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Showing posts from August, 2020

Mary as Stumbling Block—Holy Smokes!

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Thanks to Dustin Quick for having me on his new podcast to talk about Mary ! Holy Smokes: Cigars, Catholicism, and Conversation Episode 5 Part 1 Dr Rachel Fulton Brown joins me to talk about “ Mary as Stumbling Block .” Why is the Virgin Mary so important? How were ancient and Medieval Christians able to find Mary in the Old Testament, as they did with Christ; and how do those views stand in contrast to some of the more hostile, modern views of her?   Make sure you stay tuned for Part 2, where we will go into greater detail about the link between Temple Theology and Catholic Mariology!   Happy Feast of the Queenship/Immaculate Heart of Mary! Most Holy Theotokos, save us! For a complete list of my video, radio, and podcast appearances, see Bear On Air .

Dunciad 2020

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Now that we’ve mastered the basics of iambic pentameter , the Telegram Dragons are attempting something epic: a satire in heroic couplets inspired by Alexander Pope, the Gawain poet, and Edmund Spenser about the weaselly ways of today’s cuckcentrics.  A banquet rich for donors great and small the Goddess Fama to St. Louis called to speak in clever phrases, easy rhymes as up the ladder social grubbers climb. —“The Centrism Games,” Dragon Common Room , stanza 2 (draft) * Alexander Pope (1688-1744) was not happy. For years he had labored to craft polished pentameters in English, astonishing the reading public of the early eighteenth century with the precision of his meter and rhyme. “A little learning is a dang’rous thing,” he warned them in his precocious “An Essay on Criticism” (1711). “Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring. / There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,  / And drinking largely sobers us again.”  But none of his contemporaries (in P

The Forge of Tolkien

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I first read The Lord of the Rings  when I was eleven. My mother gave me the boxed set (see above) for Christmas, and I read all four books in one trip to our grandparents’ house by New Year’s. Imagine my 11-year-old self struggling with the hobbits across Middle-earth as my mother drove us across the middle of America from Kentucky to Texas (and back again), and you will get some sense of the effect that it had on me. Of all the things that drew me to become a medieval historian, reading (and re-reading, and re-reading, and re-reading) Tolkien is at the top of the list, although it took me decades to admit it. Tolkien lived in my imagination somewhere between stories I remembered reading as a child and my first (magical) visit to England with a school trip in high school—not really real, certainly not the stuff of serious scholarship. Latin and Chartres drew me to study the history of medieval Christianity, not elves, hobbits and dwarves. Or so I told myself. And then Pet