Notes on Genesis (xxvii) Likeness and image, revisited

‘Now Adam…begot a son according to his form and image, and named him Seth.’ (Gen 5:3) Adam ‘s third son, born to him when he was extremely advanced in years, is described in terms that recall the relationship of Adam to God expressed by the phrase ‘image and likeness’ (Gen 1:26f), but the order of the two terms is reversed and in the […]

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Merry Christmas!

A Merry Christmas to all readers of this blog, and to those who will be observing the Nativity, on whatever date, a blessed celebration. ‘What shall we offer thee, O Christ, who for our sakes hast appeared on earth as man? Every creature made by thee offers thee thanks. The angels offer thee a hymn; the heavens, a star; the […]

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In Praise of Handel’s Messiah

Attending one of the performances of this oratorio that proliferate around this time of the year reminded me of just how enjoyable it is. Handel could certainly write a good tune, and there’s something of the Broadway musical about the way in which the numbers keep coming; from ‘Comfort ye’ onwards there is sustained melodic pleasure. And the music is beautifully appropriate to […]

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Paul Crook’s Grafton Elliot Smith, Egyptology and the Diffusion of Culture (2012)

The work of the eminent anthropologist and archeologist Grafton Elliot Smith (1871-1937) was always controversial. He argued that Egypt was the source of many of the aspects of civilization in other parts of the world, and that similarities among cultures in different parts of the world often the product of diffusion rather than independent discoveries. Recent scholars have been dismissive; […]

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Notes on Genesis (xxvi) Cain, his parents and God

In many ways the story of Cain and Abel looks back to the preceding narrative in Genesis. God’s assertion that Abel would have recourse to Cain, who would rule over him (4:7) reproduces his statement that after the fall Eve would have recourse to Adam, who would rule over her (3:16). Similarly, his question to Cain, who had just murdered Abel, ‘Where is Abel […]

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Twentieth Century Countdown

A busy week kept me from listening to as much as I would have liked of a countdown on the radio of the top hundred pieces of twentieth century music, as voted by the listeners of the ABC. But it was wonderful to hear some old favourites, among them Vaughan Williams’ Fantasias on Greensleeves and a Theme from Thomas Tallis, Kats-Chernin’s […]

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