Archive for May, 2006

Return with me once again to those thrilling days of yesteryear, when men were men and they wrote men’s romance novels! Yes, back again to Dawn of Flame, as poor ol’ Hull Tarvish is caught in the toils of that beautiful and terrible woman warrior of the post-pandemic world, Black Margot of N’Orleans. Will the pure and gentle love of his sweet girl Vail be enough to save him?

No, it’s not “A Martian Odyssey”. Not by a long shot. But it does have its moments!

Chapter 8: Torture



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I'm really not going to an all-Fathers, all-the-time format. Really. I promise we're getting back to the normal mostly-fiction format. Soon.

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Irenaeus now brings up Marcus, a Gnostic teacher whose reported personal worship and evangelical practices lead one to believe he really wasn't all that opposed to flesh. Or money. Or using prestidigitation and hypnosis to bedazzle his marks. (His more theoretical ideas come next chapter.)

Chapter 13: Marcus' Practices.


UPDATE: Bad link fixed.

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Now we go from discussing a general summary of Gnosticism to a quick summary of individual Gnostic teachers' ideas. (Isn't Colorbasus a great name, btw? Sounds like a brand of paint.) This is pretty much the pattern of the book — from general to ever more specific issues, each then opposed with Christian arguments.

Chapters 11-12: Valentinus, Ptolemy, and Colorbasus' Ideas


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Against Heresies continues with arguments against these basic Gnostic ideas, including the unity of the Church.

Chs. 9-10: Refutation; Unity of the Church


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St. Irenaeus explains how Gnostics thought the world would end, and what their own fate would be. He also explains their favorite quoting techniques, as Against Heresies continues.

Chs. 7-8: The Gnostic Apocalypse; Their Quoting Techniques


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Against Heresies continues, as St. Irenaeus explains how it is that Gnostics thought that the Creation of the world was generally a mistake and a bad thing.

Chs. 4-6: Achamoth, the Demiurge, and the Threefold Man


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Against Heresies is in some ways a really great book. St. Irenaeus went out there and not only studied Gnostic writings, but talked to Gnostic teachers. Then he tried his hand at refuting their arguments, and put all the information out there for Christians to use.

Unfortunately, Gnosticism is more interesting as a phenomenon than as a belief system. Just as Gnostic gospels take all the fun out of Jesus, Gnostic cosmology takes all the fun out of mythology. Not liking all that messy body stuff meant turning their backs on most of the stuff humans like. St. Irenaeus does his best to fight this with scattered bits of humor, but it’s pretty grim reading. Also, it’s a really long book. (The following chapters bring us less than halfway through Volume 1. Of 5.)

Still, this is an important topic, and you might need Irenaeus’ arguments! When people tell you all about Gnostics and the “sacred feminine” from The De Vinci Code, be sure to tell them how Sophia/Achamoth fell “because she was female” and hence weaker and less perfect. Yeah, those Gnostics were so enlightened and feminist. Yup. Uh huh.

Chapters 0-3: Gnostic Cosmology and Favorite Quotes


UPDATE: Link fixed. Thanks for the heads up, Tom!

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Very few writings by women have survived from classical Greece and Rome. This audiobook is made from one of them.

Meet Vibia Perpetua, a twenty-two year old from North Africa. She has a baby at her breast, a father who loves and disagrees with her, and a mind and soul set on a path that the world doesn’t understand. She just got arrested for her beliefs. Together, she and her friends are about to defy the greatest empire in the world.

Look out, world.
The Martyrdom of St. Perpetua and St. Felicitas


UPDATE: Link fixed.

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A contemporary early Christian text describing the martyrdom of St. Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna (now Izmir, Turkey). 

The Martyrdom of St. Polycarp


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This classic of English humor continues, with a chapter that's unusually full of acute observation and subtle social commentary. We visit a noble house that isn't expecting visitors.  Also, foxes have earths, and the birds of the air feather their nests, but it looks like poor Mr. Sponge will soon have nowhere to lay his head. (This analogy of mine is probably the closest Sponge is going to get to a Christ figure.)

Chapter 56: Nonsuch House Again


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St. Polycarp's only surviving letter is on the topic of righteousness.

St. Polycarp's Letter to the Philippians


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I really am trying to get back on schedule with the podcast. But I'm afraid things are going to continue being a bit slapdash until I do. Anyway, at least I managed to give you something to listen to today!

From the surviving letters of St. Ignatius of Antioch:

St. Ignatius' Letter to St. Polycarp


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From the surviving letters of St. Ignatius of Antioch:

St. Ignatius' Letter to the Smyrnaeans


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From the surviving letters of St. Ignatius of Antioch.

St. Ignatius' Letter to the Philadelphians


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