Ancient Rome, Divination, History, Judaic Thought, Myth, Prophecy, Religion and Faith, Social Change

[Not Really a Review] Secrecy and the Gods by Alan Lenzi

I have just started reading Secrecy and the Gods: Secret Knowledge in Ancient Mesopotamia and Biblical Israel by Alan Lenzi as part of an effort to educate myself a little in the emergence and diffusion of religious ideas in the cradle of civilization. That fits into a broader project I have going on, but I talk about that sort of stuff on my other blog, Spirited Culture (and it will be a little bit before I am ready to post anything about that there).

Here, I just want to wax poetic on the value and rewards of clear scholarly writing. Well-formed scholastic discourse, with a clear sense of its foundations and aims, is like tonic for the intellect. Lenzi does an exceptional job situating his work within his discipline and, in so doing, shines a bright light on the temperament of the field at present.

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Adorno, Community, Critical Theory, poverty, Prophecy, Religion and Faith, Social Change

[News] Cornel West and Melissa Harris-Perry

Cornell West was in the news a bit last month because of some fairly harsh things he has said about the President. The story seems to have taken off here and, to my mind, had its most meaningful articulation here on the Ed Show. There seems to be a fair amount in between those two points, but especially Melissa Harris-Perry’s print response here.

What interests me most keenly is the pair of interviews on the Ed Show. The interview of West followed immediately with that of Harris-Perry shows off well the conceptual distance between them and their ways of thinking. I’m pleased that the show gave each interviewee a block of time rather than simply using the simultaneous split-screen method.

That space gave each of their views room to breathe and prevented the interview from becoming an occasion for debate-style one-upmanship. The show does give Harris-Perry’s view pride of place in terms of how the host responds and in closing out the segment, but a certain bias is inescapable.

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