Current reading

I was going to re-read de Waal’s Seeking God: The Way of St Benedict, but I got sidetracked when my copy of Praying the Bible: An Introduction to Lectio Divina suddenly turned up one day.  It’s filled to the brim with references to the fathers and their remarkable, even astounding, praise of the Bible.

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Excellent essay quotes

Last Friday the two oldest kids, 14 and 12, turned in essays about the characters in the Iliad for their Ancient Literature course.  Today their teacher, Megan Krejci, highlighted bits from their essays in this blog post:

Christopher, 14:

“If not for being angry, selfish, and spiteful, Achilles could be like Hector.”

Sarah, 12:

“Akhilleus has some similarities with Gilgamesh; he is part god and part human, has a best friend who dies, and goes to his mother when he has a problem.”

Esther de Waal

Here’s a recent interview with Esther de Waal, the author of Seeking God: The Way of St Benedict, one of my current books.

There are places for all the activities of the monastery, and at the heart of the great complex of buildings, in the very center—how audacious—they put empty space. The empty space is a garden, grass, flowers in very simple colors, white and blue, and at the very heart a fountain, a spring of living water.  Compare that to a human being: We have all the demands and the various activities, earning your living, making decisions, hospitality, maintaining property, all the rest of it. And in the center, Christ is empty, uncluttered space. Around Christ is the busy walkway servicing the needs of daily life, but in the middle you can refresh yourself in the spring of living water.

Trojan War propaganda

Just had a great hour-long conversation with the 2 older kids about the characters in the Iliad and how Homer goes against the traditions of war propaganda to recognize nobility in enemy characters (the Trojans) and evil in the characters on the side of him and his listeners (the Greeks). If the kids have enough time, I’m hoping they can come up with some modern propaganda-style posters for the Trojan War, illustrating how a Greek propagandist might lie about Priam and Hektor to portray them as evil, or how a Trojan propagandist might play up the bad sides of Odysseus or Akhilleus or Agamemnon.

What’s amazing is how Homer gave us such perfectly-realized human characters and relationships. The kids are excited and we could easily go on about them all day.

Speaking of which, here are some garish WW2 propaganda posters.  I wonder who will write the Iliad of our “war against terror”?