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The most interesting..

Friday, October 18th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron –a quick round ’em up, rawhide of news and views — read the first one, even if you skip the rest — some of which are frankly hilarious, and darkly sad too — and towards the end, there’s one mind-blower with gospel reference! ]
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Millennial mils debate Syria:

This, from WaPo‘s summary of the Democratic debate of 15 October 2019:

There was a point in the middle of the debate when South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii) had an impassioned debate about whether the United States should be in Syria. Gabbard was the most noninterventionist candidate on the stage, while Buttigieg said Syria was perhaps the one place in the Middle East where we continue to need a presence. That disagreement aside, this was two millennial veterans of Middle East wars — the only two combat veterans among the leading candidates — having that debate on a presidential stage. That’s quite the moment.

That’s a debate within the debate, and the criterion for being on that stage is a lot stiffer than for the stage-of-twelve.

BTW, hey matryoshka! —

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Serpents I:

And then this, for a serpent-bites-tail moment, with the middle slytherin’ of the snake passing through time:

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R) offers a lesser time-inflected serpent on Twitter:

Wow. We bombed our own base on purpose, because of the impulsive decision by @realDonaldTrump didn’t leave time to evacuate the right way. Is this the America you grew up believing in?

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Word choices I:

Inside that Giuliani serpent piece, there’s this exquisite word choice by a company pertinent to the investigation:

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Word choices II:

But it gets better, once you look at the Giuliani associate twins, Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas:

Snap!!

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Serpents II:

Here’s a serpent formerly biting its tail attempting to unbite it:

It’s a microcosm of the same Trumpworld shamelessness that has suddenly converted Donald Trump Jr. into an outspoken opponent of nepotism.

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Here’s a report of Bolton‘s grenade attack on Giuliani:

Giuliani’s growing headaches are political as well as legal. Yesterday Trump’s former top adviser on Russia and Europe, Fiona Hill, reportedly told congressional investigators that her boss, former national security adviser John Bolton, labeled Giuliani “a hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up” by meddling in Ukraine…

That’s six, just from my first scan — seven would be enough for me to close this and post!

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Seventh:

Oh well, as you may know, my degree is in Theology from Christ Church, Oxford, and I’ve continued my interest in New Testament scholarship while broadening it to include Gnostic, Buddhist, shamanic and other sources..

Today’s haul [well, a day or two ago, but today at the time of writing!] contains a second matryoshka instance, this one from a piece about “Secret Mark” — the gospel fragment preserved by Clement of Alexandria and disclosed to the world by Morton Smith in 1973:

Since the Swine do not actually appear to have any overlap with the adjacent story of the possessed man, the story of the Swine appears to be another intercalation or at least addition. It seems like “Mark” had a collection of unconnected stories that he pasted together to create a single narrative. His literary techniques with intercalations and framing stories (i.e. putting some of his stores inside other stories instead of pasting them one after another) give us an idea of how freely he worked with his material.

What’s really interesting about the fragment of a letter from Saint Clement containing a previously unknown section of Mark’s gospel is that it suggests that Jesus taught some form of initiation into :

And they came into Bethany, and a certain woman, whose brother had died, was there. And coming, she prostrated herself before Jesus and said to him, ?Son of David, have mercy on me.‘ But the disciples rebuked her. And Jesus, being angered, went off with her into the garden where the tomb was, and straightaway a great cry was heard from the tomb. And going near, Jesus rolled away the stone from the door of the tomb. And straightaway, going in where the youth was, he stretched forth his hand and raised him, seizing his hand. But the youth, looking upon him, loved him and began to beseech him that he might be with him. And going out of the tomb they came into the house of the youth, for he was rich. And after six days Jesus told him what to do and in the evening the youth came to him, wearing a linen cloth over [his] naked [body.] And he remained with him that night, for Jesus taught him the mystery of the kingdom of God. And thence, arising, he returned to the other side of the Jordan.

The mystery of the kingdom of God?

Some second form of baptism? In the spirit? With an entheogen, as (arguably) in other “mysteries” such as that of Eleusis? A sexual, tantric mystery (the young man is instructed to be naked)? Or an initiation into meditation techniques? Who knows. All we can say is that according to this fragment, Jesus seems to have had some deeper teaching that he revealed after seven days to the young man..

More:

  • Shawn Eyer, The Strange Case of the Secret Gospel According to Mark
  • Richard Hooper, The Naked Man in the Garden and The Secret Gospel of Mark
  • There, number seven, and it’s a humdinger! — and every one of them featuring some sort of formal interest!

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    Boom! Bonus:

    Hobby Lobby and a Bible fragment controversy

    I ran across this while searching for a link to Morton Smith‘s book — or was it the other way around? Anyway, this is about a different Mark gospel fragment, indeed possibly the earliest New Testament manuscript of all:

    From today’s Guardian:

    An Oxford University professor has been accused of selling ancient Bible fragments to a controversial US company that has been involved in several high-profile scandals related to its aggressive purchases of biblical artefacts.

    Dirk Obbink, one of the world’s most celebrated classics professors, has been named after an investigation by staff associated with Oxford’s Oxyrhynchus Papyri project.

    He is accused of selling without permission a number of ancient fragments to the US arts and crafts chain Hobby Lobby. Its owners, the Green family, are prominent Christian evangelicals and, under the guidance of the Hobby Lobby president, Steve Green, were behind the founding of Washington’s $400m Museum of the Bible in 2017. [ .. ]

    The lecturer in papyrology and Greek literature has previously denied some of the allegations, telling the Daily Beast in 2018 that the claim he sold a fragment of the first chapter of the gospel of Mark to Hobby Lobby was not true.

    Previous reports:

  • Gospel Coalition, 2015, How Should We Respond to Reports that a Fragment of Mark Dates to c1 ?

    It was reported yesterday that a three-dozen member team of scientists and scholars—apparently including the well-respected New Testament historian Craig Evans—is working on a papyrus fragment of the Gospel of Mark, discovered as part of an ancient Egyptian funeral mask.

    Due to the expense of securing clean papyri sheets in the ancient world, the papier-mâché of these masks was made from recycled papyri that already contained writing. Evans explains, “We’re recovering ancient documents from the first, second and third centuries. Not just Christian documents, not just biblical documents, but classical Greek texts, business papers, various mundane papers, personal letters.”

    Amazing, eh? Metacognitive reading: think about it, what’s hidden in our masks?

  • Christianity Today 2018, Despite Disappointing Some, New Mark Manuscript Is Earliest Yet

    The Egypt Exploration Society has recently published a Greek papyrus that is likely the earliest fragment of the Gospel of Mark, dating it from between A.D. 150–250. One might expect happiness at such a publication, but this important fragment actually disappointed many observers. The reason stems from the unusual way that this manuscript became famous before it became available.

    I’m afraid that’s the story of its questionable sale..

    Oh dammit, Professor Obbink is a tutor at Christ Church — my own college.

  • Scotland, Wales, Ouroboroi and DoubleQuotes

    Thursday, September 12th, 2019

    [ By Charles Cameron — a sprinkling of intriguing pieces ]
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    Wales:

    That’s a comparison, by Chris Roberts — Brexit Party rally [left] vs Welsh independence rally [right].

    A fine DoubleQuote in images, and rich food for thought.

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    Scotland:

    Advisers to the Scottish government recommended canceling protections enjoyed by wandering sand dunes in Aberdeenshire

    Sand dunes as an endangered species? — again, food for thought!

    Indeed:

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    Wordage:

    On the topic of words, these came up in a discussion on Twitter: fict, fact, fuct — the latter from Ali Minai, for a statement claimed to be factual by Trump — and fiction, faction, faketion — the latter from Cynthia, for a fiction Trump claims is true?

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    Strategy:

    “Even Frederick II of Prussia, who was in the enviable position of being strategic thinker, supreme decision maker and commander-in-chief in one, could not implement the Strategy of short, sharp wars that he himself thought most desirable.”

    That’s from Beatrice Heuser, The Evolution of Strategy: Thinking War from Antiquity to the Present, via PR Beckman posts it..

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    Now, how about a couple of ouroboroi?

    I hope a school child did this one, not a too-clever adult..

    And:

    That’s from the film Mississippi Grind. The character cries, “It’s a sign, it’s a sign.”

    I told you ouroboroi were significant signifiers.

    Too good to miss, recent miscellanea

    Thursday, August 29th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — i don’t know about you, but wondrous strange stuff passes before my eyes daily, as in a dream — here’s a sampler ]
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    First off, two graphics too good to miss:

    From my friend Rabbi Lobel:

    and via David Metcalfe:

    I should probably stop there — the two of them are so stunning. But I need someplace to park some other recent items that caught my attention..

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    Then, a chyron ouroboros so brief as to be stunning:

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    And here are a couple of other tweeted ouroboroi

    And this one with the added distinction of coming from a Q-source:

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    Best game as metaphor for politics meme:

    Best folk religion image — Holy Child, Patron Saint of Gas Thieves

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    BTW, does QAnon get it’s Q from Quelle, German for source and popularly abbreviated Q in New Testament studies, where it is the “hypothetical written collection of primarily Jesus’ sayings” (Wiki) on which Matthew and Luke draw for materials not found in Mark?

    Or as I suggested to Ali Minai a day or two ago:

    the letter Q is what you get when you try to construct a Moebius strip on a plane surface.

    Don’t get me started on Borromean rings..

    And is there a Q in that initial snake graphic, at the head of this post? Thus I bite my own tail..

    When cats and elephants act the role of snakes

    Wednesday, July 24th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — ouroboroi — i’ll take the elephant first, since the cats are frankly vulgar ]
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    More vicious circles — serpents biting their tails. As I’ve suggested elsewhere, the serpent biting its tail or ouroboros, is one of humankind’s oldest and most profound patterns.

    It appears that cats, and elephants too, can enact it.

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    The circle here is a triple one — same transformer which killed child elephant is avenged by child’s mother:

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    I can’t do better for a follow-up than to embed for you this tweet by my friend Bill Banzon;

    Click through to the full thread he links to, if you want to see a dozen or so more examples of cat-lick.

    I mean, this was clearly a medieval meme..

    Whoa boy, Roy Lichtenstein

    Sunday, June 30th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — from comix-pop to painting paint to a swirling portrait of complexity, aka tohu=bohu ]
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    Whoa boy, I had no idea Roy Lichtenstein ever painted anything like this:

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    I knew, of course, that he’d painted blown-up mersions of comic frames:

    Whaam! 1963 Roy Lichtenstein 1923-1997 Purchased 1966

    But that’s too easily “cool” to impress me much. Far more interesting is his painting of painting:

    He’s still doing a blow-up, in this case even more extreme than in his comic-book blow up Whaam, above — but this time it’s self-conscious, a painter taking paint for his subject, a serpent biting its own tail you might say, an exemplary ouroboros.

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    And in the course of my quick search for Lichtenstein images, I also found this, which interests me as, potentially, an image of multiple musical voices intersecting and separating — a strange, wave-like form of polyphony:

    Composition II 1996 Roy Lichtenstein 1923-1997 ARTIST ROOMS Tate and National Galleries of Scotland. Lent by The Roy Lichtenstein Foundation Collection 2015

    This in turn reminds me of the “wavy music” in Reynolds Stone‘s bookplate for my aunt Esther:

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    But to return to that first image:

    That’s an astonishing image of tohu-bohu, the “formless and void” just before creation as envisaged in Genesis. And here’s my point:

    This image is both patterned (with formal properties) and abstract (formless), as befits that great mirror in which all forms arise and fade away, and thus a superb image for complexity, which is both patterned like overlapping waves, and swirling beyond our comprehension..

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    Here’s R Cromb‘s version of tohu-bohu:

    And that of the Nuremberg Chronicle, 1493:

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    Ah, for a breath of theology hovering above the waters, see Catherine Keller & a theology of chaos, Part 1 and, no doubt, Catherine Keller, The Face of the Deep: A Theology of Becoming.


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