Monday, January 17, 2022

"a man has not begun to live until he can rise above the narrow confines of his own individual concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity."

     Martin Luther King, Jr., "The three dimensions of a complete life," New Covenant Baptist Church, Chicago, Illinois, 9 April 1967, often bowdlerized as (for example) "An individual has not started living until they can rise above the narrow confines of their individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity."
     Apparently, though, King preached this sermon more than once, as (for example) already here at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church of Montgomery, Alabama on 24 January 1954 (?):  "No man has lerned to live until he can rise out of his mere concern for self to the broader concern for others."

Saturday, January 15, 2022

This discipline is not my home

     "At first sight, this complex balancing of habits of attention might not seem to be Balthasar’s fabled 'theology on its knees'. . . .  And yet, while not all theological writers will be quite so directly concerned with the negotiation of scholarly literature, for those who work in or are trained within modern university cultures I suggest that what I sketch here is an essential part of how one should perform that toward which Balthasar is pointing.  The Christian philologist or scholar is inevitably linked to the academy, but it should not be her home, it should not be that in which she can rest and from which she draws all sense of worth and purpose as a theologian (let alone as a person!).  Just as early Christian scholars viewed some ancient philosophical traditions as traditions of great worth, and yet also as traditions calling for great watchfulness and, at times, correction and denunciation, so too must we regard the academy.  Theologians can certainly be thankful for the hospitality often shown to us by the university, and theologians have much to contribute to the life of the university and the flourishing of the humanities (especially in an era where even scholars in the humanities can seem so unable to defend their own purpose); but we make that contribution best when we understand why the university is not our home.  The home of the theologian is the city of God. . . ."

     Lewis Ayres, "Seven theses on dogmatics and patristics in Catholic theology," Modern theology 38, no. 1 (January 2022):  55-56 (36-62).

"those texts which must be heard"

"There is always too much to read, and there are always too many avenues of fascinating thought to travel down; theology needs to make certain that it has created a space, a conversation in which those texts which must be heard are actually heard.  From this style of attention theologians will then be better able to speak to and in new contexts, and answer the particular questions and concerns of each generation."

     Lewis Ayres, "Seven theses on dogmatics and patristics in Catholic theology," Modern theology 38, no. 1 (January 2022):  59 (36-62).  From p. 42:

     These problems [with the term 'systematic' theology] become worse when . . . those identifying as systematicians have expertise mostly in—using again Cyril O’Regan’s language—those who have remembered the tradition badly.  In such cases simulacra of Christian doctrines may be argued over with great intelligence and sophistication, but that which should be remembered is still constantly missed. . . .  [Given] the linking of systematic and modern theology, it becomes [all too easy] for the trainee systematician to set sail on a sea of opinions without useful knowledge of where the tradition has been badly remembered, and without sufficient attention to where many things floating on that sea comprehend the nature of theological thinking in ways inimical to Catholic principles.

"it is always more comfortable to make less of a great thing than to make less of yourself"

"scholars are not to be trusted when they trim, flatten, or brush aside, for it is always more comfortable to make less of a great thing than to make less of yourself.  Be suspicious whenever a scholar appears to set himself and his learning higher than the thing he is teaching about."

     Anthony Esolen, In the beginning was the Word:  an annotated reading of the Prologue of John (Brooklyn, NY:  Angelico Press, 2021), 38.

Friday, January 14, 2022

"Never look encouragingly at the brass"

Victoria & Albert Museum
for the album of a young conductor

  1. Remember that you are making music not to amuse yourself, but to delight your audience.
  2. You should not perspire when conducting: only the audience should get warm.
  3. Conduct 'Salome', and 'Elektra' as if they were Mendelssohn: Fairy Music.
  4. Never look encouragingly at the brass, except with a brief glance to give an important cue.
  5. But never let the horns and woodwind[s] out of your sight: if you can hear them at all they are still too strong.
  6. If you think that the brass is not blowing hard enough, tone it down another shade or two.
  7. It is not enough that you yourself should hear every word the soloist sings—you know it off by heart anyway: the audience must be able to follow without effort. If they do not understand the words they will go to sleep.
  8. Always accompany a singer in such a way that he can sing without effort.
  9. When you think you have reached the limits of prestissimo, double the pace.*
  10. If you follow these rules carefully you will, with your fine gifts and your great accomplishments, always be the darling of your listeners.

    *Today (1948) I should like to amend this as follows: Go twice as slowly (addressed to the conductors of Mozart!)

     Richard Strauss, "Ten golden rules for the album of a young conductor" (c. 1922; Table of contents:  1925), Recollections and reflections, ed. Willi Schuh, trans. L. J. Lawrence (London:  Bossey & Hawkes, Ltd., 1953), 38.  The German (as yet unverified):

Zehn goldene Regeln. Einem jungen Kapellmeister ins Stammbuch geschrieben

  1. Bedenke, daß du nicht zu deinem Vergnügen musizierst, sondern zur Freude deiner Zuhörer.
  2. Du sollst beim Dirigieren nicht schwitzen, nur das Publikum soll warm werden.
  3. Dirigiere "Salome" und "Elektra" als seien sie von Mendelssohn: Elfenmusik.
  4. Schau niemals aufmunternd das Blech an, außer mit einem kurzen Blick, um einen wichtigen Einsatz zu geben.
  5. Dagegen lasse niemals Hörner und Holzbläser aus dem Auge: wenn du sie überhaupt hörst, sind sie schon zu stark.
  6. Wenn Du glaubst, das Blech blase nicht stark genug, so dämpfe es nochmals um zwei Grade ab.
  7. Es genügt nicht, daß du jedes Wort des Sängers, das du auswendig weißt, selber hörest, das Publikum muß mühelos folgen können. Versteht es keinen Text, so schläft es.
  8. Begleite den Sänger stets so, daß er ohne Anstrengung singen kann.
  9. Wenn du glaubst, das äußerste Prestissimo erreicht zu haben, so nimm das Tempo noch einmal so schnell.*
  10. Wenn Du dies alles freundlich bedenkst, wirst du bei deiner schönen Begabung und deinem großen Können stets das ungetrübte Entzücken deiner Hörer sein.

    *Möchte ich heute (1948) dahin abändern: so nimm das Tempo halb so schnell (An die Mozart-Dirigenten!)

     Richard Strauss, "Zehn goldene Regeln. Einem jungen Kapellmeister ins Stammbuch geschrieben" (Table of contents:  1925), Betrachtungen und Erinnerungen, ed. Willi Schuh, [2., erw. Ausg.] (Zürich:  Atlantis Verlag, 1957 [1949]), .  =Dresdner Anzeiger (April 29, 1934).

Tuesday, January 11, 2022


"There is no reason to think that the sounds represented by [ε and ο] were ever other than short mid vowels, front* and back* respectively, i.e. rather like the vowels of English pet and German Gott.[1]  The view that they were of a specially close mid quality, i.e. [ẹ], [ọ], as in French gai, beau, is probably mistaken."

[1] The vowel of English pot is decidedly less accurate, being fully open rather than mid.

     W. Sidney Allen, Vox Graeca:  a guide to the pronunciation of classical Greek, 3rd ed. (New York:  Cambridge University Press, 1987), 63, underscoring original.

Sunday, January 9, 2022

"'Blessed would be the sins that left any shame in you.'"

     "'You reason like all the working classes.  Every family has its secrets.  What good would it do us to wash our dirty linen in public?  I might have been unfaithful to my husband considering the way he behaved.  But there's nothing in my past to be ashamed of.'

     'Blessed would be the sins that left any shame in you.  God grant that you may despise yourself
[(Bénies soient les fautes qui laissent en nous de la honte !  Plût à Dieu que vous vous méprisiez vous-même !)].'"

     Mme la Comtesse and the country priest, in Georges Bernanos, The diary of a country priest 5, trans. Pamela Morris (New York:  Macmillan, 1937), 159.  French from p. 196 of the 1936 original.  "'Blessed would be the faults that left any shame in us!"