently inspiring me to find the digitized proof!

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“Neighbor” vs. “Kinsman”

Today I learned that, in a few places in the Vulgate translation of the Old Testament, “proximus” (usually “neighbor”) actually means “near kinsman,” or “the avenger of blood.”

In one of these cases, “vicinus” is used to represent a neighbor who physically lives close to a person. (A “vicinus” is a person in your neighborhood, a person whom you meet when you’re walking down the street, a person whom you meet each day.)

The Greek used for “neighbor” in “love your neighbor” is “plesion,” a neuter noun which means “person living physically nearby.” The Septuagint uses other words for the avenger of blood.

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Apponius and the Filioque

Apponius affirms the procession of the Holy Spirit from both the Father and the Son, and he doesn’t seem to think it’s even controversial. He mentions it in Book 3, in the context of a lot of other stuff, in the middle of an explanation of Songs 2:4 (“He brought me into his wine cellar, and he set in order the charity in me.”)

So then we get through the wine cellar and get to how charity can be set in order. At this point he starts talking about an “order of charity” [ordine charitatis] as relating to what things need to be taught and believed, and finally he starts talking about the Trinity. He talks about the Father as being the Voice in which the Son always is the Word. And then he talks about the Holy Spirit as third in the order of love within the Trinity. And then, he comments:

“Qui Spiritus vera ratione de Voce et Verbo, de Patre et Filio, procedere comprobatur….”

(“Which Breath is thoroughly proved by true reason to proceed from the Voice and the Word, from the Father and the Son….”)

Apponius gets all sorts of different datings from different scholars, but he’s obviously from long before the Filioque clause was first used in the West. So this is interesting.

Apponius talks a fair amount about the Trinity, in passing, in his Commentary on the Song of Songs. I was just startled by him touching upon this doctrine so casually.

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