Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Melissa Maricich with a Marian hymn

Worth re-posting today (The holy name referenced in the hymn title is the name of God, but the hymn by John Michael Talbot is a paraphrase of Mary's "Magnificat" as recorded in Luke 1:46-56). This was beautifully recorded a few years ago:

Saturday, December 5, 2020

An Advent read

Mystery of the Magi: The Quest to Identify the Three Wise MenMystery of the Magi: The Quest to Identify the Three Wise Men by Dwight Longenecker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This myth-busting book makes a wonderful Advent read, and Fr. Dwight Longenecker's enthusiasm for his own archeological and scriptural detective work is contagious. I came away from the book convinced that its thesis about the Magi being envoys from the Nabatian kingdom of King Aretas IV has considerable merit.

Longenecker's insights about the politics and economics of the ancient Middle East are fascinating. A chapter on the Star of Bethlehem starts muddled by dint of having to sift through half a dozen theories in as many pages, but eventually makes the case for the star (or planet or comet) being one of several significant astronomical events that the wise men viewed through a well-developed astrological and cultural lens.

Fortunately for all concerned, Longecker understands myth-busting as a handmaid of Truth rather than as a label that iconoclasts give their temper tantrums. The infancy narrative in the Gospel according to Saint Matthew is ultimately strengthened and deepened by this informative work.

The only missed opportunity here (it seems to me) is that although he's writing for non-specialists, Longenecker never explains the wiggle room in what became the divide between BC and AD notation. It's all well and good to point out that Jesus was born during the reign of Herod the Great, but lay readers may do double-takes if they know Latin abbreviations well enough to wonder why "Anno Domini" usage apparently suffers from a five- or six-year rounding error.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Poetry (and fur) in motion

"Pink" the Border Collie defended her title in the Agility championships (16" class) at the Westminster Dog Show held less than a week ago. Big kudos also to her dedicated "mom" and handler, Jennifer Crank. Both the canine and the human make Ohio proud. Their example of elite competition-level zoomies is beautiful in every sense of the word: