Monday, September 24, 2018

Lorem ipsum

A bit ago Katie and Savanna got a note from their friends, Pam and Nicky, asking if we could use some tickets to a Museum in Monterrey, MA called the Bidwell House Museum. It is an 18th century farmhouse that has been preserved and restored and is open to the public. We went on-line to learn more about it, and I downloaded their most recent newsletter. In the letter was a box which said, "Thanks to our Volunteers." But below, instead of list of people's names, there were eight lines of the words, "Lorem ipsum." This puzzled me. I did recall seeing Latin in another document on-line once and wondered about that. So I looked it up, and what I learned is fascinating and also oddly relevant to what is going on right now concerning the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and the women who are accusing him of sexual assault.

So, "Lorem ipsum" is a fake Latin phrase, the first two words of a longer fake Latin "essay" which is used by typesetters as a placeholder when they are designing the layout of a document. It has been in use for 500 years or more (so why was I ignorant of it?).  The idea is that when you are designing a document you need some kind of words to work with in order to figure out columns, lines, spaces, headings, etc., but you don't want to use actual text that would be distracting. So you use  Latin words that don't even make much sense in Latin. They fill the space so you can design the document and eventually you put in the real text you want to use. Apparently a typesetter back in the 1500's had to do this and he chose a passage from Cicero and sort of scrambled it, and typesetters have been using the same text ever since.The Bidwell House Museum Newsletter editor needed a box for Volunteer Recognition, but she did not have the volunteer names yet, so she put in "Lorem ipsum" as a placeholder. 

Here is the larger "Lorem ipsum" document that typesetters use when they want to fill in a lot of space to design a layout:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

This "lorem ipsum" text is a scrambled section of De finibus bonorum et malorum, a 1st-century BC Latin text by Cicero, with words altered, added, and removed to make it nonsensical, improper Latin.
Here is the actual quote from Cicero, with the bold type showing how the "fake Latin" text relates to the original:

[32] Sed ut perspiciatis, unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium, totam rem aperiam eaque ipsa, quae ab illo inventore veritatis et quasi architecto beatae vitae dicta sunt, explicabo. Nemo enim ipsam voluptatem, quia voluptas sit, aspernatur aut odit aut fugit, sed quia consequuntur magni dolores eos, qui ratione voluptatem sequi nesciunt, neque porro quisquam est, qui dolorem ipsum, quia dolor sit amet consectetur adipisci[ng] velit, sed quia non-numquam [do] eius modi tempora inci[di]dunt, ut labore et dolore magnam aliquam quaerat voluptatem. Ut enim ad minima veniam, quis nostrum exercitationem ullam corporis suscipit laboriosam, nisi ut aliquid ex ea commodi consequatur? Quis autem vel eum iure reprehenderit, qui in ea voluptate velit esse, quam nihil molestiae consequatur, vel illum, qui dolorem eum fugiat, quo voluptas nulla pariatur?

[33] At vero eos et accusamus et iusto odio dignissimos ducimus, qui blanditiis praesentium voluptatum deleniti atque corrupti, quos dolores et quas molestias excepturi sint, obcaecati cupiditate non-provident, similique sunt in culpa, qui officia deserunt mollitia animi, id est laborum et dolorum fuga. Et harum quidem rerum facilis est et expedita distinctio. Nam libero tempore, cum soluta nobis est eligendi optio, cumque nihil impedit, quo minus id, quod maxime placeat, facere possimus, omnis voluptas assumenda est, omnis dolor repellendus. Temporibus autem quibusdam et aut officiis debitis aut rerum necessitatibus saepe eveniet, ut et voluptates repudiandae sint et molestiae non-recusandae. Itaque earum rerum hic tenetur a sapiente delectus, ut aut reiciendis voluptatibus maiores alias consequatur aut perferendis doloribus asperiores repellat

And here is an English translation of the Cicero:

[32] But I must explain to you how all this mistaken idea of denouncing of a pleasure and praising pain was born and I will give you a complete account of the system, and expound the actual teachings of the great explorer of the truth, the master-builder of human happiness. No one rejects, dislikes, or avoids pleasure itself, because it is pleasure, but because those who do not know how to pursue pleasure rationally encounter consequences that are extremely painful. Nor again is there anyone who loves or pursues or desires to obtain pain of itself, because it is pain, but occasionally circumstances occur in which toil and pain can procure him some great pleasure. To take a trivial example, which of us ever undertakes laborious physical exercise, except to obtain some advantage from it? But who has any right to find fault with a man who chooses to enjoy a pleasure that has no annoying consequences, or one who avoids a pain that produces no resultant pleasure?

[33] On the other hand, we denounce with righteous indignation and dislike men who are so beguiled and demoralized by the charms of pleasure of the moment, so blinded by desire, that they cannot foresee the pain and trouble that are bound to ensue; and equal blame belongs to those who fail in their duty through weakness of will, which is the same as saying through shrinking from toil and pain. These cases are perfectly simple and easy to distinguish. In a free hour, when our power of choice is untrammeled and when nothing prevents our being able to do what we like best, every pleasure is to be welcomed and every pain avoided. But in certain circumstances and owing to the claims of duty or the obligations of business it will frequently occur that pleasures have to be repudiated and annoyances accepted. The wise man therefore always holds in these matters to this principle of selection: he rejects pleasures to secure other greater pleasures, or else he endures pains to avoid worse.

When  I read this, these words stood out:
"On the other hand, we denounce with righteous indignation and dislike men who are so beguiled and demoralized by the charms of pleasure of the moment, so blinded by desire, that they cannot foresee the pain and trouble that are bound to ensue." 

In other words, if you are offered an appointment to the Supreme Court by Donald Trump, you might be so blinded by desire that you cannot forsee the pain and trouble that are bound to ensue.

Judge Kavanaugh was warned by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse during the hearings in words to this effect, "Judge, I ask you to think seriously about this: being appointed to this position by President Trump could have a profound negative effect on your life." (I don't have a transcript of the hearings but that is what I remember the impact of his words to have been).

Thus, if his life is ruined by the accusations he is facing, Cicero would say he has no one to blame but himself. 


Sunday, September 23, 2018

Fahrenheit 11/9

Last night Katie & Savanna and I went to the movies - to see Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 11/9. The name of the movie is an allusion to both 9/11 and Fahrenheit 451 and refers of course to the date of the election of Donald Trump. Moore doesn't pull any punches. He is very hard on Trump to say the least (e.g., in one sequence Hitler is addressing a rally of Germans but the voice and words are Trump's); but he is also hard on the Democratic Party (e.g., Bernie Sanders carried all 55 counties in the West Virginia Democratic Party Primary in 2016, but at the Democratic Convention the delegation cast a majority of votes for Hillary); on President Obama (for going to Flint, MI and making a point of drinking a glass of water to assure people it was ok when it wasn't); and esp. hard on the  governor of Michigan, for the whole Flint debacle. Basic message - stand up and protest and for God's sake vote!

Fahrenheit 11/9
Savanna did very well - we wheeled her in easily and we had great seats. She is doing well!

Ellen comes back from Maine today. She had a great time at the Common Ground Pair.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Quite a week!

Tonight my head is spinning a bit. The week past has been full of changes. We started out in Shutesbury. I decided to go next week to a Symposium in honor of my former teacher, Markus Barth, which will be held at Princeton Theological Seminary this coming Wed--Fri., and made arrangements to go by public transport, a combination of bus and train. Then Ellen decided she could go to Swarthmore and drop me off and pick me up. So I have a couple of tickets I need to figure out what to do with. Maybe I could make a trip to NYC to see Katie at some point. We went up to Vermont on Tuesday for the opening of River Singers, and went early enough to have soup at the church before the rehearsal. John and Cynthia met us there (they live near-by), and it gave us a chance to see them and talk a bit. John was using a walking-stick to assist his walking because he mysteriously injured his foot - it is very sore and swollen and he has no idea why! I've done things like that too. It's pretty weird when it happens.

We stayed at home Wednesday and started to clean the house in anticipation of company - Phil McKean - who was coming on Thursday and spending a night or two. He and Deborah were coming over from Maine so that she could attend a Mt. Holyoke College reunion of particularly good friends. One of them had graciously agreed to room with her and assist her (Deborah has Alzheimer's), so Phil felt free to have some time away. So we picked up, swept, vacuumed, cleaned, laundered bedclothes - the whole deal. Then we went to Concert Choir rehearsal - which we both enjoyed very much. We like the way our new director, Jonathan Harvey, conducts a rehearsal. But I also learned that someone I had sung with in both the Chorale and the Concert Choir, a soprano, Sharry Manning, had died. This was shocking news because I had no idea she was ill, and she is fairly young. Sobering! About the same time we got an email from Maggie and Jerry that Maggie's cousin, Bob Nilsson, had died in New London, NH. He is son of the famous Aunt Hazel who is still living and is 107 years old (or is it 108?). And on top of that, Maggie, Jerry and Daniel are all driving out for Bob's funeral on Sept. 29th, which is the weekend Katie will be visiting - her visit coming right on the heels of my trip to Princeton!  We'll see how all that works out!

Thursday, I decided not to go to the Common Ground Fair in Maine (this weekend). It just seemed like too much - I feel I need to conserve my energy with all that is happening. I would not feel deprived by not going but Ellen would, so she left early this morning for Maine. Meanwhile, Phil did arrive Thursday at suppertime and we had a lovely meal prepared by Ellen and a very nice visit. I had spent some time getting our propane fireplace heater going again after our summer away. New batteries, lots of tries  and no luck until I called Tech Assist and they walked me through the whole process until I realized I had forgotten to turn one knob a last quarter-turn. Voila! It was nice to have it because the weather has turned "fallish"  and the heat felt good. We talked well into the night and one thing Phil shared, which was quite moving, was a talk he had given at their local church in Maine on the new sense of values and joy he has found in caring for Deborah in her cognitive impairment and loss of memory - a true "living in the now." It has not been easy to come to this new place, he feels, but he realized at some point that "Valuing memory above all else can become idolatrous." I've attached a photo of an article that was in the paper. Over fifty people came to the talk. Deborah was there and I wish I had been there too. At the end of the evening I cleaned up the kitchen and Ellen and I watched the late PBS news. Our country is in sad shape indeed but at the personal level, friendship is strong!

Phil and Deborah McKean at the Common Ground Fair - a few years ago

An article about Phil's talk on Alzheimer's last week

This morning Ellen left early, Phil and I had breakfast together, another good talk, and then, since he wanted to go to W. Hartford, CT to see his grand-nieces in soccer games, he brought me down to Shutesbury to K&S's since it was right on the way. He took a moment to come in and meet Katie and Savanna. He had worked for a decade in fund-raising for the PenBay Hospital where Savanna had her ankle surgery, so they had some things to share. He knew her surgeon - Dr. Rasmussen - who, by the way, took the trouble to call Savanna this week to find out how she was doing. That is unusual!

This afternoon I went to the Smith College Library to look at three books which I had earlier requested be brought out of their Annex (their main Library is under total renovation and the whole biblical collection is in storage. But you can ask for specific items and they will retrieve them for you - in a couple of days). They were interesting, one sufficiently so that I photographed the whole book with my iPod: Isaiah in the New Testament, it is titled, published in 2005 (and so fairly recent). My dissertation is all about Isaiah in Luke. The author of the chapter on Luke in this collection was Dutch and his sources were mostly European and recent, so, not surprisingly, I was not among them.

The first page of the chapter on Isaiah in Luke-Acts

Katie, Savanna, Brendon and I had a lovely supper of chicken stew with dumplings that Katie made, and afterward I cleaned up the kitchen. This has been a clean-up week for me. Fortunately, I actually enjoy it (really!). In a life in which so much that I have done has had unknown or uncertain results, it is gratifying to do something where the results are immediate and pleasing!

The clean kitchen

Sunday, September 16, 2018

A new week

This past week was challenging. Much of the week Savanna was feeling pretty miserable but fortunately by week's end was feeling better. We wanted to make it better but there wasn't much I could do except just be helpful around the house, like doing dishes or running errands. I also prayed a lot.  One day -  Tuesday? - I took Brendon to school in S. Hadley and then spent some time at the Mt. Holyoke College library. Wednesday we had Concert Choir in the evening. I made the decision to attend the Markus Barth Symposium at Princeton in ten days and took a day of making reservations.  Another day Ellen and I went to the CSA farm and picked raspberries and then picked up Brendon after school. That must have been Friday. Saturday, Karen and Brian, friends of K&S, came for supper. Savanna was feeling better by then and came out and sat at the dining table. We had a good time. Krystal and Dan even came by later. Then Ellen and I came up to Vermont Sat. Night so we could go to church in Guilford this morning. That was nice. But then after church the car battery went dead in the Hannaford lot and we had to call AAA. Tonight we're back in Shutesbury. But this coming  week we'll be in Vt more. So progress is being made!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

My teachers

Doing all this work on my doctoral dissertation has gotten me thinking about the people who shaped my work in biblical studies. I have to credit my father for being the one who first stimulated my interest in the Bible. My father had read the Bible through five times before he entered college - a feat he made sure I knew about, and which I did not even come close to matching - but I did begin to read it as an adolescent, and I remember being very surprised by some of the things I found in it (e.g., the story of the daughters of Lot getting him drunk and getting themselves impregnated by him!). I think I knew at an early age that the Bible was a pretty interesting book!

I did not take any courses in Bible in college. I had been advised to use my undergraduate years for the liberal arts and postpone "religious" course work until I was in seminary, so I majored in Sociology and minored in English. Drury College did not offer any courses in Greek and Hebrew - I might have taken them if they had (though I'm not sure about that), and I certainly wished later that I had started my study of them earlier than I did. 

My first course in Bible in seminary was with Old Testament professor J. Coert Rylaarsdam. I was fortunate. He was an outstanding teacher. He opened up the world of the Bible in a way that I found very exciting. I can thank him for introducing me to a very basic tool of biblical study - the "word study." I loved word studies. They require simply a Concordance, a Bible, and a lot of patience. He would assign a word - one I remember was the word "fountain"- and you would look up every occurrence of that word listed in the Concordance and read the verse and its context. There might be scores of occurrences to look up. You would get a sense of the various meanings of the word from its various contexts, then you would organize those into categories and write an essay on the meaning of the word and, if appropriate, how its meaning changed and developed over time. Such an exercise has its limitations, of course,  but I found it fascinating. At that stage I had to do it in English, which was not as fruitful as using Hebrew. That would come later. But even with that limitation, it was revelatory.

J. Coert Rylaarsdam
 When I first went to seminary, I was primarily interested in a field that was called Religion and Personality, which explored the relationship between psychology and theology. I had no thought or intention to become a biblical scholar. I had been very much influenced by the field of religion and psychology through my father's experience of "Clinical Training" at a state mental hospital when I was in high school. It was pretty much dinner table conversation for a good part of my high school years. I then worked as an attendant at that same mental hospital as a college sophomore. But my later experience of Clinical Training the summer of 1955 at Danville State Hospital, PA, was not so positive - primarily because I was very unhappy with the Chaplain who supervised our work. This led me to question my intentions and to switch my major in seminary to New Testament Studies - in an effort to go back to the very roots of my faith. How could I relate Christian faith to psychology if I wasn't sure what Christian faith really was?  That decision brought me into the orbit of Prof. Markus Barth, Professor of New Testament in the Federated Theological Faculty of the University of Chicago.

Markus Barth was the son of the then-famous Swiss theologian, Karl Barth, the primary figure in what was called Neo-Orthodox Theology. Karl Barth is still read today, I am sure, especially in conservative seminaries. But in the 1950s, he was HUGE in ALL seminaries, even Chicago, which had a long-standing liberal tradition. I took two courses with Markus Barth, one on the Sermon on the Mount, and one on Baptism. I had never experienced anything like him. His approach to biblical study was incredibly meticulous and highly doctrinaire. He was a "Barthian" for sure. And for a time, I became one too. I ended up doing my  B.D. thesis under him - "The Spirit in Romans, Chapter Eight." When I read it today, I feel that I am reading the work of another person. But I learned a great deal from Markus Barth, especially his passion for biblical study. He was a kind and gentle teacher. During my final year, my father was ill with a brain tumor, was in a coma in a hospital in Iowa City for three months and died just two months before my graduation, just during the time when I had to be writing my thesis, completing course work and taking exams. I wanted to drop out and help my mother, but my mother urged me to stay and complete my work. Prof. Barth was amazingly understanding and actually gave me a grade for a course that I was not able to complete a paper for, rather than giving me an "Incomplete" and thus postponing my graduation - on the promise that I would write the paper later (which I did). I just learned today that Princeton Seminary is holding a Seminar on the legacy of Markus Barth just a few weeks from now - Sept. 26-29. I might just be able to take in a day of it. That would be quite special for me.

Prof. Markus Barth. He was never without his pipe.
My introduction to biblical languages came in my final year of seminary with a course in Introductory Greek - inspired by my decision to study the New Testament. This was not a course in biblical Greek (Koine Greek), it was a standard introduction to Attic Greek. I soaked it up, and only wished I had started it earlier in life, when my brain would have retained it even more thoroughly. My teacher, Horst Moehring, became a friend. He was the same age as my brother, and was completing a graduate program at the University of Chicago. When I graduated from seminary, he got his Ph.D.and a job at Brown University. He and his wife, Constance, and Shirley and I all drove east together after graduation ceremonies (he and Constance to Providence, RI and Shirley and I to Dummerston, VT where I would become pastor of the church there). That was after supper at a German restaurant in Chicago, after which we drove through the night.  Horst was German, had come to the U.S. to complete his education, and had "met'' his wife initially as a  "pen pal" (an earlier version of We liked them both. Horst would become a very important person in my life - it was he who a few years later suggested that I come to Brown to get a Ph.D., and he arranged a fellowship in the Dept. of Religious Studies there to make that possible. 

Horst Moehring
My study of Greek continued at Brown, with Horst, and Hebrew was added to it. My first year, I was actually studying German, French, Greek and Hebrew simultaneously!  I had to pass exams in all four languages in order to continue in the doctoral program. I did, but it wasn't the best way to learn languages. I never really felt comfortable in any of them. But I was able to use them in at least a basic way.

My Hebrew teacher was Prof. Ernest Frerichs. He was a jovial man, and a good teacher. After learning the basic grammer of Hebrew, I read the book of Amos with him. He died just. a few years ago.

Ernest S. Frerichs was Co-founder of the Religious Studies Department and the Judaic Studies Program at Brown University; also professor, assistant dean of the College and dean of the graduate school across 42-year career at Brown; lectured widely in Hebrew Bible and the history of Biblical Interpretation across England, Europe and the former Soviet Union . . . Noted for such traits as modesty, humility, compassion, and gentleness, his life is best characterized in the title of a festschrift presented to him by friends and colleagues, Hesed ve-Emet (Kindness and Truth). Equally at home in Jewish and Christian circles, he knew no enemy, but gave great encouragement to all, especially those in need, preferring to think of himself as an enabler.

While I was at Brown, a Jewish scholar from England, Dr, Raphael Loewe, came as a Visiting Professor. He was the son of the very well-known Jewish Scholar, Herbert Loewe, of Rabbinic Anthology fame. He too was a very kind and patient teacher. I took a course with him on Targum Song of Songs, reading an un-pointed Aramaic text, line by line. I was way out of my depth, but he was very patient with my stumbling efforts. He was also very supportive of my dissertation, and actually encouraged me to make an article out of an excursus in it which dealt with the issue of the first-century Palestinian Lectionary Cycle, and paved the way for it to be published in The Journal Of Jewish Studies, of which he was an editor! It was my first publication, and it is one of the articles that I have found has been frequently cited by other scholars.

Dr. Raphael Loewe.

 Dr. Loewe died about seven years ago, Here is an excerpt from his obituary: 

"Raphael Loewe, who has died aged 92, was an extraordinary teacher and scholar whose great love was the poetry and philosophy of the Jews of medieval Spain. He often said that he could feel the presence of one of the greatest of those poets, Solomon ibn Gabirol, hovering over his shoulder as he wrote. Raphael's linguistic skills were superb, and he regarded such linguistic facility as an absolute essential – without it, one could not understand the nuances, the alliterations and the associations of medieval poetry or prose. He was working on translations right up until his death."

I'm afraid I never achieved "linguistic facility," much to my regret.

The other professor at Brown in New Testament, alongside Horst Moehring, was William Schoedel, whom I knew as Bill. I had to decide under whom I would write my dissertation. I am sure Horst thought I would do it with him. I liked Horst, but his approach to biblical scholarship was not my style. His field was not biblical studies per se, but the figure of Josephus, the 1st century Jewish historian. Horst had been working for years on a Josephus Concordance - a painstaking listing of every word in Josephus's very large corpus of historical writings.  I had come to Brown because of Horst, but I actually became a closer friend of Bill. My office as a grad student was next to his and we had long conversations. I found his mind more compatible. He and his wife, Grace, also became friends and Shirley and I typically spent every Friday evening with them at their home having pizza and playing Hearts. They had children of an age similar to our Betsey and John. So that relationship blossomed and the one with Horst and Constance didn't end, but it faded a bit. In the end I chose to do my dissertation with Bill. His field was also not New Testament per se. It was Early Church, specifically the Apostolic Fathers, a field he has published in prolifically. Initially, he steered me toward doing something closer to his specialty. As I recall he suggested I do a translation and analysis of Origen's Commentary on Romans. That seemed beyond my depth linguistically and also was not of great interest to me. So he left me free to choose (thank you, Bill! I know many thesis advisors who would not have been so flexible).  I settled on The Old Testament Quotations in the Gospel of John.   I think Krister Stendahl's study of the OT quotations in the Gospel of Matthew, titled The School of St. Matthew, had just come out and had created quite a stir. No one had done a similar thing with John. So I set to work on that and about four-five months into it, I learned that in fact someone had done it - Edwin Freed at Harvard. A fellow-student had happened upon the Freed dissertation when he was doing his own research and let me know. I read it, as did Bill, and that was that. We had to drop John. About that time I happened to run into Markus Barth, purely by chance, at the Dartmouth Library during the summer. I had not seen him or been in touch for seven or eight years. When I told him what I was up to, he suggested I consider doing the Old Testament in the Gospel of Luke. Luke is very different from John in many ways, and not least in the way it has used and interpreted the Old Testament. It was way too big a topic. I don't remember if Markus Barth suggested this, but we decided to focus on one very important quotation, Isaiah 61.1-2, in Luke 4.16. That might seem like an incredibly narrow topic, but we sensed that it wasn't. That quotation, made by Jesus at his inaugural sermon at Nazareth, was in effect the Prologue to the entire Gospel, and thus would reach out in as yet unknown ways. It proved to be a fortuitous choice. I didn't know where it would lead when I started out, but I ended up convinced that Luke, far from being a Gentile stranger to the Jewish faith, was in fact a kind of rabbi himself, and an expert in the Jewish technique of midrashic exegesis. That was a break-through, and it put me on the ground floor of what would become a burgeoning field of Lukan study. Which is why I now have an almost seven-page long list of books and articles that have cited my dissertation, and it is still growing. Talk about lucky!

Bill Schoedel and me at my Brown commencement in 1966

Monday, September 10, 2018

Our weekend

Saturday, we drove back to Dummerston, changed clothes, and went to a memorial service for Janet Schwartz where Hallowell sang. It was a lovely service, and people seemed to really enjoy our singing. Afterward, we drove to Northampton  to spend some time with Max and Tamar, who were alone while their parents were enjoying a weekend on Martha's Vineyard. We got caught up on Max's summer school at Harvard. I had been under the misapprehension that it was a program just for high school students, but no - it was regular undergraduate work. Max took two courses, in Physics and Astral Biology! He was fascinated especially by the latter. It was about forms of life in outer space. Gosh, what an opportunity! Max said he "loves to learn." After talking a bit we went out to eat at a stand near the old Hilltown school and then to Harrell's for ice cream. A nice time. Then we came home. It was cold! We had to pile on the blankets!

Sunday morning, I led choir at the Dummerston church. That went well. The  choir was small but sang well. We sang GRATITUDE,  an old shape note hymn - one of my favorites. There was a particularly nice coffee hour which was actually an ample lunch. Ellen and Nancy Tierra had a chance to catch up after our summer away. Then we got the NYTimes, settled into bed, got warm, and did the Spelling Bee puzzle. Ellen was a "genius" plus and I was between excellent and genius, my usual place. We love that puzzle! 

After a lovely supper of fish sticks and fresh veggies from Walker's, we drove back to Shutesbury and ended the day listening to Red Sox baseball with Savanna. The Sox pulled out a 6-5 "walk-off" win over the Houston Astros in the bottom of the ninth. 

The other big news is that last week, John and Cynthia put a great deal of time and effort into researching a new car - driving great distances in the heat (yes, it was beastly hot and humid before the current cold wave), and ended up getting a low-mileage 2015 Honda Fit. A used car is always a gamble. Here's hoping it works out well. I look forward to seeing it

A 2015 Honda Fit. Not sure what color J&C's is. We'll see!

And now it's Monday. What will happen today?

Friday, September 7, 2018

Anna Maria College

Today, I made a little trip to Anna Maria College in Paxton, MA, about a 45-minute drive from Shutesbury. It is a small, Roman Catholic College, and had some books and periodicals in its library I could not find in the Five College Catalogue. Roman Catholics seem to like my work. I think one reason for that is that my dissertation opened up the idea of table fellowship between Jews and Gentiles in the early church, and this relates to Roman Catholic interest in Eucharistic theology. In any case, I found several books there that I had not previously been aware of, that cited my work. So that was a productive trip.

I had hoped Ellen could come too, but she needed to stay at K&S's to help out because Savanna went to the M.D.s' today because she has been very uncomfortable in a number of ways not directly related to her ankle. She seems to be resting a bit more comfortably now. Tye is here, and has been helping out a bit too. Katie and Brendon have gone off to a camp-out in the backyard of First Church's minister, Vickie. Katie is in charge of music. She and Brendon will spend the night in a tent. We'll be here tonight and then go up to Brattleboro tomorrow for a Hallowell event and then stay at home tomorrow night so as to be able to go to church at Dummerston Sunday where I will lead choir.

Earlier this week I made a foray into the UMass campus to visit the W. E. B. DuBois Library - a 24-story building. But even with all those floors of books, its holdings related to the gospel of Luke were sort of pathetic - both small and old. So I found virtually nothing of interest there. But that day was dominated not by the library, but by the fact that I had a flat tire on campus. I had to pull over into a bus-stop and get out the spare. I have AAA coverage, but I did not have the cell phone with me, so it was useless. However, a UMass undergrad stopped and asked if I needed help and I said "yes." He ended up doing most of the work very cheerfully. So I went to the library (a twenty-minute walk!) for a bit - didn't need to stay long since so little was there - and then went looking for a tire place. I found Hadley Tire, and discovered the tire was shot and since I have all-wheel drive, needed four new tires. At least I allowed myself to be convinced of that. I tend to do the max because of our frequent long road trips. I don't want to have car trouble somewhere in the middle of nowhere in Kansas.

The Library at Anna Maria College