Thursday, June 17, 2010

Rodak Recommends: Blogs of Note

Since I don’t maintain a blogroll, it is incumbent upon me to direct attention from time to time to some of the sites that I visit on a daily basis. Blogs tend to come and go, but I have recently been finding all three of these to be most rewarding.

I am currently involved in engrossing and instructive discussions of Gnosticism in the comment boxes of Vox Nova here; of the Tea Parties at Journeys in Alterity here; and of Salinger and sainthood at Pentimento here.

Please, join in and help these bloggers set me straight.
Update: Baseball fans are also encouraged to check out Graham Womack's site here.


Henry Karlson said...

Well, I am glad you liked my post on Gnosticism. When I write more theologically or spiritually minded posts, they tend to have a far smaller readership -- which tells me quite a bit about the people who come to VN (especially its critics).

Gnosticism, as you probably can tell if you look through the tags on VN, is an interest of mine. I find much of it attractive -- though it is for this reason I try to be very careful and critical. As with many instances, I find the issue is that some truths are discerned but not properly balanced out. I find the biggest problems of the early Gnostics are 1)many groups were cult-like(not all), 2) many (not all) used Gnosticism just to do whatever they want 3) various dualisms, and 4) the anti-incarnational overtone of Gnosticism. Though I understand the dangers of the hierarchy of archons, I also realize that much of this speculation has similar ideas within orthodoxy, with the archons changed into angels.

Rodak said...

I'm always grateful to find a few words concerning a topic in which I have an interest.
I have been able, btw, to request the book that you recommend from the library of another campus of the state university system here, so I'll soon be able to give it a look-see. Thanks again for the recommendation.

Archons changed into angels and augmented later by saints, no?
All organizations are suspect, in my mind, since they always consist of a group of people looking to get what they want. I prefer, therefore, to consider the ideas in isolation from the groups/cults/churches/sects, and to mix-and-match them where connections present themselves.

Henry Karlson said...

Yes, obviously supplemented by saints. But also, the whole entire pantheon of gods also follows through with this. I always like pointing to St Augustine and his discussion of "gods" in the writings of the Platonists. He points out these gods are all created figures, and are all underneath the one, so they really are angels under another name. The same is true with the archons. Of course, the difference is that one becomes a saint, while the archons/angels seem to be around since the beginning of time. The solution to this, of course, is the Augustinian notion that some humans replace fallen angels in the hierarchy of being.

Reading St Cyril's commentary on Jeremiah brought to light even more the connection between angels an archons. He talks about how angels are seen as given to each of the nations, but then he also goes on to describe angels for the different elements -- the earth, the water, fire, etc. It became obvious what was going on.

Obviously there are debates in how one is to view them. I really think Tolkien's Silmarillion gets close to the reality, even with the notion of evil. I've always enjoyed how he presented the creation of the world as the manifestation of the music of the angelic choirs, where the darkness of evil tries to override is, and Eru then finds a way to make a better harmony from it -- both in the music itself, but in the manifestation of it in the creation of the world.

I hope you enjoy Solovyov. His first Sophiological work was his "Lectures on Godmanhood" but in "Russia and the Universal Church" (the third section) he has a more sophisticated presentation of it. But one can find more Sophiology in other works, hence the book which collects it and puts it together with commentary.

I'm sure you have noticed how willing I am to learn from many traditions, though I still think there is a need for an authentic universal core, hence why I still support institution and especially the Catholic one.

Rodak said...

Yes. I really should reread The Silmarillion (and the rest of Tolkien), which I haven't read since the 1960s or early '70s. His name keeps getting dropped on Catholic blogs, and the particulars are no longer fresh to memory.
Have you read Simone Weil? Particularly the three-volum set of her "Notebooks"?

Henry Karlson said...

No, I've not read Weil, and the only familiarity I have is with secondary discussion on Weil's thought, sometimes positive, sometimes hostile, sometimes critical appreciation. There is, of course, only so much one can read.

Tolkien is great, and really, there are all kinds of interesting "pagan" remainders in his thought.

Have you read much Philip K Dick, especially his later (crazy yet gnostic) works? I would say he is the only contemporary gnostic who I believe really was a gnostic (I don't like all the modern "gnostic orders" we have seen popping up; they seem as contrived as Wicca does to me).

Rodak said...

Yes, I've read P.K. Dick. Have you seen this?

I really recommend Weil to you. Her deep thinking on Plato, combined with her interest in the Gita (not to mention her evident intelligence, not to say genius), would, I predict, appeal to you.
It is true that she was hostile to the Church, for some very specific reasons, although she had several really deep personal relationships with good Catholics, including at least one priest. Her criticism of the Church has not stopped quite a few good Catholics (e.g. Flannery O'Connor, T.S. Eliot, Graham Green) of a literary/philosophical persuasion from admiring her writings.
The Notebooks are the things to read, if you can get ahold of them. Easier to find are Waiting for God, The Need for Roots, and esp. Gravity and Grace. But none of these are as comprehensible w/o familiarity with the Notebooks (which I discovered the hard way.)

Henry Karlson said...

No, I had not seen that comic, though not surprised to find it.

I'm awaiting to see Radio Free Albermuth once it is available to see (the reviews seem good).

One of these days I will probably get to Weil. Just so much for me to grab on to, as you probably realize, and I tend to do a lot with one subject/person/thought before leading to the next (comes from my aspergers). And yes, I've known many positive interactions with Weil, which is why I know the overly hostile reaction is just defensive hostility.

Rodak said...

Weil has also been referred to as a Gnostic by some hostile, orthodox parties, for reasons which I think you would recognize.
If you want to take a few minutes, here's a link to a small selection of excerpts from one of Weil's works that I put together once to augment a blog post.

Henry Karlson said...

I seem to remember reading those quotes; was it done for WWWTW? I'm trying to remember.

I only skimmed them, but yes, I saw some of the Gnostic element, and also, some things which are positive for any tradition.

Rodak said...

It was done for my blog. It's possible that I linked it to WWWtW, but not likely. More likely would be Disputations, if you ever visit there, or Zippy Catholic, perhaps...

Henry Karlson said...

Probably saw it linked in a Zippy Catholic discussion, then.

Of course, one of these day, I will look more seriously into Weil's work...

Rodak said...

When you do, I think that you'll be repaid for the effort.

Thanks for visiting my site.

Graham Womack said...

Thanks for the mention!

Rodak said...

De nada.