Archive for August 24th, 2006

The siege of Jerusalem begins, and we meet the Antiochian princess Erminia. Since Tancredi’s mysterious love at first sight turns out to have been Clorinda, and Erminia has a crush on Tancredi — you can tell that things are going to get messy.

Third Book


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Against Heresies continues with some chapters on why you shouldn’t take numerology too seriously, and how you can pick all sorts of random numbers out of the Bible. (There really is number symbolism in the Bible, of course, but it’s not any kind of secret code.) This also enables Irenaeus to make a long, amusing riff on occurrences of the number five in the Bible, as he also goes into the five ages of man we were hearing about in Chapter 22.

Chs. 24-25: Folly of the Arguments Derived by the Heretics from Numbers, Letters, and Syllables; God is Not to Be Sought After by Means of Letters, Syllables, and Numbers; Necessity of Humility in Such Investigations.



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Against Heresies continues with a chapter on when Jesus was baptized and died. Then there’s a chapter on why you probably don’t want to pick random healed people as a type of your random Pleroma guys.

Chs. 22-23: The Thirty Aeons are Not Typified by the Fact that Christ Was Baptized in His Thirtieth Year: He Did Not Suffer in the Twelfth Month After His Baptism. The Woman Who Suffered from an Issue of Blood Was No Type of the Suffering Aeon.


Chapter 22 is often used as a stick to beat on Irenaeus and attack the accuracy of his knowledge handed down from the apostles. But this controversial chapter seems to me to be badly misunderstood.

Look, if you first read a paragraph on ‘Jesus was baptized when he was 30, and then he went up to Jerusalem for the next three Passovers. The third time he went up for Passover was when he was crucified,” I think it’s pretty clear the writer is saying, “Jesus died at the age of 33.”

The whole next section is what I like to call “oratorical and poetical froufrou”. Thanks to the way classic writers love to drive in their points, if you don’t understand a froufrou section, you can pretty well assume it amounts to the same dang thing as the non-froufrou before it. (This is why Irenaeus gives us the non-froufrou first.)

So no matter how incompetent the Latin translator, Irenaeus is not saying Jesus was 50 (or 100, like one wacky site that claims Jesus lived until Trajan took the throne, instead of John doing it. Even though it’s John who famously lived to be a really old geezer. Sigh.).

Just to make this perfectly clear, you’ll hear a part in the next soundfile where Irenaeus explains the five ages of man. The English translator translates the same word, “juvenis”, as “the first stage of early life” in Chapter 22, but “maturity” in the next bit (and “the prime of life” in the footnotes for the next bit). Confusing and annoying.

So for your convenience, what Irenaeus is saying: to be a rabbi, you had to be older than 30. According to the classical scheme of things, you were successively a a baby, a child, a youth, and then someone “in the prime of life”. After 30, it was all downhill and you were old. You weren’t really really old until you were over 40 or 50, but you were old. (Hence the age prohibitions in US law on being a senator or president. Senator (from “senex”, old man) means “elder”, so you have to be at least 30. A president has to be even older — 35.) Jesus was 33, so he counted as old when he died even if he wasn’t a real geezer.

(And since Jesus was the suffering servant and looked like crud, he probably looked 40 to the people he was arguing with.)

I hope that helped clear all your questions up. Next, world peace!

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Little Fuzzy meets a biologist, and mutual appreciation ensues.

Part IV


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Little Fuzzy returns and brings more surprises with him. We also meet some less friendly inhabitants of Zarathustra’s wilderness.

Note: “damnthing” is all one word.

Part III


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