Saturday, June 10, 2017

Dashed Off XII

restoration with sublation as the unified response of healthy tradition to deformations of tradition (redemption and transfiguration in sacred Tradition)

key principles of formalized iconography
(1) indentifiability by intellect
(2) definite representation
(3) purified form (removal of anything inappropriate)
- spontaneous devotional iconography may violate strict application of principles, sticking to the spirit rather than the letter
- causation : definite representation :: remotion :purified form :: eminence : intellectual identification

the principle of progressive solemnity applied to iconography

Part of the point of argument is to build shared reasoning.
the withwardness of reason

A dangerous feature of modern life that infects the 'liturgy wars' is the temptation of thinking that if you just find the Magical Method, all things will automatically fall into place; for all sides in the 'liturgy wars' tend often to treat liturgy as method.

incoherent plausibilities as a contributor to discovery (development of aporia)

universalism // indifferentism

The Church is as it already was, and it is what it already was. It is its past, not only in that its past pushes along behind it, and that the Church possesses what is past as something present-at-hand and effective, but also that hte Church has grown up in a traditional way of interpreting and understanding itself, and by this understanding its possibilities are disclosed and regulated.

It is an error to treat tradition and its primordial sources as opposed.

signs as gear (Heidegger)

Vestments are both signs and gear, but they involve the notion of carrying so as to express a being-related to the world.

the traditionary character of clothing practice

the analogy between vestment and office or role (complicated by vestment also, and because of this, being an instrument of office -- role gear)
- uniforms are standardized role-gear

the aroundness of clothing vs the aroundness of environs

As role-gear, clothing differs from characteristic tools by being not merely carried (like a hammer in the hand) but in some sense carrying itself in being carried. We carry our clothes in wearing them by arranging them so that they do the carrying (hanging, buttoning and fastening, tying, conforming).

the protecting and displaying functions of garments
- the displaying function has an interesting relation to the hiding subfunction of protecting
- the protecting function may be moral as well as physical

the analogies between garment and home (note turtles and snails and hermit crabs here)

The being of the Church Militant is the Passion of Christ; its traditionary sojourn through the world is its fulfillment by the Passion.

Kant's refutation of idealism as a sort of ontological argument (Heidegger)

analogy between knowing causal power | knowing external world
sensation | sensation
one's own volition | analogy to violation
endeavor | resistance
volition of God | occasion
regularity | coherence
readiness to act | readiness to appear

Sacramental vocation is the vocation of Christ's Passion.
sacramental vocation as anticipatory martyrdom

the Church's mode of unwellness (uneasiness in the world, queasiness at the world)
the mood of drudging

The fortitude of the Church: its founded-on-the-Rock-ness; the prudence: its helped-by-the-Spirit-of-Truth-ness; the justice: its many-members-in-one-Body-ness; the temperance: its chasteness-as-the-Bride-of-the-Lamb-ness.

The cultural goods of the Church as material for the disclosure of the Church as it has been.

The Church is based on Tradition, and its calendarizing of its worship is a way of making accessible the Tradition within which it works. but the Church works with many calendars, as it were spreading out and shifting around within this Tradition.

the calendar of saints as providing a rough sketch of the content of Tradition

hylomorphism of ideas and means of production

Imagination is naturally eclectic.

Even a stupid man's traditions have a sort of dignity.

methods of seeking the right vantage for problem-solving.

forms of promulgation: creation, command, shared practice

Peirce's 3 conditions for the existence of a sign (MS 221)
(1) characters distinguishing it from other objects
(2) must be causally linked to its object in some way
(3) address to the mind such as to relate the mind to the object

distinction, principiation, manifestation

nouns as less sparse pronouns

as-if-it-were as a modal operator

Our world is such that it works in several ways as if it were a world in which a detective named Sherlock Holmes lived on Baker Street and vanquished Moriarty at Reichenbach Falls. (Our world is such that it also works in several ways as if it were a world in which a general named Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon, and was slain by Brutus and others.) It isalso such that it works in several ways as if there were no such detective at all. This has to be stronger than mere consistency, but of course much weaker than requirement, or even apparent requirement.

Our capacity to invent fictions arises naturally from our ability to inquire into things.

inquiry as a process of story-making

fictional characters // geometrical diagrams // arithmetical calculations // sentence formations

primary reference, collateral reference, qua-reference

objects of thought as proximate ends of means to the remote ends of truth

The orthopraxy relevant to the liturgy consists of acts of faith, hope, and love.

goodness of inquiry in terms of results, of coherence of inquiry, of contribution to understanding

the maximizing of what tends to solve intellectual problems

∃xFx Allow F's
∀xFx Do not allow non-F's (Allow only F's)

cast from Eden -> long period of rebellious wandering -> judgment -> covenant
liberation from slavery in Egypt -> long period of rebellious wandering with judgment -> covenant

"When we speak of Christ's priesthood, what else do we mean than the incarnation?" Fulgentius
"For it is in him that our human nature becomes a redemptive offering."

convalidation of reference

black holes as supertask-like

aesthetics and the splendor of ethics

the principle of overflow (redundantia) in fine arts

being with a work of art
works of art as presenting th eworld to us
works of art and the salience of space and time
the quasi-vocative characters of certain works of art

From the craving of the world springs impatience and cruelty, jealousy and conceit and self-exaltation, boorishness and selfishness and irritability, retaliation and self-indulgence and lie, despair, and, in the end, death.

Patience is required for the full fructification of love.

causation, remotion, and eminence in interpretation of Scripture

one : prudence :: holy : justice :: catholic : temperance :: apostolic : fortitude

"Our pilgrimage on earth cannot be exempt from trial. We progress by means of trial. No one knows himself except through trial, or receives a crown except after victory, or strives except against an enemy or temptation." Augustine

The body of the Church is a picture of the Spirit.

'straw man' requires that are determine
(1) the structure of A
(2) the structure of B
(3) an end in light of which A is not adequate to represent B

Straw man and idealization are both based on one argument/position representing or modeling another.

straw man as a case of defective type (relative to archetype)
fallacies and defective causes in inquiry

examination of inquiry // examination of conscience
- inquiry : true :: conscience : good
- things fatal to inquiry:
distraction from inquiry
despair of inquiry
distortion of inquiry (wrath, envy, pride)

the moral discipline implicit in inquiry

Poem a Day 10

Lovers' Boasts

A lover's boast is swiftly made;
the heart is not so firm and sure.
Too often trust is ill-repaid,
too often love does not endure.
But hope still bubbles at the source,
still flows from forth its ancient fount,
becomes a river in its course,
thus all the laws of time to flount.

And, strangely, things that lovers feel,
which swift and sudden passions form,
sometimes seal as strong as steel
and weather even raging storm.
At times a passing word will last,
a breath of promise shape the age,
a vow in day, in night will last,
flirtation grace undying page.

A lover's boast is swiftly made;
no human word is guarantee.
Too often promises will fade,
too often lovers' hopes will flee.
But passions sometimes seed a faith
that stands so pure and oaken-strong,
all else compared is but a wraith,
for it is real and ages long.

Friday, June 09, 2017

Evening Note for Friday, June 9

Thought for the Evening: Invented Traditions

I have recently been reading The Invention of Tradition, edited by Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger, which I picked up at Half-Price Books a while back; it is quite interesting. Hobsbawm defines 'invented tradition' in the following way:

It includes both 'traditions' actually invented, constructed and formally instituted and those emerging in a less easily traceable manner within a brief and dateable period-- a matter of a few years perhaps -- and establishing them with great rapidity....'Invented tradition' is taken to mean a set of practices, normally governed by overtly or tacitly accepted rules and of a ritual or symbolic nature, which seek to inculcate certain values and norms of behaviour by repetition, which automatically implies continuity with the past. (p. 1)

A number of examples are given throughout the book by the different authors. For instance:

* The kilt, which is practically a distinguishing feature of Scotland today, was invented in the eighteenth century by an Englishman, Thomas Rawlinson, who owned a business that hired a lot of Scotsman for dangerous jobs like lumberjacking. The traditional Highland costume was a belted long tunic that had to be hitched up for hard work, and Rawlinson designed the kilt to be a vaguely similar garment that would be more practical. His design was indeed much more practical for difficult work, so it spread like wildfire through the Highlands among Highlanders, who often were involved in various kinds of manual labor jobs. It then began to be replaced by trousers, but the Highland regiments in the military continued to have it as part of their military uniform, so when there was a revival of Scottish nationalism in the nineteenth century, it was in people's minds as a distinctively Scottish kind of dress. Likewise, association of tartans with particular clans arose only in the nineteenth century, mostly as a marketing gimmick. (Hugh Trevor-Roper, "The Invention of Tradition: The Highland Tradition of Scotland")

* Most of the public rituals and traditions we associate with the British Monarchy are fairly recent -- through most of the nineteenth century the public face of the Monarchy was notoriously shabby and unimpressive, with a poor sense of ceremony. This began to change in the 1870s, and as the Crown exercised less and less power, it began to be put forward more and more as a purely symbolic representation of British unity. (David Cannadine, "The Context, Performance and Meaning of Ritual: The British Monarchy and the 'Invention of Tradition', c. 1820-1977")

It quickly becomes clear that what the authors call 'invented traditions' are in fact one way in which traditio, handing down, is standardly done. The forest of old ways tends to dry up and burn out as people lose a sense of their purposes and meanings, or as invasive species take root and steal away their original nutrition; something must fill the void left. Either those old ways will be entirely replaced, or there will be some revitalization. If they are replaced, the new ways become the new forest, and undergo the same cycle. Residues and remnants of old ways, sometimes scholarly, sometimes distorted, sometimes only speculated, sometimes entirely imaginary, often become the seeds for either a return of something approximately like the old forest, or, more often, a compromise forest between the old and the new. The return of the old ways is often merely approximate, or by analogy, or sometimes more as a symbolic aspiration than an actual return. And the cycle begins again.

The actual processes involved are, of course, various, and, despite the name 'invented traditions' are not necessarily invented in the ordinary sense of the term -- they may just be a shift from a literal understanding to a symbolic one, or they may just be natural responses, consistent with prior traditions, to new situations that become stable precedents. They may -- indeed, in the Romantic period often were -- scholarly reconstructions, or, even more commonly, popular presentations of scholarly reconstructions that become part of people's folkloric self-understanding.

While it wouldn't be considered an 'invented tradition' in the above sense, an interesting analogy to some of these situations can be seen in Ivar Aasen's Nynorsk, an attempt to find the more purely Norwegian framework in the heavily Danish-overladen Norwegian language. He did this by working out what a purely Norse-based Modern Norwegian might be like. Thus we have the situation, which is remarkably common, of an actually traditional practice -- in this case, Dano-Norwegian -- in a struggle with a reforming purist-traditionalist practice -- in this case, Nynorsk -- both putting themselves forward as the appropriate tradition. In the case of the Norwegian language, this became tangled up with political disputes, leading to a considerable number of artificial interventions, none of which succeeded; and the result is that the Norwegian language today is quite an extraordinary mess, with no organic solution to the struggle yet found or, for that matter, in sight. In the end, only a long stretch of time and a lot of ordinary interaction will heal a muddle of tradition created by politics.

Various Links of Interest

* G. E. M. Anscombe, On Transubstantiation: "It is easiest to tell what transubstantiation is by saying this: little children should be taught about it as early as possible."

* Hume as Historian at "Incudi Reddere"

* Thomas Storck, The Sin of Usury

* Daniel J. Lasker, Translations of Rabbi Judah Halevi's Kuzari

* I'm thinking of doing some Unamuno for a fortnightly book this summer, so this discussion of his quijotismo by Mariana Alessandri is timely.

* Martha Bolton, Mary Shepherd, at the SEP

* James V. Schall reviews John Safranek's The Myth of Liberalism

Currently Reading

Agatha Christie, Murder on the Orient Express
Vladimir Soloviev, The Justification of the Good
St. Romanos the Melodist, On the Life of Christ: Kontakia
Edward Feser and Joseph Bessette, By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed
John of St. Thomas, The Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Poem a Day 9


In hope and faith is friendship formed.
By hope we hold our heart's desire;
walking freely, foot put forward,
with step on step, we stride the way.
By faith we pledge, we form a pact,
we seal by sign two different souls,
and I to we thus weld as one.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Social Life and Personality

Deprive a concrete human personality of all that is in any way due to its relations with social and collective wholes, and the only thing left will be an animal entity containing only the pure possibility or empty form of man--that is, something that does not really exist at all....

Social life is not a condition superadded to the individual life, but is contained in the very definition of personality which is essentially a rationally-knowing and a morally-active force--both knowing and acting being only possible in the life of a community. Rational knowledge on its formal side is conditioned by general notions which express a unity of meaning in an endless multiplicity of events; real and objective universality (the general meaning) of notions manifests itself in language as a means of communication, without which rational activity cannot develop, and, for lack of realization, gradually disappears altogether or becomes merely potential.

[Vladimir Soloviev, The Justification of the Good, von Peters, ed. Catholic Resources (Chattanooga, TN: 2015), p. 221.] This clearly is influenced by the arguments of nineteenth-century traditionalists, but it looks like Soloviev has generalized some of the ideas slightly.

Poem a Day 8


Birds may be trained and tamed,
learn to love their bars and bonds,
eat from the hand and turn a phrase,
but perhaps one day
the latch on the door is unlocked,
and, flying to freedom,
from bough to bough flits the bird.
The captor may call, but in vain;
bird to bird sings a song,
flying, floating, fleeing wide,
a righteous sun above its head,
the breath of God beneath its wing.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Elements of Modal Logic, Part IX


Let us take some examples to see how we can use what we have learned so far. Suppose that I, being a wizard with a green thumb, am surveying my new garden of weird flowers. I have some things that I have in every quarter of my garden. That's a Box. I have other things that are in at least one quarter. And if something is in every quarter of my garden, it is in at least one quarter, and that means Box includes Diamond. So we want at least 1234D.

[1234D] Reference Table (Weird Flowers in Quarters of the New Garden):
Box (Man-eating Dandelions)
Box (Fire-breathing Snapdragons)
Diamond (Jam-and-Butter-Cups)
Box (Really Red Roses)
Diamond (Screaming Mandrakes)
Box (More-than-deadly Nightshades)
Box-Not (Daisies)
Not-Diamond (Tulips)
Diamond-Not (Venus Fly-Traps)

Now, since Box here means 'in every quarter', Not-Box means 'not in every quarter (i.e., not in some quarters)', Box-Not means 'in every quarter not (i.e., in no quarter)', and Not-Box-Not means 'not in every quarter not (i.e., in some quarters)'. From this it is easy to see how the corresponding Diamonds work, using Rules (3) and (4). Our square of opposition is (again, I only show Box, but each corner can be translated into a Diamond version):

If we take an item in our reference table, like Box (Man-eating Dandelions), then we can use the square to say what's consistent and inconsistent with this item. For instance, Box (Man-eating Dandelions) is contrary to Box-Not (Man-eating Dandelions), and it is contradictory to Not-Box (Man-eating Dandelions); so Box (Man-eating Dandelions) rules both of these out. On the other hand, it requires Not-Box-Not (Man-eating Dandelions) -- Rule (D) tells us that Box includes Diamond. And Rule (4) tells us that Not-Box-Not (Man-Eating Dandelions) is interchangeable with Diamond (Man-Eating Dandelions), so that's required, too. We can put our reasoning in a simple form:

(i) □ (Man-Eating Dandelions)
(ii) ◇ (Man-Eating Dandelions) -- [from Rule (D)]
Which is the same as:
(iii) ~□~ (Man-Eating Dandelions) -- [from Rule (4)]

If we look at Diamond-Not (Venus Fly-Traps), this is the same corner as Not-Box (Venus Fly-Traps); it is inconsistent with both Not-Diamond-Not (Venus Fly-Traps) and Box (Venus Fly-Traps), since those both are the same. However, it doesn't tell us anything about the other two corners -- it's consistent with Not-Diamond (Venus Fly-Traps) and Diamond (Venus Fly-Traps).

It's worth taking some time to explore how each of the corners of the 1234D square, both with Box and with Diamond, relate to the others, because it is just so very common, and if you know this very well, you know a huge amount of modal logic, because it's how you fully understand what a given Reference Table means.

So let's think about what our other tables have to be, given our Reference Table.

If you are only using 1234, you should always do Diamonds first, but we are using 1234D, and both Rule (D) and our square of opposition tell us that Box includes Diamond. Note that by our rules, Not-Diamond (Tulips) [= There are no quarters with tulips] means the same as Box-Not (Tulips) [= every quarter has no tulips]. If I were just using 1234, I might not have any quarters in my garden (maybe I haven't planted any yet). But (D) tells me that if I have any Boxes in my Reference Table, I have at least one quarter in my garden that has them (which is Diamond), so I know I have at least one quarter in my garden, and since Boxes are true of every table that we have, all our Boxes tell us about that quarter:

TABLE 1: Some Quarter in the New Garden
Man-eating Dandelions
Fire-breathing Snapdragons
Really Red Roses
More-than-deadly Nightshades
No Daisies!
No Tulips!

I put 'No Daisies' because we know that there are no daisies anywhere (Box-Not). And I put 'No Tulips' because Not-Diamond means the same as Box-Not.

With the flowers that are only Diamond, though, we have to be much more careful, because while we know they each are on at least one table, we don't know which or how many! Maybe Jam-and-Butter-Cups are only in one quarter. Maybe they are in two. Maybe they are in three. It could even be that they are in all four. Our Reference Table doesn't tell us. And it's even trickier, because we have more than one Diamond, and we don't know if they are talking about the same quarters or different quarters. There are lots of possibilities. So when I put them on my table, I can't assume that every table is a different quarter. Maybe I am accidentally giving two incomplete descriptions of the same table, and they really should be on the same table! But I can't just put them on the same table, either, because maybe they are all on different tables! Since the Reference Table doesn't tell us, we have to be careful to remember that we don't know these things. Not assuming that you know something you don't is often the single most important thing in logic.

What we do know from the Diamonds, is that (whether or not they are overlapping or separate) the following things are true:

(1) I have at least one quarter with Jam-and-Butter-Cups.
(2) I have at least one quarter with Screaming Mandrakes.
(3) I have at least one quarter without Venus Fly-Traps.

Again, I don't know if these quarters are the same or different. If I put them all on one table, I might be wrong. If I put them on different tables, though, then as long as I remember that any of my tables might be incomplete, and that any two tables might be giving incomplete descriptions of the same quarter, I will be just fine.

TABLE 1: Some Quarter in the New Garden
(Don't Know Which)
TABLE 2: Some Quarter in the New Garden
(Don't Know Which)
TABLE 3: Some Quarter in the New Garden
(Don't Know Which)
Man-eating DandelionsMan-eating DandelionsMan-eating Dandelions
Fire-breathing SnapdragonsFire-breathing SnapdragonsFire-breathing Snapdragons
Really Red RosesReally Red RosesReally Red Roses
More-than-deadly NightshadesMore-than-deadly NightshadesMore-than-deadly Nightshades
No Daisies!No Daisies!No Daisies!
No Tulips!No Tulips!No Tulips!
Jam-and-Butter-CupsScreaming MandrakesNo Venus Fly-Traps!

Or, if we prefer to have it in a slightly more diagrammatic form:

Part X

Poem a Day 7


Wisdom walks on kitten feet,
padding softly down the way,
stretching out in sunlight sweet,
taking joy in gentle day,
soft of bite in play and pounce,
growing by the quarter-ounce.

Endless flurry, flicking tail,
rumble-romp, no hint of harm,
wisdom walks along the rail
and tumbles down with kitten charm.
Purring, wisdom curls to sleep
upon your lap, for you to keep.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

With New Worlds Amaze Th'Unbounded Soul

On Imagination
By Phillis Wheatley

Thy various works, imperial queen, we see,
How bright their forms! how deck'd with pomp by thee!
Thy wond'rous acts in beauteous order stand,
And all attest how potent is thine hand.

From Helicon's refulgent heights attend,
Ye sacred choir, and my attempts befriend:
To tell her glories with a faithful tongue,
Ye blooming graces, triumph in my song.

Now here, now there, the roving Fancy flies,
Till some lov'd object strikes her wand'ring eyes,
Whose silken fetters all the senses bind,
And soft captivity involves the mind.

Imagination! who can sing thy force?
Or who describe the swiftness of thy course?
Soaring through air to find the bright abode,
Th' empyreal palace of the thund'ring God,
We on thy pinions can surpass the wind,
And leave the rolling universe behind:
From star to star the mental optics rove,
Measure the skies, and range the realms above.
There in one view we grasp the mighty whole,
Or with new worlds amaze th' unbounded soul.

Though Winter frowns to Fancy's raptur'd eyes
The fields may flourish, and gay scenes arise;
The frozen deeps may break their iron bands,
And bid their waters murmur o'er the sands.
Fair Flora may resume her fragrant reign,
And with her flow'ry riches deck the plain;
Sylvanus may diffuse his honours round,
And all the forest may with leaves be crown'd:
Show'rs may descend, and dews their gems disclose,
And nectar sparkle on the blooming rose.

Such is thy pow'r, nor are thine orders vain,
O thou the leader of the mental train:
In full perfection all thy works are wrought,
And thine the sceptre o'er the realms of thought.
Before thy throne the subject-passions bow,
Of subject-passions sov'reign ruler thou;
At thy command joy rushes on the heart,
And through the glowing veins the spirits dart.

Fancy might now her silken pinions try
To rise from earth, and sweep th' expanse on high:
From Tithon's bed now might Aurora rise,
Her cheeks all glowing with celestial dies,
While a pure stream of light o'erflows the skies.
The monarch of the day I might behold,
And all the mountains tipt with radiant gold,
But I reluctant leave the pleasing views,
Which Fancy dresses to delight the Muse;
Winter austere forbids me to aspire,
And northern tempests damp the rising fire;
They chill the tides of Fancy's flowing sea,
Cease then, my song, cease the unequal lay.

Poem a Day 6


Bold is the love that stands forever,
bold in its word, bold in its deed,
forceful in will, forceful in valor,
valiant to rise and sure to endure.
Boldness will mark the love of ages,
courage of heart in moments of pain,
casting aside all timid evasion,
seizing the moment to capture the prize.

Monday, June 05, 2017

Music on My Mind

Eivør, "Í Tokuni". Faroese, apparently, which is a language one does not often hear sung.

Poem a Day 5


Flowers bloom in fields as the winds are hot, thick,
humid, sun-warm, full of the buzzing, swift bees;
time is not enduring for man, O love;soon lost are our sweet dreams.

Kisses pass like breezes on skin: when had, lost,
stolen -- time is thieving and cruel; delay harms,
guarantees hope's death and our love's undoing. Sweetest of maids, hear!

Give, my lady, more; let love with speed join us;
draw eye to eye, lip to lip, breath to breath,
soul to soul, with swift knots.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Fortnightly Book, June 4

After such an intensive read as The Complete Old English Poems, I feel the need for something a bit lighter, so I'll be doing some Agatha Christie.

(1) And Then There Were None: This was the first work by Christie I ever read, and it's been a while since I last picked it up. Arguably it's her best work in which neither of Poirot nor Marple appear, and Christie herself regarded it as one of her favorites because of the difficulty of plotting it. The title and song-scheme of the book have always been problematic for it. The original title was based on a blackface song that had become hugely popular in Europe, and thus would have been known by any European readers from their childhoods. The title was utterly unacceptable in America, so the title was changed to And Then There Were None -- certainly a better title artistically as well as morally -- and the song changed to "Ten Little Indians". Starting in the 1960s, American publishers started experimenting with making the title of the book, Ten Little Indians, as well, but this never completely took. Interestingly, the British continued to use the original title all the way into the 80s. And Then There Were None seems to be the title that will stick. Racial issues are at least part of the background of the story, though -- the people in the book all have a rather nasty side to them, which includes considering themselves decent despite the fact that they have lived on the murder of others, for reasons of race, or class, or the like.

(2) Murder on the Orient Express: The Orient Express, of course, is a European rail line, at the time connecting Istanbul to Paris; for most of the novel the train is stuck in Yugoslavia due to a blizzard. It is arguably Christie's most closely researched attempt at verisimilitude, as she attempted to get all the details right down to the right kinds of door handles in the cars. It is one of her Poirot works. And, of course, it is one of Christie's most famous mystery twists.

(3) The Murder of Roger Ackroyd: Another Poirot novel, this is certainly one of her most influential works, although in it she breaks one of the long-standing conventions of mystery novels.

Those are the three definites. Christie is such a smooth read that I shouldn't have any problem getting through them in a fortnight. But I might well have plenty of time to spare. The following are the other works by Christie I have on my shelves (or at least, have and can easily find):

Murder is Easy
What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw! (Miss Marple)
13 at Dinner (Poirot)
Appointment with Death (Poirot)
The Tuesday Club Murders (Miss Marple)
The Murder at the Vicarage (Miss Marple)

Any preferences for which should be the priority, if I finish the three with enough time to add in a book or two more?

One Word, Instead of Many

Now those who before were fishermen have become skilled speakers. Now those who once
stood by the shores of lakes are orators, and clear ones.
Those who previously used to mend their nets
now unravel the webs of orators and make them worthless with simpler utterance.
For they speak one Word, instead of many,
they proclaim one God, not one of many.
The One as one they worship, a Father beyond understanding,
a Son consubstantial and inseparable, and like to them
the All-Holy Spirit.

St. Romanos the Melodist, "On Pentecost", On the Life of Christ: Kontakia, Ephrem Lash, tr. Yale University Press (New Haven: 2014) p. 215.

Poem a Day 4

(This is loosely based on an Old English poem with the same theme.)


A giving heart is blessing-rich,
who gives with grace the alms of life,
who battles greed with open hand,
with honor acting before God.
As blaze is quenched with water fresh,
as rain will save the town from flame,
so alms will soothe the wounds of sin
and, God's own balm, will heal the soul.