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Sharon E. Murphy (alto, nm USA)
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How to Think About God: A Guide for the 20th-Century Pagan
How to Think About God: A Guide for the 20th-Century Pagan
22 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars PAGAN REVIEW, June 29 2002
AS A PREFACE, I SHOULD STATE THAT I POSSESS THE GREAT BOOKS OF THE WESTERN WORLD, INCLUDING DR ADLER'S INTRODUCTORY ESSAYS TITLED "THE GREAT IDEAS," AND HAVE READ THE LATTER WORD BY WORD OVER A PERIOD OF DECADES, IN ADDITION TO MANY OF THE FORMER. IN FACT I ATTENDED THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO MANY YEARS AGO AND ENROLLED IN AND COMPLETED THE GREAT BOOKS PROGRAM THERE. THIS BOOK IS A REHASH, WITH SOME MODIFICATIONS, OF MANY OF THE IDEAS CONTAINED IN THE CORPUS WHICH I STUDIED. I DO NOT THINK THAT DR ADLER WILL REACH ANY TRUE PAGAN; HIS BOOK IS PROBABLY READ WITH MORE PROFIT BY A WOULD-BE BELIEVER IN THE GOD OF "THE PEOPLES OF THE BOOK" (JEWS, CHRISTIANS, AND MOSLEMS), WHO WISH TO FIND SOME "INTELLECTUAL" JUSTIFICATION FOR THEIR BELIEF. WHAT IS CHARACTERISTIC OF MANY IF NOT ALL PAGANS IS A DISTRUST OF LINGUISTIC FORMULATIONS THAT BETRAY A LACK OF HUMILITY. ALL THIS WAS SAID MUCH BETTER CENTURIES AGO BY IMMANUEL KANT, WHO SAID THAT THE PROBLEMS OF THE EXISTENCE OR NONEXISTENCE OF GOD AND THE NATURE OF HIS ATTRIBUTES, THE QUESTION OF FREE WILL VERSUS DETERMINISM, AND THE QUESTION OF PERSONAL IMMORTALITY COULD NOT BE RESOLVED LINGUISTICALLY. TO A PAGAN, THE DISPLAY OF A "HOLY BOOK" IN THE HANDS OF A GOSPEL PREACHER IS A WORSHIP OF THE WRITTEN WORD WHICH OUGHT BY NOW TO HAVE BECOME A RELICT DATING BACK TO A TIME WHEN WORDS (AND ESPECIALLY WRITTEN WORDS) POSSESSED A MAGIC OF THEIR OWN. DR ADLER FAILS TO UNDERSTAND THE HUMILITY (NOT THE ARROGANCE) OF PAGANS, WHO SYMPATHIZE WITH HIS EARLY ADHERENCE TO JUDAISM AND HIS LATER CONVERSION TO CHRISTIANITY, BUT WHO CANNOT BELIEVE THAT HIS ADHERENCE TO EITHER FAITH WAS BASED ON ANY LASTING INTERNAL CONFIDENCE IN HIS OWN WORD GAMES. DR ADLER, FOR WHOM I HAVE ALWAYS HAD GREAT ADMIRATION, WAS AN INDEFATIGABLE WORKER IN HIS CRAFT - THE ART OF FRAMING WORDS AND IDEAS IN COMPRENSIBLE FORM AND STYLE; HE NEVER GAVE UP THE EFFORT. WOULD THAT WE HAD MORE OF HIM. BUT HE DOES NOT CONVINCE US PAGANS.

The Dog's Mind: Understanding Your Dog's Behavior
The Dog's Mind: Understanding Your Dog's Behavior
by Bruce Fogle
Edition: Paperback
24 used & new from CDN$ 11.83

4.0 out of 5 stars philosophical comments, May 4 2000
The difficulty with a book with a title such as this is that it promises too much. Richard Feynman observed that if we could truly understand how a dog's mind works we would understand how our minds work. We really don't understand either the one or the other. We also have not really probed the limitations, which means in reverse the capabilities, of a dog's mind. The very sheepdogs he mentions in passing, who can read hand signals at the distance of a kilometer, can learn and respond appropriately to over a hundred different commands, either spoken, whistled, or signaled manually. They are also notoriously adept at picking up the significance of words or phrases that they are not deliberately taught. No attempt, however, and few have been made, to explore the potentialities of the canine mind, can teach us exactly how that mind works. There is some question however whether the current denigration of the capabilities of the canine mind in comparison with the lower primates is really defensible. In contrast to the assertions of George Gallup, our dogs do recognize themselves in mirrors and exhibit great delight in themselves when they master a new task, two self-awareness tests which he restricts to the great apes. Let's keep our minds open.

The Epic of Gilgamesh
The Epic of Gilgamesh
by Danny P. Jackson
Edition: Paperback
12 used & new from CDN$ 7.64

5.0 out of 5 stars seminal work of western literatureI, Oct. 5 1999
This review is from: The Epic of Gilgamesh (Paperback)
I would draw the attention of readers to the story of the flood, as related by the Book of Gilgamesh.In particular, "for six days and nights the wind blew, torrent and tempest and flood raged together like warring hosts. When the seventh day dawned the storm from the south subsided, the sea grew calm, the flood was stilled: I looked at the face of the world and there was silence; all mankind was turned to clay. The surface of the sea stretched flat as a rooftop." This is not a river flood. This is the breach of the Black Sea basin - then inhabited - by the ocean waters of the Mediterranean Sea - as is attested by recent geological documentation. Fresh water mussels are succeeded by salt water mussels at precisely 5500 BC: also, the remains of fresh water mussels occur only at great depths where fresh water lakes previously existed. Only fishermen with boats could have survived the flood when the Bosporus was breached. The historical implications of this geological cataclism have not yet been absorbed into the thoughts of philologists in search of the origins of the Indo-European languages nor by historians of the pre-history of the Middle East. I believe this information adds to an appreciation of the significance of this early epic, insomuch as it incorporated an oral legend of an actual geological event two thousand years after the fact. Lest the survival of such remembrances in the oral tradition be doubted, the Oregon Indians preserved the oral tradition of the eruption of Mount Mazuma (Crater Lake) eight thousand years afterward.

Stones for Ibarra
Stones for Ibarra
by Harriet Doerr
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 13.00
119 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a flawless narrative - a minor masterpiece, Sept. 24 1999
This review is from: Stones for Ibarra (Paperback)
The comments by some of the reviewers are instructive more about themselves than about the work they review. The reviewer from Miami states that the narrative is exactly what one would one expect from such a character recounting her experiences to,let us say, her daughter. That is exactly the point of the book. The main character is not a sociologist. She simply received impressions, as most of us do, when we travel to Mexico or Greece or Italy, without either wholesale condemnation of people who live differently from middle-class Americans, nor extensive exoneration of their behavior by recourse to sociological explication of the effects of the history of exploitation and oppression. Let us understand plainly: the narrator is not the author, but a narrative voice (a character in the story) whose observations must correspond to the limitations of her concerns and her remembrances. The narrator plainly does not have any deep understanding of Mexico (she is no Octavio Paz), but that is much of the point of the story. Much of the value of the book is precisely the revelation of the disconnect between the Americans and the Mexicans - the inability to comprehend each other. If the narrator were truly to understand the Mexicans, or they her, the whole point of the book would have been lost. The reader from Seattle, on the other hand, has taken too many literature courses: she insists on a central character and a motif - preferably some kind of symbolic motif. The narrator in the story is not apt to construct her reminiscences in such a way as to revolve them about some central motif. She herself is the central character - everything is seen through her eyes and takes significance in terms of her own fate - culminating in the death of her husband and her departure from Mexico. Mexico remains unchanged. She has not the capacity, the inclination, or the will to change Mexico, or to change herself. To insist that she be different is to demand a different book. Finally, the Miami reader says that John Steinbeck was only joking: perhaps she may recall the tale of the young Mexican woman with many children who could afford only beans for her children: the American servicemen in California took pity on her and provided meat for her children. They all took deathly sick at the change in diet, and when they recovered, she found herself pregnant again. There is humor in his work, as well as in Stones for Ibarra, but it is the kind of humor that leads to redemption: the very counterpoint of mockery and denigration. Revelation of the disconnect between cultures can lead to thoughtfulness, which is the precursor of sympathetic understanding. Let us not confuse the characters with the authors, and let us pray that Steinbeck and Doerr find the readers they deserve.

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