A novel is just a glimpse, a framed and sometimes fragmented exploration into the depths of memory, psychology, time and place. Willa Cather's My Ántonia (pronounced "an-ton-ee-yuh") is one of the seminal works of the great American pastoral tradition, similar in style to O Pioneers! It is told as a reflection by Cather's friend from their … Continue reading Modernism in My Ántonia
The Story of Susanna is a beautiful but brief tale of a virtuous woman, Susanna, who is wrongly accused of infidelity by two lustful men. She has been raised in a family that follows the laws of Moses. She is reportedly very beautiful, which is why two old men spy on her each day. One day, … Continue reading Susanna: An Apocryphal Fable
The Books of First and Second Esdras (or "Ezra" meaning something like "help" in Hebrew) are apocryphal and somewhat apocalyptic texts in the Hebrew biblical tradition, particularly the second book of Esdras. They are non canonical Biblical books, however they do appear in certain Greek Orthodox, Episcopal, and Lutheran Bibles. At the Council of Trent in 1540s-1560s, the … Continue reading Notes on 1 and 2 Esdras
Aristophanes's Knights is his fourth play, and his second surviving play in the modern era. It won first prize at the Lenaia in 424 BC. Earlier in his career, Aristophanes is rumored to have been brought to trial by Cleon for his brutal satire in the Babylonians. After the charges were laughed out of court, … Continue reading Cleon Ridiculed in the Knights
Aristophanes's Archanians is his third comedy, and his earliest surviving play that has come down to us from antiquity. It won first prize at the Lenaia in 425BC, under the production of Callistratus, as Aristophanes was a young dramatist at the time. Like The Clouds, The Acharnians begins with a lone soliloquy. A rustic arrives very early … Continue reading Treason in the Acharnians
The origin of the term "Hebrew" remains mysterious; the Biblical term Ivri, meaning "to traverse" or "to pass over", is usually rendered as "Hebrew" in English, and it comes down to us from the ancient Greek Ἑβραῖος and the Latin "Hebraeus". The Biblical word Ivri has the plural form Ivrim, or Ibrim. In addition, the word … Continue reading Where Did The Hebrew Bible Come From?
Zechariah prophesies during the reign of Darius, emperor of Persia (after the Babylon was conquered by Persia). God's word comes unto Zechariah, and God blames the people of Israel's fathers for moral transgressions, and He commands the people of Israel to turn back to Him. Zechariah experiences a series of apocalyptic visions from God, with … Continue reading Eight Visions in Zechariah
There are four prophecies contained within the two chapters of the book of Haggai (whose named means something akin to "my holiday" though the root word in Hebrew means something like "to make a pilgrimage"). The text is believed to have been written after the Babylonian exile, during the reign of Darius, the Persian emperor, as … Continue reading Haggai: A Plea To Rebuild the Temple
The Book of Zephaniah clearly states its context: during the reign of Josiah, the son of Amon, King of Judah. It is a short book, containing three chapters, and it expounds upon the "word of the Lord" which comes to Zephaniah (his name means something like "YHWH is hidden"). As with other minor prophets, our knowledge … Continue reading “The Day of the Lord” in Zephaniah
I recently detoured from reading the Pulitzer Prize winning novels to venture into the harsh but pleasantly forgiving fields of Willa Cather's pioneers on the prairie. When Willa Cather was thirty-nine years old she wrote her first novel, Alexander's Bridge, which was published as a serial in McClure's Magazine in 1912. It was a tragic story … Continue reading The Harsh But Forgiving Prairie in O Pioneers!