Monthly Archives: July 2013

Art History Resource at Princeton

Thanks to Genevra Kornbluth of Kornbluth Photography for posting this to the Mediev-L discussion group.

Princeton University has started electronically publishing the proceedings from Art History Conferences. Art History is one of those aspects of historical study which is extremely important and which I am woefully uninformed about, though I have hopes of correcting this, someday. As of now there are two conference proceedings up but I expect this will change in the future. Some proceedings are in the form of papers while others are PDF’s of powerpoint presentations, complete with images.

Here’s the link: Index of Christian Art online at Princeton University

Happy reading!

I still need to put up an Irenaeus post but am having trouble finding the 6 hours or so it’ll take me to put it together. I’m behind at work again, which I didn’t realize until this past week. But it is coming.


Posted by on July 27, 2013 in Resources


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Clement of Alexandria – Gesundheit

As I continue on my Early Christianity Reading Journey, I’m currently in the middle of reading Clement of Alexandria, who lived from about 150-215. A portion of his Paedagogus or Instructor is concerned with providing guidance on how Christians should live their lives and conduct their affairs. While there are one or two items of note, for the most part this resembles other similar sources. Christians should live modestly, not get drunk, not be gluttons and I’m sure parts I haven’t read yet will include advice on not becoming angry, lustful, etc. This is all pretty standard. I’ve read quite a few of these but I’ve never come across a passage such as this one which I enjoyed so much I thought I’d share it with you.

If any one is attacked with sneezing, just as in the case of the hiccup, he must not startle those near him with the explosion, and so give proof of his bad breeding; but the hiccup is to be quietly transmitted with the expiration of the breath, the mouth being composed becomingly, and not gaping and yawning like the tragic masks. So the disturbance of the hiccup may be avoided by making the respirations gently; for thus the threatening symptoms of the ball of wind will be dissipated in the most seemly way, by managing its egress so as also to conceal anything which the air forcible expelled may bring up with it. To wish to add to the noises, instead of diminishing them, is the sign of arrogance and disorderliness. Those, too, who scrape their teeth, bleeding the wounds, are disagreeable to themselves and detestable to their neighbors. Scratching the ears and the irritation of sneezing are swinish itchings and attend unbridled fornication. Both shameful sights and shameful conversation about them are to be shunned. Let the look be steady and the turning and movement of the neck, and the motions of the hands in conversation, be decorous. In a word, the Christian is characterized by composure, tranquility, calmness, and peace. 1


Going through this kind of stuff in sources can be sort of tedious. I’ve read quite a few similar “life guidance” documents and sometimes I have a hard time keeping my focus so I can detect some interesting differences. For example, in Instructor I.6 there’s a passage that at least hints of Adoptionism. 2 I can’t just skim Clement’s material(over 400 pages of text) and expect to find things like this. So the above passage, seemingly coming from out of nowhere (this particular chapter is mainly concerned with Christians living as a community and how they should behave towards one another) was a much appreciated break from the usual narrative, though I’m sure Clement didn’t intend it to be read for this reason. And I have no idea what the whole scraping teeth/bleeding wounds thing is. Sounds a bit gross. And then there’s finding out that scratching your ears and sneezing used to be part of the horizontal hokey-pokey. 3 But I appreciated being hauled out of a late 2nd century Christian Living Handbook and straight into a Miss Manners column. I don’t know if Clement has any more little tidbits like this in store but looking for them will help the next 300 pages pass by a little more quickly.

1 Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor II.7

2 Clement discusses Christ becoming perfected at his baptism, at the same time as God spoke to those gathered there, in terms that sure seem Adoptionist to me. Adoptionism is the Christian belief, considered heretical, that Jesus was a man who became a vessel for the Word of God or the Holy Spirit, being adopted by God as the place to send his son.

3 Before anyone jumps in to comment (though I enjoy comments); yes, I know Clement’s just saying if you can’t resist the urge to scratch it indicates you’ll likely have trouble avoiding other urges.

Roberts, Alexander & Donaldson, James, eds., Ante-Nicene Fathers Volume 2: Fathers of the Second Century: Hermas, Tatian, Athenagoras, Theophilus, and Clement of Alexandria (entire), Peabody, MA, USA: Hendrickson Publishers (2004). ISBN: 1-56563-084-X.


Posted by on July 13, 2013 in Religion


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Chronicle of Michael the Syrian

Just a quick repost of something Roger Pearse just put up on his site.

The Chronicle of Michael the Syrian is now available in English, online. Previously it has been available in French and excerpts have been translated into English but this will expand its availability to a bunch of new people, including me. It includes a PDF available for download.

Michael the Syrian was the Patriarch of the Syrian Church from 1166-1199 and this is the largest chronicle written in the Middle Ages, originally in Armenian. What’s really good is it includes portions of other chronicles and histories which have since been lost. He provides a contemporary view of the history of the world as it ranges from Adam to events current in his day. Obviously I haven’t read it but it should be very interesting.

Thanks to Robert Bedrosian for providing this translation. It’s a boon to mankind. Or at least to those of us who enjoy reading such things.


Posted by on July 12, 2013 in Resources


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This Always Troubles Me

In addition to history, I’m something of a stats geek. I like to see who’s reading this blog, where they come from, and how they got here. One issue (pretty much the only one) I have with my move to WordPress is that for this separate stats site I use, StatCounter, not as much information is displayed as with Blogger. But there’s still enough to figure some things out.

Today when I went to my stats page I noticed that my review of Romans, Barbarians and the Transformation of the Roman World by Ralph Mathisen and Danuta Shanzer, eds., had received several hits. Cool. Then I looked at search terms used to find this blog.

free essay on transformation on roman and the barbarians
free essay paper on transformation on romans and the barbarians
romans transformation to the barbarian
essay on transformation on the romans and barbarian brothers

In going to StatsCounter I found that all of my pageviews for this review came from a single IP address originating from Sanford, North Carolina. Someone’s looking for a free essay online. I love seeing such commitment to learning, it gives me hope for the future (this was sarcasm in case it didn’t come through).

I suppose I should be used to it. It’s less prevalent than when I was on Blogger but ever since I wrote it my A World Lit Only by Fire review has been the most popular post on this blog. But at least on WP it’s about 5% of my hits, not over 20%. And even though a lot of those searches include things like “sparknotes” in the title, what’s in the review likely won’t be of much help to AP history students. After all, Advanced Placement thinks it’s a viable source.

Romans, Barbarians and the Transformation of the Roman World is a bit different. The review’s pretty lengthy, detailed (over 2300 words) and some of it might actually be worth stealing. Of course it’s also a book worth reading so if it’s for high school at least they’ve raised the quality of what’s being referenced. But I have a sneaking suspicion this may come from the local Community College.

So, if the person who used those search terms happens to come across this, here’s some free advice:


It’s a pretty good one.


Posted by on July 7, 2013 in Blogology


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Book Buying III

I’ve been good lately. The only books I’ve bought over the past couple of months were from Notre Dame University Press’s Overstock Sale. Part of the reason is that I’ve been very busy at work and haven’t had the chance to read much lately. If you want to know more about what’s taken up most of my recent time you can take a look at this post from my work blog. This activity, along with a new national working group that developed out of an Agrosecurity Conference I was involved with, was a major contributor to my absence from Kalamazoo this year.

So, partly in honor of all of you who are currently surrounded by all those books at Leeds (if I ever attend I’ll need to very carefully check out international shipping rates) and even more because it’s a US holiday and I have time, I decided to spend some money.

As usual, nothing ever goes quite according to plan. I’d bought a few books and decided to check my e-mail – I check my home e-mail rarely, usually only on weekends. In it was an announcement of Oxford University Press’s Summer Sale. You can guess what happened then.

Once the keyboard quit smoking I’d done the following damage (I’m not giving full citations here):

  • Ayres, Lewis, Nicaea and Its Legacy: An Approach to Fourth-Century Trinitarian Theology

  • Connolly, Hugh, Didascalia Apostolorum. There’s a Brepols edition of this by Alistair Stewart-Sykes which looks like it offers superior commentary but it’s also 4 times the price.

  • Hunt, Emily, Christianity in the Second Century: The Case of Tatian

  • Moreira, Isabel, Heaven’s Purge: Purgatory in Late Antiquity

  • Morgan, Gwyn, 69 A.D.: The Year of Four Emperors

  • Osiek, Carolyn, A Woman’s Place: House Churches In Earliest Christianity

  • Parvis, Sara, Irenaeus: Life, Scripture, Legacy

  • Peters, F.E., Jesus and Muhammad: Parallel Tracks, Parallel Lives

The danger’s not entirely over. I have an e-mail from David Brown(Oxbow) books about new book bargains. I haven’t clicked on the link yet. I suppose that compared with what I usually pull off at Kalamazoo this is pretty mild.

Hopefully a post on Irenaeus is forthcoming. I’ve started it but am struggling with keeping it to a reasonable length.

EDIT: Guess I should have waited to post this. Anyway, I added four more from David Brown.

  • Elliott, J.K., The Apocryphal Jesus: Legends of the Early Church

  • Otto of Freising, Charles Mierow, trans., The Two Cities

  • Pestell, Tim, Landscapes of Monastic Foundation: The Establishment of Religious Houses in East Anglia, c.650-1200

  • Wilson, Stephen, Leaving the Fold: Apostates and Defectors in Antiquity

I think I’m calling it a day, at least for buying books.

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Posted by on July 4, 2013 in Books


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