Must Reads #3

There’s not really much of a theme to these apart from being related to historical subjects in some way.

  • “Making an Ancient Roman Murderer”On the bizarre plot hatched by Emperor Nero to murder his mother, Agrippina. Nero comes across as a bit of a hapless boob rather than a cunning schemer in the story.
  • “What Do Our Oldest Books Say About Us?”

    These books should have been a mirror, some kind of catalyst to self-recognition. But when I looked at them I saw nothing. I only saw the yawning void of everything in human history that I cannot understand, everything that has been taken from our culture by the incredible acceleration of technology over the course of my lifetime.

  • “The Meek Shall Not Inherit The Earth — The Shepherds Will.” The author argues that the translation of the “meek” inheriting the Earth is a mistranslation. The Greek term, he argues, points more towards those who wield power in a way that serves the greater good, like a shepherd protecting sheep from lions and other predators. Not being a Greek language scholar, I cannot independently verify the plausibility of the author’s argument from that perspective. It does, however, seem to make sense within the context of the larger story of Jesus, a person who had no qualms about smashing the money changers’ tables – an example of power in service of the weak and downtrodden. Whatever the case, the piece highlights how sometimes we might miss critical cultural nuances, depending on the translation.
  • “A History of Monsters “The word ‘monster’ derives from the Latin monstrare (to demonstrate) or monere (to warn). Yet defining monsters is difficult. They are a rambunctious lot, less identifiable by what they are than by what they do. According to the American art historian Asa Mittman: ‘Monsters do a great deal of cultural work, but they do not do it nicely.’”

The Good Shepherd

By AnonymousUnknown author (http://polymer.bu.edu/~jdm/good_shepherd.html) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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