Developments in the library

A procedure I ‘ve just encountered at the library I most frequently use marks what is surely the last stage in a process that began some time ago. When I began to use the library you filled in an orange card for every book you borrowed, then stood in a queue to have a staff member process the loan. As […]

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Why do terrible things happen?

The recent disasters in Japan raise again the old issue of theodicy: how could a God who is good and almighty allow such things as earthquakes, tsunamis, and leaks of radioactive material to happen? The notion that those who suffer are being punished for sin is sub-Christian: ‘Do you suppose that these Gallileans were worse sinners…?I tell you no…Or those eighteen […]

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Notes on Genesis (ii)

‘…from the tree of knowledge of good and evil you may not eat; for in whatever day you eat from it, you shall die by death.’ (Gen 2:17) These are hard words, and emphatic; apparently an intensifying Hebrew expression lies behind the inelegant expression ‘die by death’ , which translators have struggled with; cf  ‘thou shalt surely die’ (Authorized Version), ‘you […]

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In praise of Handel

I’d been looking forward to listening to a broadcast of a performance of Handel’s Messiah, but the program was pulled, and instead something I didn’t know existed, a reorchestration of the oratorio produced by Johan Hiller in 1786, was played. It was no more successful than reworkings of earlier music usually are, turning it into something softer and more lush…of course such […]

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Notes on Genesis (i)

‘Then God said, “Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness”…So God made man; in the image of God he made him; male and female he made them.’ (Gen 1:26f) This is a very dense passage. Among other things that could be said, I’d like to note three matters. The narrative in Genesis places the creation of […]

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