A Lesson on Malthusianism from Saxo Grammaticus

Today, I want to share a passage that piqued my attention when I read it last year. It comes from book 8 of Gesta Danorum, a history of the Danish nation written by Saxo Grammaticus (1160-1220). After introducing Snio, King of the Danes, Saxo Grammaticus gives us a passage about a difficult period for the Danish people. I think this story displays well the deeds of a valorous woman, Gambaruk (see bolded section). It also gives an example of what happens when a country buys into Malthusian economics. Malthusianism holds that, because human populations reproduce at an exponential rate, eventually … Continue reading “A Lesson on Malthusianism from Saxo Grammaticus”

Christianity of the Third Millennium: A Response

I very much enjoyed reading Benjamin Bjorkman’s “Christianity of the Third Millennium.” Based on the PC games Ben and I enjoy, one can surmise that we both find it fun to look into the future with an eye toward strategy. At the same time, I do wish to voice a few criticisms of his article, and add a suggestion. Firstly, the article focuses on Christianity within developed countries. In and of itself, there is nothing wrong with this; however, one cannot read it as a comprehensive view of Christianity in the Third Millennium. As a matter of fact, huge populations … Continue reading “Christianity of the Third Millennium: A Response”

Nazi Death Camps: Blurring the Lines Between Life and Death

We are publishing this article for Holocaust Remembrance Day. May their memories be for a blessing. Death camps represent, perhaps, the most important evidence for the planned extermination of the Jewish people. The death camp manufactured a single product: the speedy and efficient murder of world Jewry. Because of this, the Nazis blurred the lines between life and death. “Life” became an optimistic way to describe an animated dying process, while “death” was normalized into everyday expectation. Nazis sought to turn humans into animals, taking away all semblance of the dignity of human life. Meanwhile, the actual act of murder … Continue reading “Nazi Death Camps: Blurring the Lines Between Life and Death”

Divine Revelation in the Epistemology of Maimonides

In a previous article, I wrote about the centrality of the divine to Socrates’ epistemology. Here, I will discuss the source of prophecy in Maimonides’ epistemology. Over a millennium after Socrates, Maimonides echoes similar sentiments in his discourse on prophets in Book Two of The Guide for the Perplexed. He writes with the Aristotelian methodology prevalent in Egypt at his time to conclude that a man can be perfectly well-read and even have great character yet still not attain the status of prophet. Maimonides points out that knowledge and other forms of human wisdom, while necessary, are not sufficient to … Continue reading “Divine Revelation in the Epistemology of Maimonides”

Divine Revelation in the Epistemology of Socrates

Socrates is the beloved father of western philosophy, but I have found that many people discuss only part of his philosophy—that true wisdom is awareness of one’s own ignorance. Many stop at Socratic irony, glossing over another central theme of Socrates’ dialogues: the role of the gods in the guidance of ignorant human beings. Indeed, this theme is a necessary part of Socrates’ formula in his understanding of the world, for Socrates does think that men have a shot at attaining truth, despite their pathetic state of ignorance. Socrates’ own interpretations of his personal experiences of divine revelation give us … Continue reading “Divine Revelation in the Epistemology of Socrates”

“Of the People…” Not Found in the General Prologue to the Wycliffite Bible

This is a short one, but I thought I’d chime in on something. While browsing around for some information about the General Prologue to the Wycliffite Bible, I stumbled upon this blog post from the Volokh Conspiracy. Basically, there’s a myth going around that the General Prologue to the Wycliffite Bible contains the sentence, “The Bible is for the Government of the People, by the People, and for the People.” Eugene Volokh, the author of the blog post, noted that this “smacked of myth,” and I am writing to confirm his suggestion. About a year and a half ago, the … Continue reading ““Of the People…” Not Found in the General Prologue to the Wycliffite Bible”

Book Review: The Old Testament is Dying by Brent Strawn

“The world only exists out of the merit of the discourse found when small children study.” –Shulhan Arukh, Yoreh De’ah 245:7 “Welcome, OnScript superfans–and now we know that includes Dr. Brent Strawn,” the podcast host began. (OnScript is a podcast on the Bible that invites Biblical scholars to talk about their work.) At the end of the podcast, the host light-heartedly quizzed his guest, asking him to identify where a couple Biblical quotes came from. The guest identified the first correctly: “Then the king told his attendants, ‘tie him, hand and foot, and throw him outside into the darkness, where … Continue reading “Book Review: The Old Testament is Dying by Brent Strawn”

Book Review: The Coming of the French Revolution by Georges Lefebvre

Although I do not by any means hold Marxist convictions (quite the contrary!), I do believe it is important to understand Marxist perspectives, including Marxist perspectives on history. My hope is that this review along with Lefebvre’s book can give us an honest perspective on a 1930s Marxist intellectual’s mind. In 1970, The Coming of the French Revolution by Georges Lefebvre reentered the printing press in France. Originally published in 1939 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the 1789 Revolution in France, the book had for years remained suppressed and almost lost, thanks to the German occupation of France in … Continue reading “Book Review: The Coming of the French Revolution by Georges Lefebvre”

The Romance of the Ontological Argument

Psalm 139 O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away. You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it. Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee … Continue reading “The Romance of the Ontological Argument”