Historians of Russia: John Lawrence

There weren’t all that many books I bought when a student, but one that made of great impression on me was John Lawrence’s A History of Russia, the first edition of which appreared in 1957; I must have read one of the revised versions, which continued to appear until 1993. Lawrence, an old Etonian and an Oxford graduate whose second […]

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In Praise of John Dowland

Hearing, years ago, a version of ‘Come again sweet love doth now invite’ turned me into a fan of the Elizabethan composer John Dowland, and a double CD of instrumental music and airs which are sung by the great counter tenor Alfred Deller, shown on the cover looking suitably sad, is a real delight. Dowland specialised in short pieces, some of them songs for an […]

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Vladimir Lossky on the Church

In his Mystical Theology of the Church (Eng transl 1957), Vladimir Lossky writes: ‘The Church is the centre of the universe, the sphere in which its destinies are determined. All are called to enter the Church, for if man is a microcosm, the Church is a macro-anthropos, as St Maximus says. It increases and is compounded in history, bringing the elect […]

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Why the Septuagint?

The series of postings about Genesis on this site has led some people to ask why it refers so much to the Septuagint, the translation of the Old Testament into Greek made in the Hellenistic period, rather than the original text. After all, the original text was written in Hebrew, except for small portions in Aramaic, the Septuagint being translated from […]

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Notes on Genesis (xxxv) Hagar and her Seed

‘Now the angel of the Lord found her’ (Gen 16:7). Encountering jealousy from her mistress Sarah after becoming pregnant by her master Abraham, Hagar flees into the wilderness, where she is found by ‘the angel of the Lord’. This is the first occurrence in the Septuagint version of Genesis of the word ‘angelos’, which could also be translated ‘messenger’. This being goes […]

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Bob Katter’s ‘An Incredible Race of People A Passionate History of Australia’ (2012)

What better souvenir of a trip to northern Australia could there be than this book, a present from a kind friend? Bob Katter is the MP for a remote electorate in the outback where people look at things in a different way from city folk and preserve values that were once more widespread in Australian society than they are now. It needs […]

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Pussy Riot in Trouble

Early in the year the members of a feminist punk group, Pussy Riot, entered the sanctuary of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow where they ‘prayed’ to the Virgin for the end of the government of Vladimir Putin and uttered a number of profanities.  They have been detained in harsh conditions and charged with hooliganism. Their behaviour was […]

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