Pithy Prose for Politicians, Preachers, Professors, Pundits, and Public Speakers.
Better be wise by the misfortunes of others than by your own.
In critical moments even the very powerful have need of the weakest.
It is thrifty to prepare today for the wants of tomorrow.
Aesop (620 BC – 560 BC)
Continue reading “Useful Greek and Roman Quotations”
Ab ovo – from an egg
Ad alta – To the summit
Ad astra – To the stars
Ad libitum – at liberty, at one’s pleasure
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam – To the greater glory of God – motto of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits)
Continue reading “Useful Latin Sayings”
Students of antiquity stumble over important questions. To accept any ancient work such as the Bible as a valid historical document we must understand the basics of daily life in the Bible. It is unfortunate, or exciting depending upon your point of view, that the Bible encompasses over 2,000 years, thousands of square miles and dozens of cultures. Simple questions abound such as “what time of day was Jesus crucified?” While this article will not provide a definitive answer, it will shed light on the question.
Time was divided into days, weeks, months and years during the Israelite monarchy. During and after the Babylonian exile the Jews adopted the Babylonian system of dividing the daylight period into hours.
Continue reading “Timekeeping in the Ancient Mediterranean and Near East”
Ours is a day of self-indulgence, where we are promised to “have it our way” and told “you deserve a break today”. Famous songs trumpet “I did it my way” and anything and everything, from privacy to health care to “self-expression”, has become a right. Few would argue for self-denial and some even hold that self-denial is bad and unhealthy. Abraham Maslow told us that our greatest need was self-actualization, Henry Ford taught us how to make anything faster and cheaper on an assembly line, and we soon discovered that life is really “all about us”.
Most men and women in history have either been self-indulgent or aspired to it, much like Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof sang in “If I were a rich man”. There have been a few, like the Spartans in Greece, who believed that self-discipline and self-denial were valuable, and perhaps even better, than self-indulgence. Benedict (480-540) was one such man.
Continue reading “The Benadictines”