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The Surprising Imagination of C.S. Lewis

Posted by Remy on September 13, 2015

The Surprising Imagination of C.S. Lewis by Jerry Root and Mark Neal

C.S. Lewis is one of the great thinkers and modern maestros of imagination. In this book Root and Neal comb through his novels and other works demonstrating Lewis’ views on imagination as well as his thoughts toward developing it in others. Thoroughly researched and well (imaginatively) framed so that it isn’t a dreary slog chronologically with summaries padding out the pages. They assume a familiarity with the book under discussion with quotes and recaps as refreshers.

Of course, the primary flaw in books such as these is that they are no substitute for reading the author himself, but Root and Neal harness a wide variety of other thinkers to further enlighten our understanding. For those who have read Lewis, reread him. For those who have reread his stories and reflected on his essays in depth, this book will inflame your passion again, spark new thoughts and cause you to return to the books you treasure the most.

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The Bible and π

Posted by Remy on January 28, 2013

In describing a large water basin, 2 Chronicles 4:2 reads, “Also he made a molten sea of ten cubits from brim to brim, round in compass, and five cubits the height thereof; and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about.” A similar verse appears at 1 Kings 7:23.

Critics point out that this implies that π is 3, and in 1983 about 100 professors and students at Emporia State University in Kansas founded an Institute of Pi Research to lobby (wryly) for adopting this new value in place of the awkward 3.14159 …

“To think that God in his infinite wisdom would create something as messy as this is a monstrous thought,” medieval historian Samuel Dicks told the Kansas City Times. “I think we deserve to be taken as seriously as the creationists.”

“If the Bible is right in biology, it’s right in math,” added economic historian Loren Pennington.

But writing in the Mathematical Gazette in 1985, M.D. Stern of Manchester Polytechnic noted (also wryly) that the word translated as line above is transliterated qwh but read qw. Further, the ancient Greeks and Jews used letters to denote numbers, with the letters q, w, and h taking the numerical values 100, 6, and 5.

“Thus the word translated line in its written form has numerical value 111 whereas as read the value is 106. If we take the ratio of these numbers as a correcting factor for the apparent value of π as 3 and calculate 3 × (111/106), we obtain 3.141509 to 7 significant figures. This differs from the true value of π by less than 10-4 which is remarkable. In view of this, it might be suggested that this peculiar spelling is of more significance than a cursory reading might have suggested.”

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One of my All-Time Favorite Quotes

Posted by Remy on May 30, 2009

“It is generally wise to seek to be separate, to be in the world but not of it, to be no more engaged with modernity than were the ancient Christians with the culture of pagan antiquity; and wise also to cultivate in our hearts a generous hatred toward the secular order, and a charitable contempt. Probably the most subversive and effective strategy we might undertake would be one of militant fecundity: abundant, relentless, exuberant, and defiant childbearing. Given the reluctance of modern men and women to be fruitful and multiply, it would not be difficult, surely, for the devout to accomplish—in no more than a generation or two—a demographic revolution. Such a course is quite radical, admittedly, and contrary to the spirit of the age, but that is rather the point, after all. It would mean often forgoing certain material advantages, and forfeiting a great deal of our leisure; it would often prove difficult to sustain a two-career family or to be certain of a lavish retirement. But if it is a war we want, we should not recoil from sacrifice.”

-David Bentley Hart.

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You Must Read Poetry

Posted by Remy on May 21, 2009

“Grampa”

 
Look him.  As quiet as a July river-
bed, asleep, an trim’ down like a tree.
Jesus! I never know the Lord could
squeeze so dry.  When I was four
foot small I used to say
Grampa, how come you t’in so?
an him tell me, is so I stay
me chile, is so I stay
laughing, an fine
emptying on me —
 
laughing?  It running from him
like a flood, that old molasses
man.  Lord, how I never see?
I never know a man could sweet so, cool
as rain; same way him laugh,
 
I cry now.  Wash him.  Lay him out.

I know the earth going burn
all him limb dem
as smooth as bone,
clean as a tree under the river
skin, an gather us
beside that distant Shore
bright as a river stone.
 
— Dennis Scott

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