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
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
Don Quixote (1955) by Pablo Picasso In the ancient quarrel between poetry and philosophy, the poets claim to be the true educators of virtue. Their claim is of the superior power of poetry to impel people to do great things, and who can disagree? Where would the Venus de Milo or the Sistine Chapel be … Continue reading When Poetry Conquers Philosophy: Reflections on Don Quixote
The book of Habakkuk is told in three short chapters. Habbakuk's vision is described as a "burden" (per the King James translation) as Habakkuk is a troubled prophet of Israel. All around him he sees destruction and decay. His name likely comes from an early Hebrew word meaning "embrace." Unlike other prophets, Habakkuk has the gaul … Continue reading The Just Shall Live By His Faith: Habakkuk Considered
Nahum is an elusive figure. Some suggest he lived during the fall of Nineveh to the Babylonians or the Persians, or perhaps just prior to the downfall of Assyria. The intent of the text is to show the "vision" of Nahum, as identified at the outset. Ironically, Nahum means something like "comforter" in Hebrew, though … Continue reading Notes on Nahum
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!
The name Joel can be loosely translated to mean "YHWH is God". The Book of Joel is one of the shorter books of the "minor prophets" (named for their length, not their significance). In it, Joel preaches the "word of the Lord" to the "old men" and "inhabitants of the land" -it is an account that is … Continue reading Plague and Drought in Joel
Hosea is the first book of the twelve minor prophets in the Hebrew Bible. It is one of the shorter books of the Bible. The text suggests that Hosea was an active prophet during the reign of Jeroboim II, during the fall of the Northern Kingdom of Israel ("Samaria"), which happened around 721 BC. The Talmud praises Hosea … Continue reading Infidelity in Hosea