Saturday, September 17, 2016

Blessed are the cheesemakers

     "The raising and habitual using of Tobacco is contrary to the spirit of the Gospel.  The weed is a narcotic poison; so virulent that a drop of its oil is a fatal dose.  A wilted leaf placed on the breast of a child will soon be followed by death.  Its use is an exceedingly filthy and loathsome practice in all its parts and phases.  Its nauseous and unsightly pools of disgusting slime are almost unendurable; defiling every thing with which they come in contact.  It unnerves the system, injures the health, produces irritability of temper, and creates an appetite for strong drink.  The raising and using of it involve an inexcusable waste of time, a perversion of valuable lands, and a misapplication of millions of money.
     "The raising of the wine-plant and hops for the market we regard as little better than the rum traffic generally.
     "We place the making of cheese, and the selling or delivery of milk to the factory on the Sabbath, in the category with Sabbath-breaking generally.
     "Adopted by the Conference."

     Committee on Raising and Using Tobacco, Raising Hops, Raising the Wine Plant, and Making Cheese on the Sabbath, Minutes of the [Fifth] Genesee Annual Conference [of the Free Methodist Church], Akron, New York, Sept[ember] 29, 1864.
     This seems to have been an ad hoc committee, as it does not appear either before or after this point in the Minutes of the Genesee Annual Conference.
     Are all of the claims about tobacco accurate?  The statement on the making of cheese makes, of course, perfect sense, especially if meant to be closely associated with (as seems undeniable) the phrase "on the Sabbath".  And, of course, Genesee County, New York, would have been a dairy region.  Still, it strikes the funny bone for some reason today.
     At the Third Genesee Annual Conference of 1862, by contrast, a powerful resolution on slavery had been adopted.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

give simplicity "side of" complexity

I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity.

And variants (care not a bit; nickel | right arm, anything I have, everything I have | far side; etc., etc.).

     Oliver Wendell Holmes (Jr.)?  I have my doubts.  I wasn't able to turn up so much as a promising initial clue via a Google Books search stripped down to the following:  give simplicity "side of" complexity.  Indeed, it raised suspicions the moment I first encountered it.  Published attributions I've seen alternative to Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. and Jr. (cumulative):  Albert Einstein and George Bernard Shaw.

     Update, 20 May 2020:  the only hit on the phrase "other side of complexity" in the Hathi Trust Digital Library prior to and including 1935 (the year Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. died) is this one, on Benjamin Jowett, in the words of C. G. Montefiore.  And in the earliest viewable Hathi Trust hit on that same phrase after 1935, dated 1976, it (or something very like it) is attributed to George Bernard Shaw.  Nor did I have any luck before 1935 with just "side of complexity", though I checked, of the 90 or so hits on that, only those that actually looked promising.  I'm starting a timeline that could be supplemented with a search of, say, 19th-century full-text:

  • 1900:  "it was a simple Theism.  But it was simplicity with a difference.  It was the simplicity which, so to speak, lies on the other side of complexity" (C. G. Montefiore on Benjamin Jowett, Jewish quarterly review 12 (1900):  301).
  • 1968 March & November:  "Again we borrow, this time more directly, from [Stanford religious (i.e Hebrew) studies] Professor [Edwin] Good['s Founder’s Day Address of March of 1968]:  'I have not been able to ascertain the source of a remark that I believe is a profound one:  "I do not care a fig for the simplicity that lies on this side of complexity; but I would put my life at the service of the simplicity that lies on the other side of complexity."  That, I suggest, is the long-range goal of the enterprise in which we are all engaged.'  We agree" (The study and its purposes, The Study of Education at Stanford.  Report to the University, November 1968, p. 11).  This was the earliest version of the full quote (with that "do not care a fig for"-"would put my life at the service of" element) that I was seeing via Google Books Advanced Search on 20 May 2020.
  • 1976, at the link above.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

An informed and operative "faith before feeling"

Look upon us, O God, creator and ruler of all things,
and, that we may feel the working of your mercy,
grant that we may serve you with all our heart.
Through. . . .

Respice nos, rerum omnium deus creator et rector,
et, ut tuae propitiationis sentiamus effectum,
toto nos tribue tibi corde servire.
Per. . . .

Sacramentarium Veronense, fol. 132r
(ed. Mohlberg, pp. 161-162).
Bibliotheca Capitularis Veronensis
     Collect for the Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Roman missal.
     This is "Leonine" i.e. Veronese sacramentary no. 1045, and, according to Corpus orationum (no. 5110), at least, hadn't appeared in any others since, until re-enlisted for the Missal of 1970.  This means that it was abandoned after the early 7th, 6th, or even 5th century, depending upon when it was actually composed.  In the edition of the "Leonine" ed. Mohlberg, "et" follows rather than precedes "ut":  "Respice nos, rerum omnium deus creator et rector; ut et tuae propitiationis sentiamus effectum, toto nos tribue tibi corde servire:  per" (p. 132, i.e. fol. 107r).
     What's striking to me about this prayer is that it assumes that the Lord must make it possible for us to serve him wholeheartedly if we are going to "feel the operation of [his] propitiation".