Attn: University of Notre Dame Press Overstock Sale!

Why buy a mattress anywhere else?

Why buy a mattress anywhere else?

These overstock events remind me I will probably never get over my book addiction.

The University of Notre Dame Press is selling over 400 titles online, most priced at $5 per book, with a few priced at $10 and $15.   You can get all the instructions and link to the sale books here (there’s a code, NDEOVR13 , you have to type in at checkout, so make sure you read this page first):

I’ve already spotted Fritz Bauerschimdt’s book on Julian of Norwich, a book on von Balthasar made famous by the pope emeritus, a book by the head of the Erasmus institute James Turner, one on Dante and Petrarch, one by Hauerwas on Truthfulness and tragedy, a book by Haldane, another one by Grisez, Soloviev’s essays,  Nicholas Boyle’s great book on literature as theology that was positively reviewed by Greg Wolfe in IMAGE Journal, quite a few books by Laurence Paul Hemming among them this great volume,  a book on pilgrim theology by Nicholas Lash, a set of addresses to Catholic intellectuals from philosopher Adriaan Peperzak, Vance Morgan’s book on Simone Weil’s writings on math, science, and love.

There goes my beer money.  Nota Bene: Buying books when you can’t afford them is an act of Rabelaisian Catholicism.

Remember, the checkout code is: NDEOVR13

My begrudging thanks go out to Brandon Sammon who has a noteworthy blog here.

Buddy can you spare a dime?

Buddy can you spare a dime?


Adam Zagajewski | In the Beauty Created By Others


Zagajewski, Rosman, Hirsch (May 2005)

Early in the morning I’m grading papers at the Crossroads mall in Bellevue. It’s delightful to watch the light filter in and settle upon the heads of people standing in line at the food court. It reminds me of the lines,  The others are not hell, / if you see them early, with their / foreheads pure, cleansed by dreams.” The brackets below are all mine and suggest possible influences and/or interesting connections to Zagajewski’s poem.

“In the Beauty Created By Others”

Only in the beauty created
by others is there consolation, [Schopenhauer]
in the music of others and in others’ poems.
Only others save us, [von Balthasar]
even though solitude tastes like
opium [Marx]. The others are not hell, [Sartre]
if you see them early, with their
foreheads pure, cleansed by dreams [not Freud].
That is why I wonder what
word should be used, “he” or “you.” Every “he”
is a betrayal of a certain “you” but
in return someone else’s poem
offers the fidelity of a sober dialogue [Buber].*

*That’s a lot to pack into a small space, isn’t it?  That’s what makes poetry so unique.

If this has piqued your interest, don’t miss the compendium of Zagajewski posts at The Book Haven.

Supersessionism: Two for the Price of One?

Cranach the Elder, Law and Grace, 1529.

Divide in two? Why not three?

Debates about supersessionism frequently flare up in America between evangelicals (generally pro) and mainliners (generally contra).  They look and sound like an outgrowth of the early modern law and grace controversies.  I would like to argue the real debate is elsewhere.

The following etymology is a helpful frame for what we want to talk about: “The word supersessionism comes from the English verb to supersede, from the Latin verb sedeo, sedere, sedi, sessum, ‘to sit,’ plus super, ‘upon.’ It thus signifies one thing being replaced or supplanted by another.”

Recent scholarship suggest that the definitive break between Christianity and Judaism is later than first supposed, much later, perhaps as late as the sixth century.  Things get even more complicated when you consider the following passage from Richard John Neuhaus:

“In fact, the early Christians, both Jewish and gentile, made no secret of the Jewish grounding of their faith. The second century Marcion who pitted Christianity against the history of Israel was condemned as a heretic. Many pagans did deride Christianity as a ‘Jewish sect,’ which did not prevent its continuing growth. Moreover, those Jews who did not accept Jesus were themselves involved in reinventing Judaism after the destruction of the second temple in 70 ad. It is not too much to say that there were two competing versions of the history of Israel that were presented to the world: what became known as rabbinical Judaism on the one hand and the Church on the other.”

This means that both rabbinical Judaism and Christianity in some sense superseded Temple Judaism as rival versions of Judaism.  Therefore, you get two supersessionisms for the price of one, or, alternatively, two legitimate theological developments.

Justin Tse says all of this appears to be in line with Dabru Emet, the historic statement on Jewish-Christian relations from a Jewish perspective.

Rejoicing – Or the Torments of Religious Speech

Forthcoming July 2013

It is noteworthy whenever the French philosopher of science Bruno Latour (author of We Have Never Been Modern, The Politics of Nature, and countless other influential books) has a new book coming.  This one digs into his first passion: theology (he wrote a dissertation on the Catholic poet Charles Peguy).  It appears his book Rejoicing will intensify the personal tone he’s known for reinserting back into our understanding of how science works.  Here’s a small sample:

“Rejoicing – or the torments of religious speech: that is what he wants to talk about, that is what he can’t actually seem to talk about: it’s as though the cat had got his tongue; as though he was spoilt for choice when it comes to words; as though it was impossible to articulate; he can’t actually seem to share what, for so long, he has held so dear to his heart; before his nearest and dearest, he is forced to cover up; he can only stutter; how can he own up to his friends, to his colleagues, his nephews, his students?  He is ashamed of not daring to speak out and ashamed of wanting to speak out, regardless. Ashamed, too, for those who don’t make it any easier for him, thrusting his head underwater while claiming to rescue him, or, instead of throwing him a lifebuoy, throwing words as heavy as a mooring buoy at him. Weighted with lead, that’s it –they’ve weighted him with lead. Yes, he goes to mass, and often, on Sunday, but it doesn’t mean anything. Alas, no, it doesn’t mean anything really; it can’t mean anything anymore to anyone. There is no diction anymore for these things, no tone, no tonality, no regime of speech or utterance. It’s a twisted situation: he is ashamed of what he hears on Sunday from the pulpit when he goes to mass; but ashamed, too, of the incredulous hatred or amused indifference of those who laugh at people who go to church. Ashamed that he goes, ashamed of not daring to say he goes. He grinds his teeth when he hears the things said inside the church; but he boils with rage when he hears the things said outside the church. All that’s left for him to do is hang his head, weary, sheepish, before the horrors and misconceptions on the inside as well as before the horrors and misconceptions on the outside; it’s a double cowardice, double shame, and he has no words to express this, as though he were caught between two opposing currents, with the resultant clash leaving him whirling on the spot.”

If you are one of the few people who hasn’t encountered his work, you can find out more through his outstanding website, especially the collection of articles it features.