So, which translation of Dante’s Inferno is best?

Further specification: for practical use in an undergraduate class.

If we have time, maybe we could also discuss why on earth a new translation of Dante seems to come out approximately every two months.

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A humble request

If you have read one or more of our books, please consider writing a review on Amazon (links to US and UK site are given on the linked page for each publication). The more reviews we have, the higher we will turn up in search results, and the more likely people are to actually purchase the book when they are browsing.

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Crowdsouring request: Let there be light!

Dearest readers, I need to compile a list of notable passages from the Hebrew Bible and New Testament that use imagery involving light for a project I’m working on. It would also be helpful if you knew of exemplary commentary on said passages from the rabbinic or patristic literature.

I’ll start the list: John 1.

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Virtual bulletin board for Syracuse conference

A reader e-mailed asking if I could put him in contact with potential roommates for the Syracuse conference, as the conference organizers were unwilling to take up such matters. It seemed best to me to provide an open thread where people can make contact and coordinate with each other — so have at it, and feel free to pass along the existence of this post if you know of others who might be interested.

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Middlesex Petition

The petition to save the Middlesex philosophy department is tantalizingly close to its goal of 10,000 signatures — please take a moment to sign if you haven’t already. (Other bloggers are encouraged to post this as well.)

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Further Crowdsourcing

Michael Pacher, "St. Wolfgang and the Devil"

I have been putting off mentioning this for fear of outrunning the big Other and getting burned, but T&T Clark has offered me a book contract for a revised version of my dissertation, under the title Politics of Redemption: The Social Logic of Salvation.

I am breaking my silence because my editor has asked me about a potential cover image, and I need help. Everyone agrees that something featuring the devil is absolutely essential, and I’m thinking there must be some medieval painting that would capture the spirit of my project in some oblique way. Anthony suggested the image above, which he got from this post, but I think it might be a little “much.”

I’m not sure I necessarily want something with the cross on it, though I’m not 100% sold on its absence — perhaps something like a “temptation in the desert” scene? Or maybe — and this is actually a good idea that I just suddenly thought of — something that juxtaposes the temptation of Adam and Eve with the temptation of Christ? Basically, anything that could include Adam, Christ, and the Devil would be totally perfect.

Bibliographical Assistance Requested

Dearest readers, I still have considerable work left to do on my translation of Agamben’s The Sacrament of Language, but I am getting to the point where I can faintly detect the end of the tunnel. One thing that would help me confirm that the light is not the proverbial train would be if any of you had access to any of the following articles, for which either my research skills or my institutional affiliation has proven inadequate, in an electronically-transmissable form:

  1. Benveniste, É., “L’expression du serment dans la Grèce ancienne,” in Revue de l’histoire des religions (1948): 81-94.
  2. Bollack, J., “Styx et serments,” in Revue des études grecques 71 (1958): 1-35. [I only need pages 30 and 31.]
  3. Faraone, C.A., “Curses and Blessings in Ancient Greek Oaths,” in Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions 5 (2006): 140-158.

  4. Thomas, Y., “Corpus aut ossa aut cineres. La chose religieuse et le commerce,” in Micrologus 7 (1999). [I only need page 74.]
  5. Ziebarth, E., “Der Fluch im griechischen Recht,” in Hermes 30 (1895): 57-70.

The Benveniste article is the most important. If you know of any translations of any of these articles (if applicable), electronically transmissable to me or not, that would also be a godsend.

Thank you in advance for your assistance.

UPDATE: Thanks to everyone who’s helped with the three articles crossed off. Since it’s looking as though some type of physical scan may be necessary for the remaining two, I’ve added the page numbers I need, if anyone is feeling so led.

UPDATE 2: Thanks again to everyone — I’ve got all the articles I need at this point. The response has really been amazing. I’m very grateful.

Absolutely valueless?

If anyone can discern any value or insight in Ross Douthat’s latest column, please let me know in comments — because I can’t.

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Reference help

Does anyone remember where Agamben calls Christianity (or maybe Roman Catholicism in particular) “the bureaucracy of grace”?

I don’t think I’m hallucinating it or creating my own more clever version of something Agamben said, but I guess either is possible. I thought it was in Means without Ends, but I couldn’t find it last time I looked.

The Grandeur of Reason

Dave Belcher has put together a panel for the above-named conference in Rome, featuring Jodi L. A. Belcher, Peter M. Candler, Jr., Joshua B. Davis, Craig Keen, and John Milbank, with Dave as moderator. His summary of the panel is as follows:

I propose a panel discussion that will explore themes of Scripture and Reason, specifically as these appear in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. The discussion is indebted to and will attempt to explore further the following literature: Stanislas Breton’s essay, The Word and the Cross, but also Michel de Certeau’s The Mystic Fable, and various writings of St. John of the Cross on foolishness. Paul in 1 Corinthians 1-3 offers a potent message on the intersection of the wisdom of this world and the wisdom of God — the latter of which wisdom, he says, God chose to reveal through the foolishness of the cross to shame the wisdom of the rulers of this age; this is the very power of the proclamation of the Word. Throughout, Paul is disparaging the divisions spurring up within the church (which are grounded in the wisdom of the world). All of those divisions are broken by the foolishness of the cross, and thus the unity of the body has its sole foundation in Christ and him crucified. Paul lays this foundation, plants this seed, even while Apollos waters the seed. A panel discussion on Paul’s reflections is proposed, in order to explore the following themes: the relation between the wisdom of this world and the wisdom of God; the wisdom of God as the folly of the cross; the relation between Paul and Apollos on wisdom (or reason); the wisdom of this world as the stronghold of the “powers” of the world — and concomitantly how the foolishness of the cross breaks that wisdom and those powers; and faith and reason in Paul.

I think this should be a great panel, and especially important amid the general atmosphere of “rehellenizing Christianity,” etc. There is one small problem, however: putting together the money to get him, Jodi, and Josh to Rome. If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation (seriously — the Church of the Nazarene is helping to finance it, and you can donate through them), instructions can be found at Dave’s post.


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