Sunday, July 8, 2007

Pope Benedict's Jesus of Nazareth

For my recent birthday, I received as a gift, Jesus of Nazareth. This book is really Part One of Pope Benedict's book on Jesus Christ, and it covers Jesus's public ministry. I have not yet been able to delve into this book, but plan to asap. I have found some great commentary on it at

I'm terribly disappointed, though, that this book has been met with much less press coverage than John Paul II's first book as pope, Crossing the Threshold of Hope. Surely, the novelty factor of finding a Pope's book in the corner bookstand has worn off. But, if that's the only reason people bought the late pope's books, didn't they miss the point anyway?

I hope some readers of this blog have read Jesus of Nazareth and can fill us in. I hope to post on it soon.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Interesting Thomistic Essays

Long time no post... the "End of our affair with mannerists" debate got pretty good.

Today was spent proofing some essays for two volumes to be published by the Thomistic Institute, and then running errands and watching "Rocky Balboa." I must say, some Thomistic philosophers are very good writers, and then some are incredibly good. Christopher Kaczor and Fulvio di Blasi stand out as two scholars who are superior at using interesting examples, appropriate abstractions, and clear logical arguments. Stay tuned for the two volumes that will be published sometime this year through St. Augustine's Press. And, google "Christopher Kaczor" and "Fulvio di Blasi" if you wish to learn more about St. Thomas Aquinas's philosophy. A layman will be able to understand their work.

My errands today reminded me of Dorothy Day's "On Pilgrimage." If you have not read this book published by Eerdman's, give it a try. It's a good spiritual autobiography. Actually, much of my life reminds me of Day's year spent roughing it on a farm in West Virginia. Today, an inescapable task was to take all the fresh but aging food in the refrigerator and turn it into something decent. "Waste not, want not." The results: an apple crisp, cream of celery soup, snapped fresh green beans. And from the garden, fresh thyme and turnip greens to wash and prepare, and some extra to give to the poor.

Finally, Rocky Balboa. This movie, written by Sylvester Stallone, is not merely, in my opinion, about a boxer trying to sort out his demons in his fifties. It is about an old world meeting a new world which seems to have no use for simple people from South Philly. The message is not merely populist, though; it is about which values will prevail. Will the sign of the Cross, burying the dead, chivalry to women, and picking out ugly dogs at the pound [Balboa's approach to life] win the day? Or is the soulless showboating of the computer age bound to consign Balboa to irrelevancy? Not to spoil the ending, I can only say that Balboa is not irrelevant, and that the movie makes the viewer look at their most cheap but dearly held and cynical information-age values, and listen to Rocky's take on them. The film is good for the soul.