The Arc Blog and Podcasts

Recording of Milton’s De Doctrina Christiana

[embed]https://youtu.be/6xdCQ4GwW5w[/embed] 23 October 2019 In connection with the publication of Milton's Scriptural Theology. Confronting De Doctrina Christiana, I have been recording Milton's opening address to readers (the "epistle"). It is heard in its Latin, so that as with Paradise Lost we can hear an approximation to Milton's own voicing, as he dictated to a scribe and heard it read back. The particular "connection" with my book is that its first chapter analyses the opening address to readers, for its style and tone of voice, which rise to vehemence and impassioned appeal for a hearing. You might not guess this from reading silently, still less from reading English translations!...

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Collecting Light: Q&A with Bill Endres

28 September 2019 How do you digitize the complex materiality of a medieval manuscript? With features such as layered pigments, what happens to a manuscript’s intricate play of light? What excesses are possible, that is, how can digital technologies extend our knowing beyond human senses? Bill Endres explores these questions in his new book, Digitizing Medieval Manuscripts: The St Chad Gospels, Materiality, Recoveries, and Representation in 2D & 3D. The book is a culmination of years of digital imaging in which Endres applied a range of advanced imaging techniques and devises new approaches to explore and present the eighth-century St...

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A Slow-Food Approach to Touring Rome & Understanding its Culture and History

A Q&A with Peter Hatlie, Author and Editor of People and Places of the Rome Past: the Educated Traveller’s Guide 26 September 2019 Any experienced traveler knows the anticipation and thrill of exploring a new city.  And the greater the city—take Rome, for example, one of the world’s premier tourist attractions anywhere—the greater the chance for an amazing, even life-changing experience.  But how to get the most out your visit to Rome?  This book has an answer to that question that is different from that of hundreds of other travel books and thousands of travel agencies.  Our recommendation is: Take it...

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Confronting John Milton: How and Why?

30 August 2019 In this further blog arising from my new study of Milton’s Christian Doctrine, I’m reflecting how I came to write it, as reflections on the purpose and meaning of this kind of research. See also my other blogposts: Q&A on Milton’s Scriptural Theology and A Cover You Won’t Soon Forget. Till just before I finished my BA at Oxford (1957-61), my working mind was fully occupied by Greek and Latin, and their history and philosophy. These demanded full attention, in vacations too, the way I was being educated! Then it occurred to me that “work” and “working life” had other...

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A Cover You Won’t Soon Forget

 15 August 2019 The cover’s Latin words and phrases are chosen equally from Milton’s topics and from his personal style in examining them.  Its prevailing monochrome is chosen to suggest print, and bibles, and academic and clerical garb, or the pen and ink of a controversial manuscript.  Polemic is suggested in the lineation, by jagged diagonals, tilting and crisscrossing.  Individual words are chosen for prominent topics, for individual aptness or for typical style and reasoning: Haeresis: In Greek, hairesis meant simply “choice,” as you find it used in Aristotle’s Ethics, for example. But in New Testament Greek it was producing the adjective, hairetikos, “heretical” (choosy, picking and choosing, by willful wrong-headedness). Milton...

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What does Medieval Podillya, an Unknown Multicultural Frontier in the East of Europe, Tell the World Today?

 16 August 2019 In the mid-fourteenth century, expansion of Europe eastward to lands where no one had any idea of “Europe” seemed inconceivable. However, a bizarre endeavour of Lithuanian princes, who had themselves just recently become Christians, managed to move the European frontier into territories that belonged to nomadic peoples. This expansion created a new historical region called Podillya. It was a remote land on the edge of Medieval Europe, where contested territories regularly turned into a battleground. Today it is part of Ukraine. In this very place, then and now. we can observe how European values struggled to embed...

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Q&A on Milton’s Scriptural Theology

Why did Milton write De Doctrina Christiana? He didn’t. He dictated it, being blind. Then how do you know he composed it? His name is on the MS, which survives. Views expressed, such as on Predestination or Divorce or Tithing, match Milton’s views expressed elsewhere. His prodigious skills in the biblical languages match those of his other prose works. So all the more, why did he undertake this enormous task? Irritation, he says, with the mistakes and bad logic of other theologians; for only the Bible can be trusted as evidence for safe belief, and he will now assemble what...

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Plagues Past, Paths Forward

July 29, 2019 Just about this time five years ago, I was finishing up what had been an extraordinary adventure. I had spent the year at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, ostensibly to work on the impact Arabic medicine had had on 11th- and 12th-century Europe. I made good headway on that project, discovering at least a dozen new manuscripts, “cracking the code” on several key developments in intellectual history, and finally putting a human face on my key protagonist, the immigrant Tunisian monk, Constantine the African. But at the opening reception for Visiting Members in September 2013,...

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Elite Byzantine Kinship

By the end of the twelfth century, Byzantine aristocratic families looked in many ways like the more familiar noble lineages of Western Europe. Marked by a surname and a strong sense of collective identity, these families both dominated imperial politics and developed a distinct system of cultural values and social hierarchy. Within this system, the genose merged as the cornerstone of aristocratic self-awareness and factional politics. The Byzantine aristocratic genos (γένος, pl. γένη/genē)is alternately treated by modern scholars as a western European-style lineage, some kind of nebulous “clan,” or is simply left untranslated. Most scholars have viewed it as a kind...

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The Who, Where, When and Why of The Vikings

It is almost a thousand years since the Viking Age ended, and yet the exploits of the so-called Vikings, malevolent or otherwise, continue to figure in the popular and academic imaginations. Indeed, the ‘Nordic hoards’ might be said to hold a similar fascination – albeit with different characteristics – as the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and the Romans. In a concise book written to be accessible to interested laypeople, students and academics seeking a route into current perspectives, our survey analyses Viking religion, economic life and material culture in and beyond the Scandic homelands. Although there is a conventional Viking Age...

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