The Invention of the Bible and the Talmuds
Donald Harman Akenson
$25.00Add a review
This is one of the best, most enriching books I've read in years. Akenson has managed to produce an account of the creation of the Bible (and its recreation at various points) and the Talmuds that is at once loving, humorous, deeply considered and consumately scholarly. In short, he has given us a book that is truly worthy of its subject.
Further, what you will find in terms of a gathering of facts is nothing short of astonishing. Did you know, for instance, that the English translation of the New Testament of the King James Bible is 90% the work of a single man? I didn't. And consider further: this same man (William Tyndale [1494-1536],who was ultimately strangled and burned as a heretic for his translation activity) ". . . taught all those who would hear, how to listen to words as music." He gave us the English language at its best, and taught us all to speak, influenced Shakespeare and Bacon along with the rest of us.
But that is far from the only thing that amazes in Surpassing Wonder. Akenson's accounts of the editing and writing of the different parts of the Hebrew Bible, at different times and in answer to different historical/cultural needs and contexts, is marvelous in its descriptive portrayal of what I would term "the ongoing conversation of human beings with God and the earth."
He moves into the intertestamental period, which I can remember professors characterizing as a time in which nothing much that was important happened in the way of religious development, and shows it to have been a period in which all manner of religious ideas were brought forth, discussed, argued and defended. It was truly a "free marketplace of ideas" and what it brought forth was nothing less than modern Rabbinic Judaism and its sister religion, Christianity. Of course, Akenson also covers the development of these two religions from their common source.
I could go on and on, because what I've mentioned here barely scratches the surface of what you'll discover in this book. The title perfectly describes the feeling its contents evoke. Breathtaking!
A Journey through Time
William A Bryant
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Exploration into one's own biography can be one of the most exhilarating and revealing adventures any of us can undertake. William Bryant's book is one of the richest available guides to such an journey, and as such, we recommend it without reservation.
From the author's Introduction:
Surely a traveler's story is his or her most precious possession — a pilgrimage long prepared and painfully executed, though normal waking awareness has no conscious idea of the patterns and the human connections prepared before birth. This book was written for several affiliated reasons. It is for those seeking to unravel the skein of life events by uncovering the connections between them and the meaning and lawfulness in the complex design of destiny and its karmic underpinnings. It is also offered as a contribution to the field of biographical counseling. Embedded in the heart of this book, among other themes, is the author's lifelong quest to fathom the immense significance of suffering.
Words in Place
Reconnecting with nature through creative writing
$30.00Add a review
Words in Place is a nine-week writing course that follows a path through the realms of nature, from mineral to plants, animal, and people. By exploring the qualities of each, Words in Place encourages the writer to find a unique, authentic voice and to forge a new relationship the inner and outer worlds.
Paul Matthews offers a rich variety of creative techniques and exercises, including "haiku hikes," word and story games, written conversation, collaborative writing, and "tiny tales."
The reader will enjoy this powerful and unusual book both for its help in connecting with nature and for its insights into imagination and the poets and writers who created the literary geography of East Sussex, the author’s home.
- WEEK ONE: Opening Our Senses to Each Other and the World
- WEEK TWO: Earth, Water, Air, and Fire
- WEEK THREE: Turning a New Leaf
- WEEK FOUR: The Flowering Garden and Our Responses to It
- WEEK FIVE: The Animal in Nature
- WEEK SIX: Giving Voice to the Animals
- WEEK SEVEN: Being Human
- WEEK EIGHT: The Story We Belong to
- WEEK NINE: Walking Back the Way We Came
Compass of the Heart
Embodying Medicine Wheel Teachings
$14.95Add a review
Compass of the Heart is Loren Cruden's meditations and insights into Life on Earth, using the four directions, Earth, Sky, and Center of the Medicine Wheel as touchstones. These are some of the most deeply considered, heartfelt, lived, and true expressions of the union of body, soul, and spirit that I have found. To read them is to renew and enliven your relationship to the Earth, the Heavens, and to yourself. A wonderful book to read in small portions, as time allows, and let these beautiful thoughts penetrate slowly and deeply.
Please, Can We Keep the Donkey?
A Collection of Animal Rescue Stories
The Massachusetts School of Law Community
Edited by Diane Sullivan and Holly Vietzke
Foreword by Betty White
Hardbound, lots of photos, printed on recycled paper
$19.95Add a review
I can't think of a child anywhere who would not love these stories - all of them true, all of them heartwarming and wonderful. I look often for animal stories that can really feed the soul - this book is filled with them.
Please, Can We Keep the Donkey? features dozens of personal accounts of successful animal adoptions and rescues. These entertaining stories describe rewarding relationships with animals ranging from dogs and cats to birds, a snake, and, of course, a donkey.
Meet a rabbit who is an architect, dogs too ugly to pet, an orphaned cat who bonds with an orphaned girl, an unruly dog who brings aid to senior citizens, and many other animals whose lives have changed the people who took them in. These delightful and heartwarming stories of individuals who find each other and bring joy to one another's lives pose the question that one contributor asks: "Who rescued whom?"
Just about anyone of any age will happily dive into this book!
A Child's Christmas in Wales
Illustrated by Edward Ardizzone
$9.95Add a review
What to say about this great tale of Christmas with Aunts in the kitchen and Uncles in the parlor, of snowballs and cats, fires and dinner gongs, and the myriad other adventures available to a wide-eyed child in snowy, Christmas-y Wales? Actually, I don't know quite what to say, other than if you haven't read it yet, do. You'll love it. If you have read it, well, do read it again -- it is too jam-packed with delight and love not to go back to at least once a year, especially at Christmas time.
This edition is the one with the very best, right-on-target illustrations, just right for the story and just lovely on their own.
As an invitation for more fun (and to remind those who've read it why it's such a frolic), here's the opening page:
One Christmas was so much like another, in those years around the sea-town corner now and out of all sound except the distant speaking of the voices I sometimes hear a moment before sleep, that I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six.
All the Christmases roll down toward the two-tongued sea, like a cold and headlong moon bundling down the sky that was our street; and they stop at the rim of the ice-edged, fish-freezing waves, and I plunge my hands in the snow and bring out whatever I can find. In goes my hand into that wool-white bell-tongued ball of holidays resting at the rim of the carol-singing sea, and out come Mrs. Prothero and the firemen.
Have a wonderful Christmas!
Dante to Dead Man Walking
One Reader's Journey through the Christian Classics
Raymond A. Schroth, S.J.
$19.95Add a review
My definition of spiritual is broad. The books that follow are spiritual classics in that, with the exception of a few published within the last decade, they have worked their magic on centuries and generations of readers. They speak to the human spirit, to that divine gift by which we transcend the limitations imposed by our self-absorption, our narrow-mindedness and our moral cowardice. If we approach a book in the way Karl Rahner says we should approach life - fully open to human experience and God's grace - it can transform us in much the same way that a friend, a teacher, or a coach can help us become something we have not been before.
- from the author's Introduction
Reading this book is like taking a guided tour of some of the greatest works of literature Western Civilization has produced. And having a guide who is expert beyond any reasonable expectation!
There are 50 essays covering 50 authors or works - a sampling of those discussed ranges from The Book of Genesis to Dante Alighieri to Dostoyevsky, James Joyce, Willa Cather, Evelyn Waugh, Edward Steichen, C. S. Lewis, Flannery O'Connor, Shusaku Endo. Of course, there are many more. Schroth's essays go right to the heart of the matter -- what is it about the subject that is exciting, that keeps the author and his/her work alive in our hearts, that moves us forward as we read?
If you like literature, you'll love this book!
Spiritual Science Insight on the Mineral Earth
$22.95Add a review
This is a fascinating study of myth, legend, geography, minerology, and the weather! Alan Whitehead, who lives in the area of Sydney, Australia, takes a close look at our visible Earth, then dives into Aboriginal and world mythology and cosmology to emerge with insights esoteric and exoteric, questions, and a basket of facts that will keep you happily reading (and chuckling! - this is also one of Alan's more humorous offerings) as you learn and wonder about the planet upon which we make our homes. Alan has succeeded in writing a book that is at once a great rainy-day read and a really valuable resource. I'm confident you'll enjoy it as much as I did!
A Beginner's Guide to Constructing the Universe
The Mathematical Archetypes of Nature, Art, and Science
Michael S. Schneider
$18.95Add a review
Looking for ways to share the glorious beauty of mathematics with your students? Or to inspire yourself with the wonder of creation? This is your book.
Michael Schneider leads us on a spectacular, lavishly illustrated journey along the numbers one through ten to explore the mathematical principles made visible in flowers, shells, crystals, plants, and the human body, expressed in the symbolic language of folk sayings and fairy tales, myth and religion, art and architecture. Here is a comprehensive guide to the patterns that recur throughout the universe and underlie human affairs.
Among the many things you will see and learn are:
- Why cans, pizza, and manhole covers are round.
- Why one and two weren't considered numbers by the ancient Greeks.
- Why squares show up so often in goddess art and board games.
- What property makes the spiral the most widespread shape in nature, from embryos and hair curls to hurricanes and galaxies.
- How the human body shares the design of a bean plant and the solar system.
- How a snowflake is like Stonehenge, and a beehive like a calendar.
- How our ten fingers hold the secrets of both a lobster and a cathedral.
And there's much, much more. This is a resource you'll turn to again and again - a dazzling revelation of the beauty of creation.
The Power of Limits
Proportional Harmonies in Nature, Art, and Architecture
Softbound, Large format, profusely illustrated
$29.95Add a review
One of the delights of life is the discovery and rediscovery of patterns of order and beauty in nature - the designs revealed by slicing through a head of cabbage or an orange, the forms of shells and butterfly wings. These images are awesome not just for their beauty, but because they suggest an order underlying their growth, a harmony existing in nature. What does it mean that such and order exists; how far does it extend?
The Power of Limits begins with such simple discoveries of harmony and goes on to investigate and measure hundreds of patterns -- ancient and modern, minute and vast. Doczi's discovery, vividly illustrated here, is that certain proportions occur over and over again in all these forms. Patterns are also repeated in how things grow and are made -- by the dynamic union of opposites -- as demonstrated by the spirals that move in opposite directions in the growth of a plant.
The joining of unity and diversity in the discipline of proportional limitations creates forms that are beautiful to us because they embody the principles of the cosmic order of which we are a part; conversely, the limitlessness of that order is revealed by the strictness of its forms. The author shows how we, as humans, are included in the universal harmony of form, and suggests that the union of complementary opposites may be a way to extend that harmony to the psychological and social realms as well.
I personally see The Power of Limits as a revelation of the beauty and wisdom of limitation itself. Each form is limited by its inner orderly nature as well as outer, imposed limitations. Were such limitations not to exist, undifferentiated growth would manifest in everything and, frankly, beauty would never result; nor would function. And there would be no possibility of and form of self-awareness arising from such a cacophony as would result without limits. In other words, the harmony, order, and beauty that abounds everywhere would be impossible, as would human beings and nature itself as we know them.
I have lived with this book for almost 40 years and still find it one of the most profound studies ever published. It is as revealing and wise as the forms it studies - I hope many, many people are able to experience it.