Monday, April 18, 2005

Now THIS is Very Cool

A revolutionary technique reveals long lost Greek and Roman texts:
Now, in a breakthrough described as the classical equivalent of finding the holy grail, Oxford University scientists have employed infra-red technology to open up the hoard, known as the Oxyrhynchus Papyri, and with it the prospect that hundreds of lost Greek comedies, tragedies and epic poems will soon be revealed.

In the past four days alone, Oxford's classicists have used it to make a series of astonishing discoveries, including writing by Sophocles, Euripides, Hesiod and other literary giants of the ancient world, lost for millennia. They even believe they are likely to find lost Christian gospels, the originals of which were written around the time of the earliest books of the New Testament.
The Oxyrhynchus Papyri were discovered in an ancient junkyard, thus comfirming the old aphorism about one person's trash. Some of the newly deciphered texts will be published within the next few days.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Modernity and the Church

On the eve of the next Catholic conclave of cardinals, George Will writes:
The challenge confronting the church can be expressed in one word: modernity. The church preaches that freedom is life lived in conformity to God's will as manifested in revelation and interpreted by the church. Modernity teaches that freedom is the sovereignty of the individual's will – personal volition that is spontaneous, unconditioned, inviolable and self-legitimizing.
So what does this mean here in America?
In America, a market-driven society, there is a religion market in which the most successful competitors for congregations are churches with clear doctrinal and strict moral positions. For these churches, the "crisis of Christianity" is congestion in their parking lots.
Interesting. Will's observations about Europe's forthcoming population decline are also worth noting.

[Hat tip: Real Clear Politics]