Against Heresies continues, with more about the Father as Creator and the Incarnation.
The Girl of the Golden West continues, as the Girl walks in.
As you may have noted in previous parts, there is some use of offensive terms in this book. A lot of this is done to set an authentic stage; people did call each other nasty names and Belasco represented this faithfully. Some of it is probably David Belasco falling for stereotypes himself, oblivious to any offense. I think he always meant well (heck, he adapted Madame Butterfly to the stage, and that’s a powerful indictment of racism), but I also think I should let you know what’s coming. (Especially since it’s not real work-safe.)
An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine is a very interesting book. I’m not starting it quite at the beginning, because the Introduction is very long and roves about, and this week I am tired. (Yes, I am a wimp.) So I will read the intro next week, if you don’t mind, and the rest of this chapter too.
The book is both about theology and the history of ideas. Indeed, it is pretty much about how ideas having a history works. It’s a lot more interesting than memes, but obviously memes would have been a useful concept for Newman here. However, this utilitarian aspect is consistently underlain by the fact that Newman doesn’t doubt that Christian doctrine isn’t just any old meme; revelation comes direct from God, and hence is a bit different from other sorts of ideas. Grace builds upon nature, but it’s not just nature, either.
A Dialogue of Comfort in Tribulation was written in prison by St. Thomas More while he awaited execution. It is a sort of literary last will and testament, encouraging people to persevere in faith despite persecution. The dialogue between fictional characters is framed in terms of the threat posed by the Ottoman Empire; but of course, he was referring also to the situation of English Catholics.
If you’ve ever read anything by Randall Garrett, you know he’s good at the funny stuff. This 1962 collaboration with Laurence M. Janifer is no exception. Brain Twister (aka That Nice Old Lady) reminds me strongly of other whimsical sf adventures from the early sixties, particularly Kurland and Anderson’s Ten Years to Doomsday.
“The Street of Magnificent Dreams” concludes, as Alicia’s husband gets an idea.
This story, btw, was brought to you by Bookery Fantasy, which sells all kinds of stuff — from DVDs, gaming supplies and comics to the odd copy of Argosy All-Story Weekly.
Murray Leinster (real name: William F. Jenkins) is best known today for his interesting and well-crafted science fiction. His story “First Contact” is still widely anthologized (and is genuinely funny as well as thought-provoking). But he also wrote Westerns, mystery, adventure, and every other kind of pulp story.
For the August 5, 1922 issue of Argosy All-Story Weekly, Leinster wrote a little romance story. About married people in love with their spouses. And it actually talks about work and grownup stuff! Enjoy.
Next Saturday, I’m going to start up St. Thomas More’s advice book for Christians undergoing persecution, A Dialogue of Comfort against Persecution. I know a lot of folks would like me to do another mysticism and devotion handbook, but I’ve done quite a lot of that. Dealing with keeping the faith under persecution is a real problem for many Christians today — and most people will suffer it in at least a small way during their faith lives — so this seemed to me to be a practical choice. After that, I will probably do St. Robert Bellarmine’s snappily titled treatise, The Art of Dying Well. (Truly, a book everyone can use.)
Also, Newman’s Development of Doctrine is coming up. This seems to be a very crucial book for many people, either to understand how Catholicism works as a convert, or to gain intellectual understanding of something known instinctually by “cradle Catholics”. I’m looking forward to reading it for the first time. (Yes, even the first part with the “current state of the Oxford Movement’s feud recap and reply” section. All of Newman’s works during the argufyin’, fussin’ and feudin’ portion of his life include such a first chapter, as far as I can tell. This was needed at the time, but it’s very amusing now. “I’d like to start telling you the story of my life and conversion, but first, I have to clarify my position on remarriage among early Christians and refute Mr. Pusey!”)
Fairly soon, both Ss. Athanasius and Irenaeus are gonna be done, also. So if you have any burning desires for me to read a certain work, speak now.
Heck, if you have any requests for stories, poems, or anything else for me to read, let me know. I’m trying to get more variety into this podcast, and your ideas must be a lot more various than mine!