Paganism

The much lamented social commentator Christopher Hitchens, in his defence of atheism, was often countered by his interrogators with Pascal’s Wager. Hitchens usually confuted the suggestion in his urbane way. I thought I’d take a closer look at Pascal’s idea, as so many Christians seem to think it such a good one. ØØØ Blaise Pascal … More Paganism

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Homer in English

I’ve been fascinated with Homer’s poems since I was a teenager, but the only language I understand is English (and not always that). I wondered what I was getting by way of translations: good poetry, good reconstruction of a performance piece for reading, or just wordiness. There are 110 translations of the Iliad into English … More Homer in English

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Sacred

A word meaning set aside for religious purposes, or arousing feelings of awe associated with the divine. Or coping with immanence. ’Sacred’ is related to the word ‘holy’, which carries the same meanings, and which is derived from the word ‘whole’ (OED). (’Sacré bleu’ BTW was originally ’sacré dieu’). The sacred is a useful concept. … More Sacred

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The Saga of Atreus

The vendetta in the House of Atreus is a story set in the earliest period of Greek history, when Indo-European language speaking tribes began moving into the Balkan peninsula and Anatolia about 1400 BC-1200 BC from the Steppes region. The vendetta culminated in the attack by Greeks on Troy, written about by Homer in the … More The Saga of Atreus

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Travellers’ tales

I began writing this essay thinking to review some favourite books of travels. After adding just one more, and one more, it belatedly occurred to me I had bitten off more than I could, er, chew. Aren’t all books books of travel? Don’t we travel in the wonderful world of the imagination when we read … More Travellers’ tales

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Dangerous enchantment

I can still remember being enchanted when a child by fairy stories. Tales of the Brothers Grimm or of Charles Perrault, or Hans Christian Andersen or the One Thousand Nights and One Night, they include figures like Hansel and Gretel, Puss in Boots, Jack the Giant Killer and Aladdin. Associated with them are the stories … More Dangerous enchantment

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