Notes on Genesis (xv)

‘But when the Lord saw Leah was hated, He opened her womb; but Rachel was barren.’ (Gen 29:31) Having travelled to the east in search of a wife, Jacob ended up with two, the daughters of Laban, Leah, who seems to have been noteworthy only for her eyes (mentioned at 20:17; whether they were an asset or a liability is not clear), […]

Read more

Lady Gaga

Like Michael Jackson’s Moonwalk, Lady Gaga’s hit I Was Born This Way is something we seem to know about simply by virtue of living on this planet. It’s a bright, edgy song, its message one of accepting who you are (I’m on the right track baby, I was born this way), which Lady Gaga’s fans, in the main adolescent females, […]

Read more

Notes on Genesis (xiv)

‘Then he dreamed, and behold a latter was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending upon it.’ (Gen 28:12) Just as Isaac married Rebekah, a woman from Mesopotamia, so now Jacob is sent by his father to find a wife among his mother’s family; unions with local women […]

Read more

The Pleasures of winter

Even those of us who live in a part of the world where the native trees keep their leaves across the winter sometimes need cheering up on cold days, and to this end it’s a good idea to keep some stock. This can be made from the water in which vegetables, such as greens or brocolli, have been steamed, or that in […]

Read more

Notes on Genesis (xiii)

‘Now Esau was a skilful hunter, a man of the field; but Jacob was a simple man, dwelling in tents.’ (Gen 25:27) These two brothers join the list of pairs of people in Genesis who are distinguished in fundamental ways: Abel is a shepherd and Cain a tiller (Gen 4:2ff; Oscar Hammerstein’s wish that the farmer and the cowman should be […]

Read more

Guy Deutscher’s The Unfolding of Language

Have you ever wondered how the majestic case structure of Latin nouns came about? Every one of them has a number of suffixes that identify it as being in a particular grammatical case (nominative, accusative, genitive, dative or ablative; some nouns have specific vocative or locative forms as well), usually in both singular and plural forms. Latin is awash with […]

Read more

Notes on Genesis (xii)

‘One shall be stronger than the other, and the older shall serve the younger.’ (Gen 25:23) Even before they were born the twins carried by Rebekah struggled within her womb, and in what cannot be seen as good parenting, we are told that their father loved Esau, the elder, and their mother Jacob. Ambrose observes that no parent should ‘love the one and esteem the other […]

Read more