Daily Archives: July 13, 2008

“That Powerful Instrument of Error and Deceit”: John Locke on the Dark, Spell-Casting Art of Rhetoric—and What It Means for Us Today

Rhetoric, the art of persuasion, is like alcohol. It can be used responsibly, but too frequently it’s not, and so it has a dodgy reputation, and deservedly so. It shows up in too many places that you wouldn’t want to … Continue reading

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The Unbearable Oddness of Being: A Curious Image Juxtaposed with Some Lines from a 1974 Margaret Atwood Poem

  Shall I tell you the secret and if I do, will you get me out of this bird suit?   I don’t enjoy it here squatting on this island looking picturesque and mythical            –Margaret Atwood (from “Siren … Continue reading

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Miracle, Mystery, and Authority?: Reinhold Niebuhr, Cognitive Dissonance, and The Problem of Evil

Reinhold Niebuhr is a profound and subtle Christian theologian and philosopher, but I notice that he is often too satisfied, whenever he reaches a logical impasse, such as in confronting the thorny problem of why there is evil in the … Continue reading

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Mesopotamia’s Hillary Clinton: Bold and Cunning Ninsun, Gilgamesh’s Strong-Willed Mother, Argued with Her God, Manipulated Enkidu, Protected Her Son in His Going to War, and Got What She Wanted

How did ancient Mesopotamian women deal with their boys going off to war? Part 2 of the Gilgamesh Epic may give us some clues. Here we are introduced to Ninsun, Gilgamesh’s strong-willed mother. Ninsun systematically, and with a great deal of … Continue reading

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