Back again!

June 05, 2022

Sorry for this long hiatus--I had thought I would be back up to regular posting a couple weeks ago.  But then bourgeois life intervened; our house (the physical house not the metaphorical one) had a series of troubles, then this past week our whole family was away at an event for one of the children--very moving and hopeful, I may post about that later--and we only returned yesterday evening.  I've discovered I'm a creature of habit, and if my habits are interrupted, I cannot be counted upon to do the work I expect (and often am expected) to do.  This is not an excuse, just an explanation.

For now, however, just a few links.


For those of you who are not teachers, forgive me.  For those of you who are, however, this is a nice piece to read about how incorporating an in-class practice of annotation (individual, then small group) can be useful.  I’m gonna try it.  (It’s got a couple good links in the story, too, to other things.)


Fascinating—a study of how analytic philosophers reveal the sub-communities within the field, via their acknowledgments and citational practices.  Among other things, “the distribution of prestige does not coincide with the distribution of intellectual capital in analytic philosophy.”  I would love to see something like this in religious studies.


If you know anything about Göbekli Tepe, you know about the astonishing carvings on the pillars, made before any kind of metal was invented.  (And if you know about me, you know I'm kind of obsessed with GT.)  This piece offers an account of how they might be related to particular ritual costumes.


“How is Hazlitt?” Keats once wrote to John Hamilton Reynolds. “I know he thinks himself not estimated by ten people in the world – I wish he knew he is.”  This article helps a little bit to explain who Hazlitt was and why he was so impressive to so many impressive people.


A series of anecdotes on Kant as a lecturer.  Pretty interesting—a scattering of glimpses of a great mind, trying to reach the rest of us, and not infrequently succeeding.


Nice piece on Gerry Cohen.  But I think his own writing (esp If You’re an Egalitarian…) is still better, in part because it’s less hagiographical than this.


The story of Górecki’s Third Symphony.  I remember listening to this a lot in the 1990s and early 2000s; I should get it out again.  It seemed to me a musical transposition of a lot of the tragic sense of the Eastern European poets and writers I was reading in those days (and still read).  But it did seem, to my untutored ear, to lack a sense of the ironic that those writers had.  It was far more sincere, uncomplicatedly, unproblematically so.  I wonder if that is true.  Can music be ironic?  I imagine so, but I don't quite know how, at least not outside of Jazz, which can be highly ironic.  (See, or rather listen to, Thelonius Monk if you don't believe me.)


Is Enheduanna the world’s first author whose name we know?  This is a nice piece on the mystery of this four-thousand year old woman.


How did Swahili become Africa’s most common language?  Fascinating.  And given my own deep ignorance about the history of Africa, educational.  I have to do much much more to understand this continent, which is arguably the most important, historically and (if demographics are anything) in coming centuries, for humanity.


This is a really interesting review of a book that seems to be trying to continue an older motive scholarship without very much recognition that most other scholars think this older motive scholarship has been quite significantly superseded, even rendered obsolete, by newer modes. This reviewer agrees with that judgment, but nonetheless sees something to value in this project. Reading the review gave me a lot to think about about the shape and direction of scholarship.


Happy Sunday, everyone.  Does it feel like the first Sunday of summer to you?  It does to me.  May that be a good feeling for you, if you have it.