Saturday, September 22, 2012

US Gnoticism?

For an informed discussion of the relation of Romanticism to religion -- a kind of anticipation of the "death of God" proclaimed by Nietzsche -- have a look at this piece by Simon Critchley in the NY Times. Interestingly, citing Harold Bloom, it focuses on Mormonism, but locates that sect, tellingly, within the gnostic tradition:

Why I Love Mormonism

The Joseph Smith sermon alluded to is the King Follett sermon.

Newton on the cusp

Often wrongly portrayed as a cold rationalist, Isaac Newton is one of history’s most compelling figures. It is true that he was capable of the most precise and logical thought it is possible for a human to achieve: his three years of obsessive work that gave birth to the Principia, containing his theory of gravity, stand as the greatest achievement in science. 
Just as certainly, though, he was also consumed with what we would now view as completely unscientific pursuits: alchemy and biblical prophesy.

Was Isaac Newton a Scientist? A Sorcerer? Or Both? 

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

The Bible as philosophy

Yoram Hazony

What precisely is the content of the natural law ethics that emerges from the History of Israel? How is this ethics related to the content of the Mosaic law imbedded in this History? And how does it relate to the instructions God is depicted as giving individuals on particular occasions regarding specific actions they are to undertake? All three of these questions will have to be given satisfactory answers if we are to attain a clear view of the ethics of the History. And such a view will be needed, I suspect, if we wish to gain a full picture of the ethics of the prophetic orations and other biblical works as well.

"The bottom line is that the Bible introduces hope into human political affairs. What it does is it takes the individual, empowers the individual and says, 'Somewhere above you, there is a transcendent God who is not controlled by the king or by the priests or by the military, a power in the world that is able to hear you, and that is going to allow you to develop your understanding of what's right, and of the way the world should develop.' All of human history has proceeded from that first spark of hope that appears in the Hebrew scriptures."