Charles Barkley’s Golf Swing

Wikipedia’s description of Charles Barkley’s golf swing must be quoted in full: Barkley is well known for his fondness of golf. However, his swing is often regarded as one of the most bizarre and broken swings in the sport. Barkley’s swing unravels after he brings his club back. He starts to take it forward then jerks to a […]

C. S. Lewis and Biblical Theology

In his “Introduction” to Athanasius’s On the Incarnation, C. S. Lewis noted that “Every age has its own outlook.” Reading “the controversies of past ages,” Lewis was struck that “both sides were usually assuming without question a good deal which we should now absolutely deny. . . . they were all the time secretly united . […]

Satchel Paige’s Six Rules to Keep Young

Just heard these on Ken Burns’s tribute to Baseball: How to Keep Young by Satchel Paige Avoid fried meats which angry up the blood. If you stomach disputes you, lie down and pacify it with cool thoughts. Keep the juices flowing by jangling around gently as you move. Go very light on the vices, such […]

Greek Palindromes

Here’s a great post from Rod Decker: A palindrome is a word or sentence that reads identically forward and backward, e.g., “Do geese see God?” The Greek palindrome inscription: ΝΙΨΟΝΑΝΟΜΗΜΑΜΗΜΟΝΑΝΟΨΙΝ is from the Hagia Sophia. (In Greek, Ἁγία Σοφία is short for Ναός τῆς Ἁγίας τοῦ Θεοῦ Σοφίας, “Church of the Holy Wisdom of God.” […]

The Authorial Agony of Charles Dickens

My friend Scott Corbin sent me this poignant excert from Clair Tomalin’s Charles Dickens: A Life, 113-114: “These were all distractions from the central business of the year, which was the story that had started as a few episodes and was being made into a novel, week by week, The Old Curiosity Shop. Against all […]

Hans Frei’s Central Idea

Thanks to Patrick Schreiner for pointing to this essay, in which William C. Placher describes Hans Frei’s central idea: Frei certainly never thought of himself as a “great theologian, ” but he did have a central passion, a central idea. That idea emerged through long study, in the 1950s and ’60s, of l8th- and 19th-century […]

Halton on the Human Element of History

Reflecting on a post entitled “The Spiritual Ground of History,” Charles Halton describes a poignant moment in his own research: . . . as I was going through the cuneiform tablet collection that belongs to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh. I was bogged down in trying to read from broken tablets and […]

J. K. Rowling’s Harvard Commencement Address: Failure and Imagination

In 2008 Rowling gave a stirring address at the Harvard commencement on the benefits of failure and the importance of imagination. Some highlights: by any conventional measure, a mere seven years after my graduation day, I had failed on an epic scale. An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, and I was jobless, a lone parent, […]

Adoption Can Change the World

Jenn Philpot closes a post on domestic adoption with this profound paragraph: In light of Steve Jobs passing away, a few news reports have talked about the fact that he had been adopted.  One great article titled Steve Jobs Changed the World: Adoption Changed His mentions other notable figures that were also adopted, such as […]

Brevard Childs on the One Basic Fault of OT Theologies (according to James Barr)

James Barr (Concept of Biblical Theology, 49) recounts that in B. S. Childs’ essay “Old Testament in Germany 1920–1940”: “Childs argues that the acceptance of the historical-critical method as a base is the one basic fault running through the entire series of modern Old Testament theologies before his own.”

Is Satan the Hero of Milton’s “Paradise Lost”?

Some have alleged that Satan is the real hero of John Milton’s epic Paradise Lost. For instance, William Blake held that Milton was “‘of the devil’s party,’ though ‘without knowing it’” and Percy Bysshe Shelley thought that Satan was “‘a moral being,’ one ‘far superior to [Milton’s] God as one who perseveres in some purpose […]

The Heresy of Explanation

Alan Jacobs joins in Robert Alter’s lament of “the heresy of explanation” at work in dynamic equivalence translation theory. Here’s how Jacobs opens his review of Alter’s The Five Books of Moses: As the Italians say, traduttori, tradittori: translators are traitors. But the translator who shrugs and—cheerfully or resignedly—agrees that “every translation is an interpretation, […]

Can Dostoevsky’s Translator Weigh in on Bible Translation?

Mirra Ginsburg translated Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground, including a three page meditation “On the Translation.” I would love to transcribe the entirety of these three pages, but won’t take the time to do so. This paragraph (p. xxviii) gets at the heart of what I want to emphasize–I put the final sentence in bold […]

Ishmael Describes the Pulpit

As Ishmael, the narrator of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, describes the Whaleman’s Chapel, he says this about the pulpit: Nor was the pulpit itself without a trace of the same sea-taste that had achieved the ladder and the picture. Its panelled front was in the likeness of a ship’s bluff bows, and the Holy Bible […]

The Writer’s Sanity and Taste

John Gardner’s The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers, 201: “Sanity in a writer is merely this: However stupid he may be in his private life, he never cheats in writing. He never forgets that his audience is, at least ideally, as noble, generous, and tolerant as he is himself (or more […]

This Is How Biblical Intertextuality Works, Too

John Gardner’s The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers, 192–93: “It is this quality of the novel, its built-in need to return and repeat, that forms the physical basis of the novel’s chief glory, its resonant close. . . . What rings and resounds at the end of a novel is not […]