Category Archives: BOOKS

Cultural Museum of Mosul


Cultural Museum of Mosul

THE DHAMMAPADA – FULL AudioBook | Buddhism – Teachings of The Buddha (“Hatred ceases by love”)


THE DHAMMAPADA – FULL AudioBook | Buddhism – Teachings of The Buddha

The Dhammapada by Unknown, Translated by F. Max Mueller – FULL AudioBook – The Dhammapada is is a Buddhist scripture, containing 423 verses in 26 categories. According to tradition, these are verses spoken by the Buddha on various occasions, most of which deal with ethics. It is is considered one of the most important pieces of Theravada literature. Despite this, the Dhammapada is read by many Mahayana Buddhists and remains a very popular text across all schools of Buddhism. (Summary from Wikipedia.org)

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- READ along by clicking (CC) for Closed Caption Transcript!

- LISTEN to the entire audiobook for free!

Chapter listing and length:

01 — Chapters 1-4 — 00:14:36
Read by: Roger Turnau

02 — Chapters 5-8 — 00:10:52
Read by: Måns Broo

03 — Chapters 9-14 — 00:19:16
Read by: Chris Masterson

04 — Chapters 15-18 — 00:13:30
Read by: Chris Masterson

05 — Chapters 19-22 — 00:17:01
Read by: Denny Sayers

06 — Chapters 23-25 — 00:16:44
Read by: Roger Turnau

07 — Chapter 26 — 00:10:35
Read by: Scott

Total running time: 1:42:34

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History Of Egypt, Chaldea, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria, Vol. 1, by Gaston Maspero, Audiobook

History of Human Society – Civilizations: The_Encyclopedia_of_Ancient Civilizations_Arthur_Cotterell


The_Encyclopedia_of_Ancient Civilizations_Arthur_Cotterell

The_Encyclopedia_of_Ancient Civilizations_Arthur_Cotterell (click to enlarge)


quotation: Faith, n.: Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel. Ambrose Bierce


Faith, n.: Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel.

Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914) Discuss

article: Incunabula


Incunabula

Incunabula are “books of the cradle days” of printing, or books printed in the 15th century. The known incunabula represent about 40,000 editions. The books include products of more than 1,000 presses, including such famous printers as Gutenberg, Caxton, and Aldus Manutius, and give evidence as to the development of typography in its formative period. These books were generally large quarto size, bound in calf over boards of wood, and decorated with borders. What are some famous incunabula? More… Discuss

quotation: A good principle not rightly understood may prove as hurtful as a bad. John Milton


A good principle not rightly understood may prove as hurtful as a bad.

John Milton (1608-1674) Discuss

The Great Gatsby


The Great Gatsby

Written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, an American novelist of the Jazz Age, The Great Gatsby is today considered standard reading in high school courses on American literature. It tells the story of a bootlegger whose obsessive dream of wealth and lost love is destroyed by a corrupt reality. Cynical yet poignant, the novel is a devastating portrait of the so-called American Dream, which measures success and love in terms of money. What other titles did Fitzgerald consider for this novel? More… Discuss


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portal:Christianity_in_China

 
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Lin (林).
Lin Yutang
Linyutang.jpg

Lin Yutang, photographed by
Carl Van Vechten, 1939
 
Traditional Chinese 林語堂
 
Simplified Chinese 林语堂

Lin Yutang (Chinese: 林语堂; pinyin: Lín Yǔtáng; October 10, 1895 – March 26, 1976) was a Chinese writer, translator, linguist and inventor. His informal but polished style in both Chinese and English made him one of the most influential writers of his generation, and his compilations and translations of classic Chinese texts into English were bestsellers in the West.

Youth

Lin was born in the town of Banzai, Pinghe, Zhangzhou, Fujian. This mountainous region made a deep impression on his consciousness, and thereafter he would constantly consider himself a child of the mountains (in one of his books he commented that his idea of hell was a city apartment). His father was a Christian minister. His journey of faith from Christianity to Taoism and Buddhism, and back to Christianity in his later life was recorded in his book From Pagan to Christian (1959).

Academic career and Shanghai intellectual world

Lin studied for his bachelor’s degree at Saint John’s University in Shanghai, then received a half-scholarship to continue study for a doctoral degree at Harvard University. He later wrote that in the Widener Library he first found himself and first came alive, but he never saw a Harvard-Yale game.[1] He left Harvard early however, moving to work with the Chinese Labor Corps in France and eventually to Germany, where he completed his requirements for a doctoral degree in Chinese philology at the University of Leipzig. From 1923 to 1926 he taught English literature at Peking University.

Enthusiastic about the success of the Northern Expedition, he briefly served in the new Nationalist government, but soon turned to teaching and writing. He found himself in the wake of the New Culture Movement which criticized China’s tradition as feudal and harmful. Instead of accepting this charge, however, Lin immersed himself in the Confucian texts and literary culture which his Christian upbringing and English language education had denied him. His magazine Lun Yu (Analects) attracted essays and readership, and Lin maintained friendship and debate with Hu Shi, Lu Xun, key figures in the Shanghai literary scene of the 1930s. He was a key figure in introducing the Western concept of humor, which he felt China had lacked. In 1933, however, Lu Xun attacked the journal Analects for being apolitical and dismissed Lin’s elegant xiaopin wen 小品文, or small essay as “bric a brac for the bourgeoisie.”.[2]

Lin’s writings in Chinese were critical of the Nationalist government, to the point that he feared for his life. Many of his essays from this time were later collected in With Love and Irony (1940). In 1933, he met Pearl Buck in Shanghai, and she introduced him and his writings to her publisher, Richard Walsh, head of John Day publishers, who published Lin’s works for many years.[3]

Lin’s relation with Christianity changed over the years. His father, of course, was a second generation Christian, but at Tsinghua, Lin asked himself what it meant to be a Christian in China. Being a Christian meant acceptance of Western science and progress, but Lin became angry that being a Christian also meant losing touch with China’s culture and his own personal identity. On his return from study abroad, Lin renewed his respect for his father, yet he plunged into study of Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism, and did not identify himself as Christian.[4]

Career after leaving China

After 1935 Lin lived mainly in the United States, where he became known as a “wise and witty” popularizer of Chinese philosophy and way of life. Lin’s first best sellers were My Country and My People (simplified Chinese: 吾国与吾民; traditional Chinese: 吾國與吾民) (1935) and The Importance of Living (simplified Chinese: 生活的艺术; traditional Chinese: 生活的藝術) (1937), written in English in a charming style. Others include Between Tears and Laughter (啼笑皆非) (1943), The Importance of Understanding (1960, a book of translated Chinese literary passages and short pieces), The Chinese Theory of Art (1967). The novels Moment in Peking (simplified Chinese: 京华烟云; traditional Chinese: 京華煙雲) (1939), A Leaf in the Storm (1940), and The Vermilion Gate (simplified Chinese: 朱门; traditional Chinese: 朱門) (1953) were well received epics of China in turmoil, while Chinatown Family (1948) presented the lives of Chinese Americans in New York. Partly to avoid controversial contemporary issues, Lin in 1947 published The Gay Genius: The Life and Times of Su Tungpo, which presented the struggle between Su Dongpo and Wang Anshi as parallel to the struggle between Chinese liberals and totalitarian communists.

Lin’s political writings in English sold fewer copies than his cultural works and were more controversial. Between Tears and Laughter (1943) broke with the genial tone of his earlier English writings to criticize Western racism and imperialism. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Lin traveled in China and wrote favorably of the war effort and Chiang Kai-shek in Vigil of a Nation (1944). American China Hands such as Edgar Snow criticized these works.[5]

Mechanics had been a long time avocation. Since Chinese is a character-based rather than an alphabet-based language, with many thousands of separate characters, it was difficult to employ modern printing technologies. Many doubted that a Chinese typewriter could be invented. Lin, however, worked on this problem for decades and eventually came up with a workable typewriter which was brought to market in the middle of the war with Japan. The Mingkwai “Clear and Quick” Chinese-language typewriter played a pivotal role in the Cold War Machine Translation research.[6] Lin also invented and patented several lesser inventions, such as a toothbrush which dispensed toothpaste.

In the mid-1950s, he served briefly and unhappily as president (or chancellor) of the Nanyang University which was newly created in Singapore specifically for Chinese studies as parallel to the English-oriented University of Singapore. He did not, however, choose to continue in that role when the faculty resisted his plans for structural reform and Nanyang (South Seas) University became a focus of the struggle for control of Singapore between the Communist-directed left and the liberal, social democratic right. He felt he was too old for the conflict.

After he returned to New York in the late 1950s, Lin renewed his interest in Christianity. His wife was a devout believer, and Lin admired her serenity and humility. After attending services with her at the Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church for several months, he joined the church and announced his return to the faith.[4] His 1959 book From Pagan to Christian explained this move, which many of his readers found surprising.

With his facility for both Chinese and English idiom, Lin presided over the compilation of an outstanding Chinese-English dictionary, Lin Yutang’s Chinese-English Dictionary of Modern Usage (simplified Chinese: 林语堂当代汉英词典; traditional Chinese: 林語堂當代漢英詞典) (1972), which contains a massive English index to definitions of Chinese terms. The work was undertaken at the newly founded Chinese University of Hong Kong.

His many works represent an attempt to bridge the cultural gap between the East and the West. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1940 and 1950.[7]

Dr. Lin was buried at his home in Yangmingshan, Taipei, Taiwan. His home has been turned into a museum, which is operated by Taipei-based Soochow University. The town of Lin’s birth, Banzai, has also preserved the original Lin home and turned it into a museum.

Lin’s reputation and scholarship on Lin

Although his major books have remained in print, Lin is a thinker whose place in modern Chinese intellectual history has been overlooked until recently.[8] Lin themed conventions have been organized in Taiwan and Lin’s native Fujian, and in December 2011, the International Conference on the Cross-cultural Legacy of Lin Yutang in China and America was held at City University of Hong Kong, with professional and private scholars from mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Malaysia, the United States, Germany and Slovakia. The organizer of the conference was Dr. Qian Suoqiao, whose book, Liberal Cosmopolitan: Lin Yutang and Middling Chinese Modernity (Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2010) was the first (and still only) full length academic study of Lin in any language.[9] Jing Tsu’s Sound and Script in Chinese Diaspora (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010) gives a detailed account of Lin Yutang’s typewriter and its role in the context of late 19th century script reform, Chinese national language reform in the early twentieth century, and the fascinating story of his typewriting keyboard and Machine Translation research during the Cold War.

Family

His wife, Liao TsuiFeng (廖翠鳳), was an author, who, along with her daughter Lin Hsiang Ju, wrote three cookery books which popularized Chinese cuisine in the English speaking world. Dr. Lin wrote introductions which explained the historical background and relevance for American life.

His first daughter Adet Lin (林鳳如; also known as Lin Rusi 林如斯) (1923–1971) was an author who also used the pseudonym Tan Yun.

His second daughter Lin TaiYi (林太乙) (1926–2003) was also known as Anor Lin in her earliest writing, and had the Chinese name 玉如. She was an author and the general editor of Chinese Reader’s Digest from 1965 until her retirement in 1988. She also wrote a biography of her father in Chinese (林語堂傳), which shows some signs of her father’s literary flair.

His third daughter Lin HsiangJu (林相如) (1931-), was referred to as MeiMei in childhood. She was co-author of cookbooks with her mother, and was a biochemist at Queen Mary hospital in Hong Kong.

The daughters all had names containing the character 如 (Ju): Adet 鳳如, Anor 玉如, and HsiangJu 相如.

Works in Chinese or published in China to 1935

(courtesy Lin Yutang House [3])

  • (1928) Jian Fu Collection (Shangha: Bei Hsin Book Company)
  • (1930) Letters of a Chinese Amazon and Wartime Essays (Shanghai: Kaiming
  • (1930) Kaiming English Books (Three Volumes) (Shanghai: Kaiming)
  • (1930) English Literature Reader (Two Volumes) (Shanghai: Kaiming)
  • (1930) Kaiming English Grammar (Two Volumes) (Shanghai: Kaiming)
  • (1931) Reading in Modern Journalistic Prose (Shanghai: Oriental Book)
  • (1933) A Collection of Essays on Linguistics (Shanghai: Kaiming Book)
  • (1934) Da Huang Ji (Shanghai: Living)
  • (1934) My Words First Volume (Sing Su Ji) (Shanghai Times)
  • (1935) Kaiming English Materials (Three Volumes) co-written by Lin Yutang and Lin you-ho (Shanghai: Oriental Book Co.)
  • (1935) The Little Critic: Essays Satires and Sketches on China First Series: 1930-1932 (Shanghai: Oriental Book Co.)
  • (1935) The Little Critic: Essays Satires and Sketches on China Second Series: 1933-1935 (Shanghai: Oriental Book Co.)
  • (1935) Confucius Saw Nancy and Essays about Nothing (Shanghai: Oriental)
  • (1936) My Words Second Volume (Pi Jing Ji) (Shanghai Times)

Works in English

  • (1935) My Country and My People, Reynal & Hitchcock, Inc., (A John Day Book)
  • (1936) A History of the Press and Public Opinion in China, Kelly and Walsh
  • (1937) The Importance of Living, Reynal & Hitchcock, Inc., (A John Day Book)
  • (1938) The Wisdom of Confucius, Random House, The Modern Library
  • (1939) Moment in Peking, The John Day Book Company
  • (1940) With Love & Irony, A John Day Book Company
  • (1941) A Leaf in the Storm, A John Day Book Company
  • (1942) The Wisdom of China and India, Random House
  • (1943) Between Tears & Laughter, A John Day Book Company
  • (1944) The Vigil of a Nation, A John Day Book Company
  • (1945) Between Tears and Laughter, written during World War II, as a bitter plea for the west to change its perspective of the world order. Published in London by Dorothy Crisp & Co Ltd.
  • (1947) The Gay Genius: The Life and Times of Su Tungpo, A John Day Book Company
  • (1948) Chinatown Family, A John Day Book Company
  • (1948) The Wisdom of Laotse, Random House
  • (1950) On the Wisdom of America, A John Day Book Company
  • (1951) Widow, Nun and Courtesan: Three Novelettes From the Chinese Translated and Adapted by Lin Yutang, A John Day Book Company
  • (1952) Famous Chinese Short Stories, retold by Lin Yutang, The John Day Book Company, reprinted 1952, Washington Square Press
  • (1953) The Vermilion Gate, A John Day Book Company
  • (1955) Looking Beyond, Prentice Hall (Published in England as The Unexpected island, Heinemann)
  • (1957) Lady Wu, World Publishing Company
  • (1958) The Secret Name, Farrar, Straus and Cudahy
  • (1959) The Chinese Way of Life, World Publishing Company
  • (1959) From Pagan to Christian, World Publishing Company
  • (1960) Imperial Peking: Seven Centuries of China, Crown Publishers
  • (1960) The Importance of Understanding, World Publishing Company
  • (1961) The Red Peony, World Publishing Company
  • (1962) The Pleasure of a Nonconformist, World Publishing Company
  • (1963) Juniper Loa, World Publishing Company
  • (1964) The Flight of Innocents, G. P. Putnam’s Sons
  • (1973) Chinese-English Dictionary of Modern Usage, Hong Kong Chinese University

quotation: Ralph Waldo Emerson Walden by Henry David Thoreau (Full Audiobook)


The days…come and go like muffled and veiled figures sent from a distant friendly party, but they say nothing, and if we do not use the gifts they bring, they carry them as silently away.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) Discuss

Walden by Henry David Thoreau (Full Audiobook)

today’s image: Mark Twain -The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – published on February 18, 1885



The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was published on February 18, 1885, and became one of the writer’s most famous works. Samuel Clemens, born in 1835, first used the pseudonym of Mark Twain when he wrote a humorous travel account in 1863. Books such as Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer made Mark Twain a popular American author because people could relate to his stories of boyhood adventures colored with social commentary. As a satirical, critical voice of the United States, Twain continued to write and lecture across the country and the world. Mark Twain died in 1910.

Image: Library of Congress

- See more at: http://www.historynet.com/picture-of-the-day#sthash.uLZdCO1M.dpuf

quotation: Frances Hodgson Burnett


Fate alone saw the meaning of the web it wove, the might of it, and its place in the making of a world’s history.

Frances Hodgson Burnett (1849-1924) Discuss

today’s birthday: Richard Ford, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist


Richard Ford, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
This article is about the American author. For other people, see Richard Ford (disambiguation).
Richard Ford
Richard Ford at Göteborg Book Fair 2013 01.jpg

American writer Richard Ford at the Göteborg Book Fair 2013
Born February 16, 1944 (age 70)
Jackson, Mississippi
Occupation novelist, short story writer
Nationality United States
Period 1976–present
Genre Literary fiction
Literary movement Dirty realism

Richard Ford (born February 16, 1944) is an American novelist and short story writer. His best-known works are the novel The Sportswriter and its sequels, Independence Day and The Lay of the Land, and the short story collection Rock Springs, which contains several widely anthologized stories.      read more

 

today’s image: Alice Lee Roosevelt


Alice Lee Roosevelt

Alice Lee Roosevelt, President Theodore Roosevelt’s irrepressible eldest daughter, married Congressman Nicholas Longworth of Ohio in an elaborate White House ceremony on February 17, 1906. Heedless of social convention, Alice’s behavior routinely shocked her family and friends. Once the president, when confronted with another of Alice’s escapades, remarked, ‘I can do one of two things, I can run the country or control Alice. I cannot do both.’ Nevertheless, the world public was captivated with the first daughter, who seemed to embody the ideal Gay Nineties woman. In spite of its promising beginning, Alice’s 25-year marriage to Longworth was not a happy one, but Alice reigned as the grande dame of Washington, D.C. society for another 50 years. This photo was taken on March 24, 1902.

Photo: Library of Congress

- See more at: http://www.historynet.com/picture-of-the-day#sthash.QjHzCPzg.dpuf

quotation: Lewis Carroll


How queer everything is to-day! And yesterday things went on just as usual. I wonder if I’ve been changed in the night? Let me think: was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I’m not the same, the next question is, “Who in the world am I?” Ah, that’s the great puzzle!Lewis Carroll (1832-1898) Discuss

Noam Chomsky on the rise of Islamic State & the Ukraine crisis


Noam Chomsky on the rise of Islamic State & the Ukraine crisis

 

Noam Chomsky on the rise of Islamic State & the Ukraine crisis


Noam Chomsky on the rise of Islamic State & the Ukraine crisis

quotation: Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself. Leo Tolstoy


Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) Discuss

today’s birthday: Charles Darwin (1809)


Charles Darwin (1809)

Darwin was an English naturalist who developed the modern theory of evolution. Along with naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, he proposed the principle of natural selection: the mechanism by which advantageous variations are passed on to later generations and less advantageous traits slowly disappear. Darwin’s intensely controversial theory of evolution aroused widespread argument and debate among scientists and religious leaders. How did Darwin view religion and God? More… Discuss

Education: Dare to listen: Leo Tolstoy — Anna Karenina {audiobook – in 5 parts}


quotation: ” We are willing enough to praise freedom when she is safely tucked away in the past and cannot be a nuisance….”E. M. Forster


quotation

We are willing enough to praise freedom when she is safely tucked away in the past and cannot be a nuisance. In the present, amidst dangers whose outcome we cannot foresee, we get nervous about her, and admit censorship.E. M. Forster (1879-1970) Discuss

Today In History: What Happened This Day In History (Tuesday, February 10, 2015)


Today In History. What Happened This Day In History

A chronological timetable of historical events that occurred on this day in history. Historical facts of the day in the areas of military, politics, science, music, sports, arts, entertainment and more. Discover what happened today in history.

February 10

1258   Huegu, a Mongol leader, seizes Baghdad, bringing and end to the Abbasid caliphate.
1620   Supporters of Marie de Medici, the queen mother, who has been exiled to Blois, are defeated by the king’s troops at Ponts de Ce, France.
1763   The Treaty of Paris ends the French-Indian War. France gives up all her territories in the New World except New Orleans and a few scattered islands.
1799   Napoleon Bonaparte leaves Cairo, Egypt, for Syria, at the head of 13,000 men.
1814   Napoleon personally directs lightning strikes against enemy columns advancing toward Paris, beginning with a victory over the Russians at Champaubert.
1840   Queen Victoria marries Prince Albert.
1846   Led by religious leader Brigham Young, the first Mormons begin a long westward exodus from Nauvoo, Il., to Utah.
1863   P.T. Barnum’s star midgets, Tom Thumb and Lavinia Warren, are married.
1904   Russia and Japan declare war on each other.
1915   President Wilson blasts the British for using the U.S. flag on merchant ships to deceive the Germans.
1939   Japanese occupy island of Hainan in French Indochina.
1941   London severs diplomatic relations with Romania.
1941   Iceland is attacked by German planes.
1942   The war halts civilian car production at Ford.
1945   B-29s hit the Tokyo area.
1955   Bell Aircraft displays a fixed-wing vertical takeoff plane.
1960   Adolph Coors, the beer brewer, is kidnapped in Golden, Colo.
1966   Protester David Miller is convicted of burning his draft card.
1979   The Metropolitan Museum announces the first major theft in 110-year history, $150,000 Greek marble head.
1986   The largest Mafia trial in history, with 474 defendants, opens in Palermo, Italy.
Born on February 10
1890  

Boris Pasternak, Russian novelist and poet (Dr. Zhivago).  (Listen to Doctor Zhivago, by Boris Pastenak on euzicasa! just click on the shortcut above!)

1893   Jimmy Durante, American comedian and film actor.
1894   Harold MacMillan, British prime minister (1957-1963).
1897   John F. Enders, virologist.
1898   Bertolt Brecht, German poet and dramatist (The Threepenny Opera).
1901   Stella Adler, actress and teacher.
1902   Walter Brattain, physicist, one of the inventors of the transistor.
1910   Dominique Georges Pire, Belgian cleric and educator.
1914   Larry Adler, harmonica virtuoso.
1920   Alex Comfort, English physician and author (Joy of Sex).
1927   (Mary Violet) Leontyne Price, opera singer.

- See more at: http://www.historynet.com/today-in-history#sthash.9xy5kPzI.dpuf

Education – Audiobooks – (Dare to listen): Boris Pasternak Doctor Zhivago


today’s holiday: Feast of St. Paul’s Shipwreck (2015)


Feast of St. Paul’s Shipwreck (2015)

This feast is a commemoration in Malta of the shipwreck of St. Paul on the island in 60 CE, an event described in the New Testament. Paul was a prisoner on a ship, and when storms drove the ship aground, Paul was welcomed by the “barbarous people” (meaning they were not Greco-Romans). According to legend, he got their attention when a snake bit him on the hand but did him no harm, and he then healed people of diseases. Paul is the patron saint of Malta and snakebite victims. The day is a public holiday observed with family gatherings and religious ceremonies and processions. More… Discuss

quotation: “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” Mark Twain


I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) Discuss

Human Civilization: Magna Carta Copy Found in Scrapbook


Magna Carta Copy Found in Scrapbook

A previously unknown version of the Magna Carta—the most famous document in British constitutional history—has been found tucked in a scrapbook by an archivist in the British town of Sandwich. The discovery comes just days after four surviving copies of the 1215 Magna Carta went on display in London. The Magna Carta, issued in 1215 by King John of England, asserted that no one, not even the king, was above the law. The newly found version appears to have been published under King Edward I in 1300. More… Discuss

quotation: Homer about friends


The difficulty is not so great to die for a friend, as to find a friend worth dying for.

Homer (900 BC-800 BC) Discuss

quotation: ― Augustine of Hippo


 

“Because God has made us for Himself, our hearts are restless until they rest in Him.”
Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo by Sandro Botticelli, c. 1490.

Augustine of Hippo by Sandro Botticelli, c. 1490. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

Christianity (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)


Christianity

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

The Sermon on the Mount by Carl Heinrich Bloch, Danish painter, d. 1890.

Christianity (from the Ancient Greek word Χριστός, Christos, a translation of the Hebrew מָשִׁיחַ, Māšîăḥ, meaning “the anointed one”,[1] together with the Latin suffixes -ian and -itas) is an Abrahamic, monotheistic[2] religion based on the life and oral teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as presented in the New Testament. Christianity is the world’s largest religion,[3][4] with about 2.4 billion adherents, known as Christians.[5][6][7][8] Christians believe that Jesus has a “unique significance” in the world.[9] Most Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God, fully divine and fully human, and the saviour of humanity whose coming was prophesied in the Old Testament. Consequently, Christians refer to Jesus as Christ or the Messiah.

The foundations of Christian theology are expressed in ecumenical creeds. These professions of faith state that Jesus suffered, died, was buried, and was resurrected from the dead in order to grant eternal life to those who believe in him and trust in him for the remission of their sins. The creeds further maintain that Jesus bodily ascended into heaven, where he reigns with God the Father. Most Christian denominations teach that Jesus will return to judge everybody, living and dead, and to grant eternal life to his followers. He is considered the model of a virtuous life. His ministry, crucifixion, and resurrection are often referred to as “the gospel“, meaning “good news” (a loan translation of the Greek: εὐαγγέλιον euangélion). The term gospel also refers to written accounts of Jesus’s life and teaching, four of which – the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John – are considered canonical and included in Christian Bibles.

Christianity began as a Second Temple Judaic sect in the mid-1st century.[10][11] Originating in the Levant region of the Middle East, it quickly spread to Europe, Syria, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, and Egypt. It grew in size and influence over a few centuries, and by the end of the 4th century had become the official state church of the Roman Empire, replacing other forms of religion practiced under Roman rule.[12] During the Middle Ages, most of the remainder of Europe was Christianized, and adherents were gained in the Middle East, North Africa, Ethiopia, and parts of India.[13][14] Following the Age of Discovery, Christianity spread to the Americas, Australasia, sub-Saharan Africa, and the rest of the world through missionary work and colonization.[15][16][17] Christianity has played a prominent role in the shaping of Western civilization.[18][19][20][21][22]

Worldwide, the three largest groups of Christianity are the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the various denominations of Protestantism. The Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox patriarchates split from one another in the schism of the 11th century, and Protestantism came into existence during the Reformation of the 16th century, splitting from the Roman Catholic Church.[23]

Beliefs

Christians share a certain set of beliefs that they hold as essential to their faith, though there are many important differences of interpretation and opinion of the Bible on which Christianity is based.[24]

Creeds

Main article: Creeds

Concise doctrinal statements or confessions of religious beliefs are known as creeds (from Latin credo, meaning “I believe”). They began as baptismal formulae and were later expanded during the Christological controversies of the 4th and 5th centuries to become statements of faith.

Many evangelical Protestants reject creeds as definitive statements of faith, even while agreeing with some or all of the substance of the creeds. The Baptists have been non-creedal “in that they have not sought to establish binding authoritative confessions of faith on one another.”[25]:p.111 Also rejecting creeds are groups with roots in the Restoration Movement, such as the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Evangelical Christian Church in Canada and the Churches of Christ.[26][27]:14–15[28]:123

 An Eastern Christian Icon depicting Emperor Constantine and the Fathers of the First Council of Nicaea (325) as holding the Niceno–Constantinopolitan Creed of 381.

The Apostles’ Creed remains the most popular statement of the articles of Christian faith which are generally acceptable to most Christian denominations that are creedal. It is widely used by a number of Christian denominations for both liturgical and catechetical purposes, most visibly by liturgical Churches of Western Christian tradition, including the Latin Church of the Catholic Church, Lutheranism, Anglicanism, and Western Rite Orthodoxy. It is also used by Presbyterians, Methodists, and Congregationalists. This particular creed was developed between the 2nd and 9th centuries. Its central doctrines are those of the Trinity and God the Creator. Each of the doctrines found in this creed can be traced to statements current in the apostolic period. The creed was apparently used as a summary of Christian doctrine for baptismal candidates in the churches of Rome.[29]

Its main points include:

The Nicene Creed, largely a response to Arianism, was formulated at the Councils of Nicaea and Constantinople in 325 and 381 respectively[30][31] and ratified as the universal creed of Christendom by the First Council of Ephesus in 431.[32]

The Chalcedonian Definition, or Creed of Chalcedon, developed at the Council of Chalcedon in 451,[33] though rejected by the Oriental Orthodox Churches,[34] taught Christ “to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably”: one divine and one human, and that both natures, while perfect in themselves, are nevertheless also perfectly united into one person.[35]

The Athanasian Creed, received in the Western Church as having the same status as the Nicene and Chalcedonian, says: “We worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; neither confounding the Persons nor dividing the Substance.”[36]

Most Christians (Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Protestants alike) accept the use of creeds, and subscribe to at least one of the creeds mentioned above.[37]

Ten Commandments

Main article: Ten Commandments

The Ten Commandments are a set of biblical principles relating to ethics and worship which play a fundamental role in Judaism and most forms of Christianity. They include instructions to worship only God and to keep the Sabbath, and prohibitions against idolatry, blasphemy, murder, theft, and adultery. Different groups follow slightly different traditions for interpreting and numbering them. According to the synoptic gospels, Christ generalised the law into two underlying principles; The first is “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” While the second is “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”[Matthew 22:34–40][Mark 12:28–33]

These are quotes from Deuteronomy 6:4 and Leviticus 19:18. Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament comments on these verses saying: “These comprehend the substance of what Moses in the law, and what the prophets have spoken. What they have said has been to endeavour to win men to the love of God and each other. Love to God and man comprehends the whole [of] religion; and to produce this has been the design of Moses, the prophets, the Saviour, and the apostles.”[38]

Jesus Christ

The central tenet of Christianity is the belief in Jesus as the Son of God and the Messiah (Christ). Christians believe that Jesus, as the Messiah, was anointed by God as savior of humanity, and hold that Jesus’ coming was the fulfillment of messianic prophecies of the Old Testament. The Christian concept of the Messiah differs significantly from the contemporary Jewish concept. The core Christian belief is that through belief in and acceptance of the death and resurrection of Jesus, sinful humans can be reconciled to God and thereby are offered salvation and the promise of eternal life.[39]

While there have been many theological disputes over the nature of Jesus over the earliest centuries of Christian history, Christians generally believe that Jesus is God incarnate and “true God and true man” (or both fully divine and fully human). Jesus, having become fully human, suffered the pains and temptations of a mortal man, but did not sin. As fully God, he rose to life again. According to the Bible, “God raised him from the dead”,[40] he ascended to heaven, is “seated at the right hand of the Father”[41] and will ultimately return[Acts 1:9–11] to fulfill the rest of Messianic prophecy such as the Resurrection of the dead, the Last Judgment and final establishment of the Kingdom of God.

According to the canonical gospels of Matthew and Luke, Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born from the Virgin Mary. Little of Jesus’ childhood is recorded in the canonical Gospels, however infancy Gospels were popular in antiquity. In comparison, his adulthood, especially the week before his death, is well documented in the Gospels contained within the New Testament, because that part of his life was believed to be most important. The Biblical accounts of Jesus’ ministry include: his baptism, miracles, preaching, teaching, and deeds.

Death and resurrection

 
Crucifixion, representing the death of Jesus on the Cross, painting by D. Velázquez, 17th century

 
Resurrection of Christ by Noel Coypel, 1700, using a hovering depiction of Jesus.

Christians consider the resurrection of Jesus to be the cornerstone of their faith (see 1 Corinthians 15) and the most important event in history.[42] Among Christian beliefs, the death and resurrection of Jesus are two core events on which much of Christian doctrine and theology is based.[43][44] According to the New Testament Jesus was crucified, died a physical death, was buried within a tomb, and rose from the dead three days later.[Jn. 19:30–31] [Mk. 16:1] [16:6]

The New Testament mentions several resurrection appearances of Jesus on different occasions to his twelve apostles and disciples, including “more than five hundred brethren at once”,[1Cor 15:6] before Jesus’ Ascension to heaven. Jesus’ death and resurrection are commemorated by Christians in all worship services, with special emphasis during Holy Week which includes Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

The death and resurrection of Jesus are usually considered the most important events in Christian theology, partly because they demonstrate that Jesus has power over life and death and therefore has the authority and power to give people eternal life.[45]

Christian churches accept and teach the New Testament account of the resurrection of Jesus with very few exceptions.[46] Some modern scholars use the belief of Jesus’ followers in the resurrection as a point of departure for establishing the continuity of the historical Jesus and the proclamation of the early church.[47] Some liberal Christians do not accept a literal bodily resurrection,[48][49] seeing the story as richly symbolic and spiritually nourishing myth. Arguments over death and resurrection claims occur at many religious debates and interfaith dialogues.[50] Paul the Apostle, an early Christian convert and missionary, wrote, “If Christ was not raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your trust in God is useless.”[1Cor 15:14] [51]

Salvation

Paul the Apostle, like Jews and Roman pagans of his time, believed that sacrifice can bring about new kinship ties, purity, and eternal life.[52] For Paul the necessary sacrifice was the death of Jesus: Gentiles who are “Christ’s” are, like Israel, descendants of Abraham and “heirs according to the promise”.[Gal. 3:29] [53] The God who raised Jesus from the dead would also give new life to the “mortal bodies” of Gentile Christians, who had become with Israel the “children of God” and were therefore no longer “in the flesh”.[Rom. 8:9,11,16] [52]

Modern Christian churches tend to be much more concerned with how humanity can be saved from a universal condition of sin and death than the question of how both Jews and Gentiles can be in God’s family. According to both Catholic and Protestant doctrine, salvation comes by Jesus’ substitutionary death and resurrection. The Catholic Church teaches that salvation does not occur without faithfulness on the part of Christians; converts must live in accordance with principles of love and ordinarily must be baptized.[54][55] Martin Luther taught that baptism was necessary for salvation, but modern Lutherans and other Protestants tend to teach that salvation is a gift that comes to an individual by God’s grace, sometimes defined as “unmerited favor”, even apart from baptism.

Christians differ in their views on the extent to which individuals’ salvation is pre-ordained by God. Reformed theology places distinctive emphasis on grace by teaching that individuals are completely incapable of self-redemption, but that sanctifying grace is irresistible.[56] In contrast Catholics, Orthodox Christians and Arminian Protestants believe that the exercise of free will is necessary to have faith in Jesus.[57]

Trinity

Main article: Trinity

 The Trinity is the belief that God is one God in three persons: God the Father, God the Son (Jesus), and God the Holy Spirit

Trinity refers to the teaching that the one God[2] comprises three distinct, eternally co-existing persons; the Father, the Son (incarnate in Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit. Together, these three persons are sometimes called the Godhead,[58][59][60] although there is no single term in use in Scripture to denote the unified Godhead.[61] In the words of the Athanasian Creed, an early statement of Christian belief, “the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, and yet there are not three Gods but one God”.[62] They are distinct from another: the Father has no source, the Son is begotten of the Father, and the Spirit proceeds from the Father. Though distinct, the three persons cannot be divided from one another in being or in operation.[63]

The Trinity is an essential doctrine of mainstream Christianity. “Father, Son and Holy Spirit” represents both the immanence and transcendence of God. God is believed to be infinite and God’s presence may be perceived through the actions of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.[64]

According to this doctrine, God is not divided in the sense that each person has a third of the whole; rather, each person is considered to be fully God (see Perichoresis). The distinction lies in their relations, the Father being unbegotten; the Son being begotten of the Father; and the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father and (in Western Christian theology) from the Son. Regardless of this apparent difference, the three ‘persons’ are each eternal and omnipotent.

The word trias, from which trinity is derived, is first seen in the works of Theophilus of Antioch. He wrote of “the Trinity of God (the Father), His Word (the Son) and His Wisdom (Holy Spirit)”.[65] The term may have been in use before this time. Afterwards it appears in Tertullian.[66][67] In the following century the word was in general use. It is found in many passages of Origen.[68]

Trinitarians

Main article: Trinitarianism

Trinitarianism denotes those Christians who believe in the concept of the Trinity. Almost all Christian denominations and Churches hold Trinitarian beliefs. Although the words “Trinity” and “Triune” do not appear in the Bible, theologians beginning in the 3rd century developed the term and concept to facilitate comprehension of the New Testament teachings of God as Father, God as Jesus the Son, and God as the Holy Spirit. Since that time, Christian theologians have been careful to emphasize that Trinity does not imply three gods, nor that each member of the Trinity is one-third of an infinite God; Trinity is defined as one God in three Persons.[69]

Nontrinitarians

Main article: Nontrinitarianism

Nontrinitarianism refers to theology that rejects the doctrine of the Trinity. Various nontrinitarian views, such as adoptionism or modalism, existed in early Christianity, leading to the disputes about Christology.[70] Nontrinitarianism later appeared again in the Gnosticism of the Cathars in the 11th through 13th centuries, and by groups with Unitarian theology in the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century,[71] and in the Age of Enlightenment of the 18th century, and in some groups arising during the Second Great Awakening of the 19th century.

Scriptures

Christianity, like other religions, has adherents whose beliefs and biblical interpretations vary. Christianity regards the biblical canon, the Old Testament and the New Testament, as the inspired word of God. The traditional view of inspiration is that God worked through human authors so that what they produced was what God wished to communicate. The Greek word referring to inspiration in 2 Timothy 3:16 is Theopneustos, which literally means “God-breathed”.[72]

Some believe that divine inspiration makes our present Bibles inerrant. Others claim inerrancy for the Bible in its original manuscripts, although none of those are extant. Still others maintain that only a particular translation is inerrant, such as the King James Version.[73][74][75] Another view closely related is Biblical infallibility or limited inerrancy, which affirms that the Bible is free of error as a guide to salvation, but may include errors on matters such as history, geography or science.

 The Gutenberg Bible, the first printed Bible

The books of the Bible accepted among the Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant churches vary somewhat, with Jews accepting only the Hebrew Bible as canonical; there is however substantial overlap. These variations are a reflection of the range of traditions, and of the councils that have convened on the subject. Every version of the Old Testament always includes the books of the Tanakh, the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Catholic and Orthodox canons, in addition to the Tanakh, also include the Deuterocanonical Books as part of the Old Testament. These books appear in the Septuagint, but are regarded by Protestants to be apocryphal. However, they are considered to be important historical documents which help to inform the understanding of words, grammar and syntax used in the historical period of their conception. Some versions of the Bible include a separate Apocrypha section between the Old Testament and the New Testament.[76] The New Testament, originally written in Koine Greek, contains 27 books which are agreed upon by all churches.

Modern scholarship has raised many issues with the Bible. While the Authorized King James Version is held to by many because of its striking English prose, in fact it was translated from the Erasmus Greek Bible which in turn “was based on a single 12th Century manuscript that is one of the worst manuscripts we have available to us”.[77] Much scholarship in the past several hundred years has gone into comparing different manuscripts in order to reconstruct the original text. Another issue is that several books are considered to be forgeries. The injunction that women “be silent and submissive” in 1 Timothy 12[78] is thought by many to be a forgery by a follower of Paul, a similar phrase in 1 Corinthians 14,[79] which is thought to be by Paul, appears in different places in different manuscripts and is thought to originally be a margin note by a copyist.[77] Other verses in 1 Corinthians, such as 1 Corinthians 11:2–16 where women are instructed to wear a covering over their hair “when they pray or prophesies”,[80] contradict this verse.

A final issue with the Bible is the way in which books were selected for inclusion in the New Testament. Other Gospels have now been recovered, such as those found near Nag Hammadi in 1945, and while some of these texts are quite different from what Christians have been used to, it should be understood that some of this newly recovered Gospel material is quite possibly contemporaneous with, or even earlier than, the New Testament Gospels. The core of the Gospel of Thomas, in particular, may date from as early as 50 AD, and if so would provide an insight into the earliest gospel texts that underlie the canonical Gospels, texts that are mentioned in Luke 1:1–2. The Gospel of Thomas contains much that is familiar from the canonical Gospels – verse 113, for example (“The Father’s Kingdom is spread out upon the earth, but people do not see it”),[81] is reminiscent of Luke 17:20–21[82][83] – and the Gospel of John, with a terminology and approach that is suggestive of what was later termed Gnosticism, has recently been seen as a possible response to the Gospel of Thomas, a text that is commonly labelled proto-Gnostic. Scholarship, then, is currently exploring the relationship in the Early Church between mystical speculation and experience on the one hand and the search for church order on the other, by analyzing new-found texts, by subjecting canonical texts to further scrutiny, and by an examination of the passage of New Testament texts to canonical status.

Catholic and Orthodox interpretations

 St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City, the largest church in the world and a symbol of the Catholic Church.

In antiquity, two schools of exegesis developed in Alexandria and Antioch. Alexandrine interpretation, exemplified by Origen, tended to read Scripture allegorically, while Antiochene interpretation adhered to the literal sense, holding that other meanings (called theoria) could only be accepted if based on the literal meaning.[84]

Catholic theology distinguishes two senses of scripture: the literal and the spiritual.[85]

The literal sense of understanding scripture is the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture. The spiritual sense is further subdivided into:

Regarding exegesis, following the rules of sound interpretation, Catholic theology holds:

  • the injunction that all other senses of sacred scripture are based on the literal[86][87]
  • that the historicity of the Gospels must be absolutely and constantly held[88]
  • that scripture must be read within the “living Tradition of the whole Church”[89] and
  • that “the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome“.[90]

today’s Image: Jules Verne (Image ArtToday)



Jules Verne

French author Jules Verne, born on February 8, 1828, is considered the father of science fiction. Many of his 19th-century works forecast amazing scientific feats–feats that were actually carried out in the 20th century–with uncanny accuracy. Verne’s 1865 book From the Earth to the Moon told the story of a space ship that is launched from Florida to the moon and that returns to Earth by landing in the ocean. An illustration from the original version of the book is shown above. Something of a scientist and traveler himself, Verne’s 1870 work about a submarine, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and Around the World in Eighty Days also foretold technological advances that seemed fantastic at the time. Jules Verne died in 1905.

Image ArtToday

- See more at: http://www.historynet.com/picture-of-the-day#sthash.lnUNkvGi.dpuf

quotation: Louisa May Alcott


Let my name stand among those who are willing to bear ridicule and reproach for the truth’s sake, and so earn some right to rejoice when the victory is won.

Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888) Discuss

quotation: Washington Irving


Who can look down upon the grave even of an enemy, and not feel a compunctious throb, that he should ever have warred with the poor handful of earth that lies moldering before him?Washington Irving (1783-1859) Discuss

Harper Lee to Publish Second Novel


Harper Lee to Publish Second Novel

Harper Lee has announced that she will publish her second novel in 2015, a sequel of sorts to her beloved, Pulitzer Prize-winning To Kill a Mockingbird. Lee completed the manuscript, titled Go Set a Watchman, in the 1950s, but her editor persuaded her to more fully explore the childhood of the book’s main character, Scout, which resulted in To Kill a Mockingbird—until now, her only novel. Lee, now 88, became reacquainted with the manuscript when her lawyer came upon it last year. More… Discuss

image of the day: Louis Braille simplified six dot alphabet for the visually impaired



Louis Braille

Louis Braille, born February 4, 1809, was blinded at age four as the result of an accident in his father’s shop. Nevertheless, he became an accomplished organist and cellist and won a scholarship in 1819 to attend the National Institute for Blind Youth in Paris. At age 15, Louis witnessed a demonstration there by Charles Barbier, a soldier who had invented ‘night writing,’ a system of letters embossed on cardboard for silent communication along trenches. While Barbier’s system was too complex to be practical, Braille simplified and adapted it to a six-dot code representing letters that enabled people with impaired vision to not only read but also write for themselves. In 1827, the first Braille book was published, but Braille himself died of tuberculosis at age 43–before his system gained widespread acceptance.

- See more at: http://www.historynet.com/picture-of-the-day#sthash.R7bxTawE.dpuf

quotation: Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. Henry Fielding


Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea.

Henry Fielding (1707-1754) Discuss

Sergentul, de Vasile Alecsandri


Sergentul
poezie

- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
de [Vasile_Alecsandri ]

2002-08-08  |     |  Înscris în bibliotecă de aleksandar stoicovici

Sergentul Pe drumul de costise ce duce la Vaslui
Venea un om, cu jale zicind în gindul lui:
“Mai lunga-mi pare calea acum la-ntors acasa…
As vrea să zbor, si rana din pulpa nu mă lasa!”
Si bietul om, slab, palid, avind sumanul rupt
Si o camesa rupta bucati pe dedesupt,
Pasea tragind piciorul încet, dar pe-a lui fata
Zbura ca o lumina de glorie mareata,
Si-n ochii lui de vulturi adinci, vioi si mari
Trecea lucioase umbre de eroi legendari.

Opinca-i era sparta, căciula desfundata,
Dar fruntea lui de raze parea incoronata.
Calica-i era haina, dar straluceau pe ea
Si crucea “Sfintul Gheorghe” si a “Romaniei Stea”.
Romanul venea singur pe drumul plin de soare,
Când iata ca aude fanfare sunatoare
Si vede nu departre în fata lui venind
Un corp de oaste mindra în aur stralucind.
Erau trei batalione de garda-mparateasca
Mergând voiios la Plevna cu dor s-o cucereasca.

In frunte-i colonelul semet, pe calu-i pag,
La bravii sai tovarasi privea ades cu drag,
Si inima în pieptu-i batea cu foc, desteapta,
Căci el visa, privindu-i, la lupta ce-i asteapta.
Deodat’ el da cu ochii de sarbedul roman
Ce stase-n loc la umbra, sub un stejar batrân,
Si mult se minuneaza, si nici ca-i vine-a crede
Când crucea “Sfintul Gheorghe” pe sinul lui o vede.
S-opreste regimentul, iar bravul colonel
Se-nchina la drumetul, s-apropie de el.

Si-i zice cu blindeta: “De unde vii straine?”
“Vin tocmai de la Plevna.” “Cum e acolo?” “Bine.”
“Dar aste decoratii cum, cine ti le-au dat?”
“Chiar domninorul nostru s-al vostru imparat.”
“Dar pentru care fapte?” “Stiu eu?… Cica drept plata
Ca am luat eu steagul redutei… si pe data
Cu el, strapunsi de glonturi, ne-am prabusit în sant…”
“Dar ce rang ai voinice?” “Am rang… de dorobant!”
Atunci colonelul, dând mâna cu sergentul,
Se-ntoarce, da un ordin… Pe loc, tot regimentul
Se-nsira, poarta arma, saluta cu onor
Romanul care pleaca tragind a lui picior.

 

Mihai Eminescu: Scrisoarea III (‘…cum venira se facura toti o apa si-un pamant…”)


Puteţi asculta înregistrări audio pe situl: http://www.lecturaaudio.ro

translate, as you wish,  HERE

 

Mihai Eminescu

Scrisoarea III


Un sultan dintre aceia ce domnesc peste vro limbă,

Ce cu-a turmelor păşune, a ei patrie ş-o schimbă,

La pământ dormea ţinându-şi căpătâi mâna cea dreaptă;

Dară ochiu-nchis afară, înlăuntru se deşteaptă.

Vede cum din ceruri luna lunecă şi se coboară

Şi s-apropie de dânsul preschimbată în fecioară.

Înflorea cărarea ca de pasul blândei primăveri;

Ochii ei sunt plini de umbra tăinuitelor dureri;

Codrii se înfiorează de atâta frumuseţe,

Apele-ncreţesc în tremur străveziile lor feţe,

Pulbere de diamante cade fină ca o bură,

Scânteind plutea prin aer şi pe toate din natură

Şi prin mândra fermecare sun-o muzică de şoapte,

Iar pe ceruri se înalţă curcubeele de noapte…

Ea, şezând cu el alături, mâna fină i-o întinde,

Părul ei cel negru-n valuri de mătasă se desprinde:

– Las’ să leg a mea viaţă de a ta… În braţu-mi vino,

Şi durerea mea cea dulce cu durerea ta alin-o…

Scris în cartea vieţii este şi de veacuri şi de stele

Eu să fiu a ta stăpână, tu stăpân vieţii mele.

Şi cum o privea sultanul, ea se-ntunecă… dispare;

Iar din inima lui simte un copac cum că răsare,

Care creşte într-o clipă ca în veacuri, mereu creşte,

Cu-a lui ramuri peste lume, peste mare se lăţeşte;

Umbra lui cea uriaşă orizontul îl cuprinde

Şi sub dânsul universul într-o umbră se întinde;

Iar în patru părţi a lumii vede şiruri munţii mari,

Atlasul, Caucazul, Taurul şi Balcanii seculari;

Vede Eufratul şi Tigris, Nilul, Dunărea bătrână -

Umbra arborelui falnic peste toate e stăpână.

Astfel, Asia, Europa, Africa cu-a ei pustiuri

Şi corăbiile negre legănându-se pe râuri,

Valurile verzi de grâie legănându-se pe lanuri,

Mările ţărmuitoare şi cetăţi lângă limanuri,

Toate se întind nainte-i… ca pe-un uriaş covor,

Vede ţară lângă ţară şi popor lângă popor -

Ca prin neguri alburie se strevăd şi se prefac

În întinsă-mpărăţie sub o umbră de copac.

Vulturii porniţi la ceruri pân’ la ramuri nu ajung;

Dar un vânt de biruinţă se porneşte îndelung

Şi loveşte rânduri, rânduri în frunzişul sunător,

Strigăte de-Allah! Allahu! se aud pe sus prin nori,

Zgomotul creştea ca marea turburată şi înaltă,

Urlete de bătălie s-alungau dupăolaltă,

Însă frunzele-ascuţite se îndoaie după vânt

Şi deasupra Romei nouă se înclină la pământ.

Se cutremură sultanul… se deşteaptă… şi pe cer

Vede luna cum pluteşte peste plaiul Eschişer.

Şi priveşte trist la casa şeihului Edebali;

După gratii de fereastră o copilă el zări

Ce-i zâmbeşte, mlădioasă ca o creangă de alun;

E a şeihului copilă, e frumoasa Malcatun.

Atunci el pricepe visul că-i trimis de la profet,

Că pe-o clipă se-nălţase chiar în rai la Mohamet,

Că din dragostea-i lumească un imperiu se va naşte,

Ai căruia ani şi margini numai cerul le cunoaşte.

Visul său se-nfiripează şi se-ntinde vultureşte,

An cu an împărăţia tot mai largă se sporeşte,

Iară flamura cea verde se înalţă an cu an,

Neam cu neam urmându-i zborul şi sultan după sultan.

Astfel ţară după ţară drum de glorie-i deschid…

Pân-în Dunăre ajunge furtunosul Baiazid…

La un semn, un ţărm de altul, legând vas de vas, se leagă

Şi în sunet de fanfare trece oastea lui întreagă;

Ieniceri, copii de suflet ai lui Allah şi spahii

Vin de-ntunecă pământul la Rovine în câmpii;

Răspândindu-se în roiuri, întind corturile mari…

Numa-n zarea depărtată sună codrul de stejari.

Iată vine-un sol de pace c-o năframă-n vârf de băţ.

Baiazid, privind la dânsul, îl întreabă cu dispreţ:

– Ce vrei tu?

– Noi? Bună pace! Şi de n-o fi cu bănat,

Domnul nostru-ar vrea să vază pe măritul împărat.

La un semn deschisă-i calea şi s-apropie de cort

Un bătrân atât de simplu, după vorbă, după port.

– Tu eşti Mircea?

– Da-mpărate!

– Am venit să mi te-nchini,

De nu, schimb a ta coroană într-o ramură de spini.

– Orice gând ai, împărate, şi oricum vei fi sosit,

Cât suntem încă pe pace, eu îţi zic: Bine-ai venit!

Despre partea închinării însă, Doamne, să ne ierţi;

Dar acu vei vrea cu oaste şi război ca să ne cerţi,

Ori vei vrea să faci întoarsă de pe-acuma a ta cale,

Să ne dai un semn şi nouă de mila Măriei tale…

De-o fi una, de-o fi alta… Ce e scris şi pentru noi,

Bucuroşi le-om duce toate, de e pace, de-i război.

– Cum? Când lumea mi-e deschisă, a privi gândeşti că pot

Ca întreg Aliotmanul să se-mpiedice de-un ciot?

O, tu nici visezi, bătrâne, câţi în cale mi s-au pus!

Toată floarea cea vestită a întregului Apus,

Tot ce stă în umbra crucii, împăraţi şi regi s-adună

Să dea piept cu uraganul ridicat de semilună.

S-a-mbrăcat în zale lucii cavalerii de la Malta,

Papa cu-a lui trei coroane, puse una peste alta,

Fulgerele adunat-au contra fulgerului care

În turbarea-i furtunoasă a cuprins pământ şi mare.

N-au avut decât cu ochiul ori cu mâna semn a face,

Şi Apusul îşi împinse toate neamurile-ncoace;

Pentru-a crucii biruinţă se mişcară râuri-râuri,

Ori din codri răscolite, ori stârnite din pustiuri;

Zguduind din pace-adâncă ale lumii începuturi,

Înnegrind tot orizontul cu-a lor zeci de mii de scuturi,

Se mişcau îngrozitoare ca păduri de lănci şi săbii,

Tremura înspăimântată marea de-ale lor corăbii!…

La Nicopole văzut-ai câte tabere s-au strâns

Ca să steie înainte-mi ca şi zidul neînvins.

Când văzui a lor mulţime, câtă frunză, câtă iarbă,

Cu o ură ne’mpăcată mi-am şoptit atunci în barbă,

Am jurat ca peste dânşii să trec falnic, fără păs,

Din pristolul de la Roma să dau calului ovăs…

Şi de crunta-mi vijelie tu te aperi c-un toiag?

Şi, purtat de biruinţă, să mă-mpiedec de-un moşneag?

– De-un moşneag, da, împărate, căci moşneagul ce priveşti

Nu e om de rând, el este domnul Ţării Româneşti.

Eu nu ţi-aş dori vrodată să ajungi să ne cunoşti,

Nici ca Dunărea să-nece spumegând a tale oşti.

După vremuri mulţi veniră, începând cu acel oaspe,

Ce din vechi se pomeneşte, cu Dariu a lui Istaspe;

Mulţi durară, după vremuri, peste Dunăre vrun pod,

De-au trecut cu spaima lumii şi mulţime de norod;

Împăraţi pe care lumea nu putea să-i mai încapă

Au venit şi-n ţara noastră de-au cerut pământ şi apă -

Şi nu voi ca să mă laud, nici că voi să te-nspăimânt,

Cum veniră, se făcură toţi o apă ş-un pământ.

Te făleşti că înainte-ţi răsturnat-ai valvârtej

Oştile leite-n zale de-mpăraţi şi de viteji?

Tu te lauzi că Apusul înainte ţi s-a pus?…

Ce-i mâna pe ei în luptă, ce-au voit acel Apus?

Laurii voiau să-i smulgă de pe funtea ta de fier,

A credinţei biruinţă căta orice cavaler.

Eu? Îmi apăr sărăcia şi nevoile şi neamul…

Şi de-aceea tot ce mişcă-n ţara asta, râul, ramul,

Mi-e prieten numai mie, iară ţie duşman este,

Duşmănit vei fi de toate, făr-a prinde chiar de veste;

N-avem oşti, dară iubirea de moşie e un zid

Care nu se-nfiorează de-a ta faimă, Baiazid!

Şi abia plecă bătrânul… Ce mai freamăt, ce mai zbucium!

Codrul clocoti de zgomot şi de arme şi de bucium,

Iar la poala lui cea verde mii de capete pletoase,

Mii de coifuri lucitoare ies din umbra-ntunecoasă;

Călăreţii umplu câmpul şi roiesc după un semn

Şi în caii lor sălbatici bat cu scările de lemn,

Pe copite iau în fugă faţa negrului pământ,

Lănci scânteie lungi în soare, arcuri se întind în vânt,

Şi ca nouri de aramă şi ca ropotul de grindeni,

Orizontu-ntunecându-l, vin săgeţi de pretutindeni,

Vâjâind ca vijelia şi ca plesnetul de ploaie…

Urlă câmpul şi de tropot şi de strigăt de bătaie.

În zadar striga-mpăratul ca şi leul în turbare,

Umbra morţii se întinde tot mai mare şi mai mare;

În zadar flamura verde o ridică înspre oaste,

Căci cuprinsă-i de pieire şi în faţă şi în coaste,

Căci se clatină rărite şiruri lungi de bătălie;

Cad asabii ca şi pâlcuri risipite pe câmpie,

În genunchi cădeau pedestri, colo caii se răstoarnă,

Când săgeţile în valuri, care şuieră, se toarnă

Şi, lovind în faţă,-n spate, ca şi crivăţul şi gerul,

Pe pământ lor li se pare că se năruie tot cerul…

Mircea însuşi mână-n luptă vijelia-ngrozitoare,

Care vine, vine, vine, calcă totul în picioare;

Durduind soseau călării ca un zid înalt de suliţi,

Printre cetele păgâne trec rupându-şi large uliţi;

Risipite se-mprăştie a duşmanilor şiraguri,

Şi gonind biruitoare tot veneau a ţării steaguri,

Ca potop ce prăpădeşte, ca o mare turburată -

Peste-un ceas păgânătatea e ca pleava vânturată.

Acea grindin-oţelită înspre Dunăre o mână,

Iar în urma lor se-ntinde falnic armia română.

Pe când oastea se aşează, iată soarele apune,

Voind creştetele nalte ale ţării să-ncunune

Cu un nimb de biruinţă; fulger lung încremenit

Mărgineşte munţii negri în întregul asfinţit,

Pân’ ce izvorăsc din veacuri stele una câte una

Şi din neguri, dintre codri, tremurând s-arată luna:

Doamna mărilor ş-a nopţii varsă linişte şi somn.

Lângă cortu-i, unul dintre fiii falnicului domn

Sta zâmbind de-o amintire, pe genunchi scriind o carte,

S-o trimiţă dragei sale, de la Argeş mai departe:

“De din vale de Rovine

Grăim, Doamnă, către Tine,

Nu din gură, ci din carte,

Că ne eşti aşa departe.

Te-am ruga, mări, ruga

Să-mi trimiţi prin cineva

Ce-i mai mândru-n valea Ta:

Codrul cu poienele,

Ochii cu sprâncenele;

Că şi eu trimite-voi

Ce-i mai mândru pe la noi:

Oastea mea cu flamurile,

Codrul şi cu ramurile,

Coiful nalt cu penele,

Ochii cu sprâncenele.

Şi să ştii că-s sănătos,

Că, mulţămind lui Cristos,

Te sărut, Doamnă, frumos.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

De-aşa vremi se-nvredniciră cronicarii şi rapsozii;

Veacul nostru ni-l umplură saltimbancii şi irozii…

În izvoadele bătrâne pe eroi mai pot să caut;

Au cu lira visătoare ori cu sunete de flaut

Poţi să-ntâmpini patrioţii ce-au venit de-atunci încolo?

Înaintea acestora tu ascunde-te, Apollo!

O, eroi! care-n trecutul de măriri vă adumbriseţi,

Aţi ajuns acum de modă de vă scot din letopiseţ,

Şi cu voi drapându-şi nula, vă citează toţi nerozii,

Mestecând veacul de aur în noroiul greu al prozii.

Rămâneţi în umbră sfântă, Basarabi şi voi Muşatini,

Descălecători de ţară, dătători de legi şi datini,

Ce cu plugul şi cu spada aţi întins moşia voastră

De la munte pân’ la mare şi la Dunărea albastră.

Au prezentul nu ni-i mare? N-o să-mi dea ce o să cer?

N-o să aflu într-ai noştri vre un falnic juvaer?

Au la Sybaris nu suntem lângă capiştea spoielii?

Nu se nasc glorii pe stradă şi la uşa cafenelii,

N-avem oameni ce se luptă cu retoricele suliţi

În aplauzele grele a canaliei de uliţi,

Panglicari în ale ţării, care joacă ca pe funii,

Măşti cu toate de renume din comedia minciunii?

Au de patrie, virtute, nu vorbeşte liberalul,

De ai crede că viaţa-i e curată ca cristalul?

Nici visezi că înainte-ţi stă un stâlp de cafenele,

Ce îşi râde de-aste vorbe îngânându-le pe ele.

Vezi colo pe uriciunea fără suflet, fără cuget,

Cu privirea-mpăroşată şi la fălci umflat şi buget,

Negru, cocoşat şi lacom, un izvor de şiretlicuri,

La tovarăşii săi spune veninoasele-i nimicuri;

Toţi pe buze-având virtute, iar în ei monedă calpă,

Chintesenţă de mizerii de la creştet până-n talpă.

Şi deasupra tuturora, oastea să şi-o recunoască,

Îşi aruncă pocitura bulbucaţii ochi de broască…

Dintr-aceştia ţara noastră îşi alege astăzi solii!

Oameni vrednici ca să şază în zidirea sfintei Golii,

În cămeşi cu mâneci lunge şi pe capete scufie,

Ne fac legi şi ne pun biruri, ne vorbesc filosofie.

Patrioţii! Virtuoşii, ctitori de aşezăminte,

Unde spumegă desfrâul în mişcări şi în cuvinte,

Cu evlavie de vulpe, ca în strane, şed pe locuri

Şi aplaudă frenetic schime, cântece şi jocuri…

Şi apoi în sfatul ţării se adun să se admire

Bulgăroi cu ceafa groasă, grecotei cu nas subţire;

Toate mutrele acestea sunt pretinse de roman,

Toată greco-bulgărimea e nepoata lui Traian!

Spuma asta-nveninată, astă plebe, ăst gunoi

Să ajung-a fi stăpână şi pe ţară şi pe noi!

Tot ce-n ţările vecine e smintit şi stârpitură,

Tot ce-i însemnat cu pata putrejunii de natură,

Tot ce e perfid şi lacom, tot Fanarul, toţi iloţii,

Toţi se scurseră aicea şi formează patrioţii,

Încât fonfii şi flecarii, găgăuţii şi guşaţii,

Bâlbâiţi cu gura strâmbă sunt stăpânii astei naţii!

Voi sunteţi urmaşii Romei? Nişte răi şi nişte fameni!

I-e ruşine omenirii să vă zică vouă oameni!

Şi această ciumă-n lume şi aceste creaturi

Nici ruşine n-au să ieie în smintitele lor guri

Gloria neamului nostru spre-a o face de ocară,

Îndrăznesc ca să rostească pân’ şi numele tău… ţară!

La Paris, în lupanare de cinismu şi de lene,

Cu femeile-i pierdute şi-n orgiile-i obscene,

Acolo v-aţi pus averea, tinereţele la stos…

Ce a scos din voi Apusul, când nimic nu e de scos?

Ne-aţi venit apoi, drept minte o sticluţă de pomadă,

Cu monoclu-n ochi, drept armă beţişor de promenadă,

Vestejiţi fără de vreme, dar cu creieri de copil,

Drept ştiinţ-având în minte vre un vals de Bal-Mabil,

Iar în schimb cu-averea toată vrun papuc de curtezană…

O, te-admir, progenitură de origine romană!

Şi acum priviţi cu spaimă faţa noastră sceptic-rece,

Vă miraţi cum de minciuna astăzi nu vi se mai trece?

Când vedem că toţi aceia care vorbe mari aruncă

Numai banul îl vânează şi câştigul fără muncă,

Azi, când fraza lustruită nu ne poate înşela,

Astăzi alţii sunt de vină, domnii mei, nu este-aşa?

Prea v-aţi atătat arama sfâşiind această ţară,

Prea făcurăţi neamul nostru de ruşine şi ocară,

Prea v-aţi bătut joc de limbă, de străbuni şi obicei,

Ca să nu s-arate-odată ce sunteţi – nişte mişei!

Da, câştigul fără muncă, iată singura pornire;

Virtutea? e-o nerozie; Geniul? o nefericire.

Dar lăsaţi măcar strămoşii ca să doarmă-n colb de cronici;

Din trecutul de mărire v-ar privi cel mult ironici.

Cum nu vii tu, Ţepeş doamne, ca punând mâna pe ei,

Să-i împarţi în două cete: în smintiţi şi în mişei,

Şi în două temniţi large cu de-a sila să-i aduni,

Să dai foc la puşcărie şi la casa de nebuni!

quotation: ‘Love is…the principal means of escape from the loneliness…’ – Bertrand Russell


Love is…the principal means of escape from the loneliness which afflicts most men and women throughout the greater part of their lives.Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) Discuss

quotation: Virginia Woolf


It is the nature of the artist to mind excessively what is said about him. Literature is strewn with the wreckage of men who have minded beyond reason the opinions of others.Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) Discuss

Read this: ‘HINTS FOR LOVERS’ by Arnold Houltain – FULL AudioBook | GreatestAudioBooks.com


HINTS FOR LOVERS – Arnold Houltain – FULL AudioBook | GreatestAudioBooks.com

happy birthday Lewis Caroll: ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND – FULL AudioBook


ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND – FULL AudioBook | by Lewis Carroll

quotation: In some ways, you know, people that don’t exist, are much nicer than people that do. Lewis Carroll


In some ways, you know, people that don’t exist, are much nicer than people that do.

Lewis Carroll (1832-1898) Discuss

today’s birthday: Norman Mailer (1923)


Norman Mailer (1923)

American writer Norman Mailer was catapulted to fame at 25 with the publication of The Naked and the Dead, a partially autobiographical novel based on his World War II service. He pioneered the use of novelistic techniques in nonfiction works, a style known as New Journalism, and won his first Pulitzer Prize in 1969 for The Armies of the Night. He won his second Pulitzer in 1980 with The Executioner’s Song, a novel depicting the events surrounding whose execution? More… Discuss

quotation: E. M. Forster


 One always tends to overpraise a long book because one has got through it.

E. M. Forster (1879-1970) Discuss

quotation: I never expect to see a perfect work from imperfect man. Alexander Hamilton


I never expect to see a perfect work from imperfect man.

Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804) Discuss

this day in the yesteryear: Edgar Allan Poe Publishes “The Raven” (1845)


Edgar Allan Poe Publishes “The Raven” (1845)

Like Poe’s other works, “The Raven” conveys the dreamlike and often macabre forces that pervaded the author’s sensibility. While his wife suffered from a protracted illness, Poe composed this poem, which became an instant sensation when it appeared in the Evening Mirror in 1845. In the poem, the speaker, who is mourning the death of his love, Lenore, is mysteriously visited by a talking raven and asks the bird a series of questions. What is the raven’s one-word response to each query? More… Discuss

today’s birthday: José Martí (1853)


José Martí (1853)

A poet as well as a man of action, Martí was a writer and revolutionary who dedicated his life to the cause of Cuban independence. At the age of 16, he was arrested for treason and eventually deported. He returned from exile in 1878, only to be exiled again the next year. Having made his way to the US, he founded the Cuban Revolutionary party, but he was killed in battle before seeing the fruits of his labors—Cuban independence. Martí’s “Versos Sencillos” serve as the lyrics of what famous song? More… Discuss

Leonard Cohen – Take This Waltz [Official Music Video], great songs/interpretations


Leonard Cohen – Take This Waltz [Official Music Video]

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 

A lot of Love, poetic thought by George B. (the smudge and other poems Page) inspired and with dedication to ‘Como Agua Para Chocolate’, by the Mexican novelist Laura Esquivel


Lots of Love, poetic thought by George B.
(the smudge and other poems Page)

She first mixed the ingredients,
then added salt and sweat,
and other delicate things to the dough
she mixed and beat, and slammed and slammed
with powerful fists,
before

rolling
flattening
spreading the dough
on whole the top of the  board -
she did that many time…

Now  it all became quiet,
a quiet wait while

inside that silence the yeast was waking up the dough , 
engulfed in the mixture,
almost…ready to burst…

the oven preheated,

“time to open the gates to the baking heat”, she thought…

the moist heat of the oven –
time to release the moisture within –

let it float,
once more all around,  free,  in the boxed heat.

Now, all that was left was…cookies….while,
still very special, 

cookies,

with a sprinkle of Cinnamon
nutmeg
trace of… cloves
and  lots of love.

– George-B.

Inspired, and with dedication to Mexican novelist Laura Esquivel,   and her popular  novel Like Water for Chocolate (Spanish: Como agua para chocolate), the  popular novel published in 1989,  and the amazing magical realism by which  food is  one of the major themes in the story which is seen throughout the story. It is used very creatively to represent the characters feelings and situations.

Copyright © 2015 [George Bost]. All Rights Reserved.

 

quotation: E. M. Forster


Have you ever noticed that there are people who do things which are most indelicate, and yet at the same time—beautiful?E. M. Forster (1879-1970) Discuss