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The Book Of Books: What Literature Owes The Bible (by Marilynne Robinson)

Marilynne Robinson, author of Gilead writes about the influence that the Bible has had on Western literature.
The Bible asks questions, raises issues, and proposes truths about ultimate destinies that culture has engaged with in various ways. To be unaware of that link is to only hear half a conversation.

“The Bible is the model for and subject of more art and thought than those of us who live within its influence, consciously or unconsciously, will ever know”.

Read her article at Comment.

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Abridged Classics (via Wrong Hands)

There’s a skill in summarising a book’s central theme.
From here.
Here’s a second dose.

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When Good Friday Is The Same Date As The Annunciation

March 25 is observed by some Christians as the date on which the annunciation by the angel of Mary’s pregnancy with Jesus took place.
It is very unusual for the day to be shared by Good Friday.
Read more about that here.
From Mockingbird, a poem by John Donne, “Upon the Annunciation and Passion Falling upon One Day.”

Tamely, frail body, abstain today; today
My soul eats twice, Christ hither and away.
She sees Him man, so like God made in this,
That of them both a circle emblem is,
Whose first and last concur; this doubtful day
Of feast or fast, Christ came and went away;
She sees Him nothing twice at once, who’s all;
She sees a Cedar plant itself and fall,
Her Maker put to making, and the head
Of life at once not yet alive yet dead;
She sees at once the virgin mother stay
Reclused at home, public at Golgotha;
Sad and rejoiced she’s seen at once, and seen
At almost fifty and at scarce fifteen;
At once a Son is promised her, and gone;
Gabriel gives Christ to her, He her to John;
Not fully a mother, she’s in orbity,
At once receiver and the legacy;
All this, and all between, this day hath shown,
The abridgement of Christ’s story, which makes one
(As in plain maps, the furthest west is east)
Of the Angels’ Ave and Consummatum est.
How well the Church, God’s court of faculties,
Deals in some times and seldom joining these!
As by the self-fixed Pole we never do
Direct our course, but the next star thereto,
Which shows where the other is and which we say
(Because it strays not far) doth never stray,
So God by His Church, nearest to Him, we know
And stand firm, if we by her motion go;
His Spirit, as His fiery pillar doth
Lead, and His Church, as cloud, to one end both.
This Church, by letting these days join, hath shown
Death and conception in mankind is one:
Or ‘twas in Him the same humility
That He would be a man and leave to be:
Or as creation He had made, as God,
With the last judgment but one period,
His imitating Spouse would join in one
Manhood’s extremes: He shall come, He is gone:
Or as though the least of His pains, deeds, or words,
Would busy a life, she all this day affords;
This treasure then, in gross, my soul uplay,
And in my life retail it every day.

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Alan Rickman Reads Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130

Here is the late Alan Rickman reading Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130.
A tremendous performer.

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The Manner Of Men by Rudyard Kipling

Mockingbird features a short story by Rudyard Kipling based on the account of Paul’s shipwreck experience recounted in Acts chapters 27-28 and prefaced with 1 Corinthians 15:32 ‘If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts.’
The post at Mockingbird also features a link to a brief background article to the story posted by the Kipling Society.
This is a short story, so it takes a while to read, so settle down.

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Christopher Lee’s Reading Of Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The Raven’

For all of you missing Christopher Lee, here’s a bed time story. (for grown up children)

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Why You Should Read Marilynne Robinson (via Peter Adam at Gospel Coalition Australia)

Insightful introduction to the writing of Marilynne Robinson by Peter Adam at the Gospel Coalition Australia.
I’ve read Gilead and am currently winding my way through Home.

This observation of Adam’s stood out:

Because of the place and time in which they live, their lives could be described as quiet, but the narratives are sustained by intensity of observation and reflection. Simone Weil commented that in fiction evil people are interesting, and good people are boring, whereas in real life, good people are interesting and evil people are boring. Marilynne Robinson has the extraordinary gift of evoking good people as interesting in her fiction.

Read the rest of the article here.