The Bard in the Bible. Here is a mystery for Shakespeare fans and inquisitive youngsters who know what the King James Version of the Bible is. Most of the translation work commissioned by James I of England and VI of Scotland was done by William Tyndale. The English language in the King James is perhaps the finest in all English literature – including the works of Shakespeare. Tyndale’s name has never been as well-known as that of the Bard, but they were near contemporaries, and Tyndale may have been responsible for the following homage, if homage it is . . . Continue reading
With a name tricky both to spell and to pronounce, this German philosopher was born in 1844, son of a sheep herder in Saxony. He was brought up a true Protestant, and became Professor of Classical Studies at Basle when he was only twenty-five. There he stayed for ten years, before a possibly syphilitic condition spoiled his health and his vocation as a teacher. Then he started writing, chasing sunshine in both France and Italy.
Of the several philosophical works he composed between 1873 and 1888 the best known are Thus Spake Zarathustra and Good and Evil. In 1889 he lost his reason and was cared for by his sister until his death. He had lost all faith in Christianity, despite his strong Christian upbringing, believing only in ‘The Will to Power’ (Schopenhaur) as the Source and Meaning of Life. Continue reading
Burgos is one of the principal cities in Spain, it has a large population, a famous cathedral, biting arctic winds that freeze one to the marrow and, at the moment anyway, a town hall where the mayor and his councillors govern with an absolute majority awarded them by the voters of Burgos. Spain has been a democratic country since the death of Franco and the subsequent modelling of the Constitution. It is not a one-party state, nor is it a dictatorship. A democracy requires local or national government given a majority, absolute or minute to keep the peace, obey laws even if they hurt, because the assumption must be that if the people vote overwhelmingly for a party to govern them, they shouldn’t grumble. Continue reading
Give us your answers in the form of a Comment
“I must have a drink of breakfast.”
“Somebody left the cork out of my lunch!”
“She’s all done up like a well-kept grave.”
“I exercise extreme self control. I never drink anything stronger than gin before breakfast.”
“If at first you don’t succeed, try again. Then quit.”
“I never vote for anyone. I always vote against.”
A female neighbour rushed out to the new green lawn where our subject was engaged in shooting singing birds with an air rifle. She remonstrated. He replied, “I’ll go on shooting them till they shit green!”
Our subject said he hated all children and small animals. When questioned, he responded: “Anyone who hates small dogs and children can’t be all bad.”
And also: “A woman drove me to drink but I never had the courtesy to thank her.”
You can treat the last two quotations as a clue.
Edmund Burke was born in Dublin in 1729. Educated in this city, it was not long before he quit ‘the bogs of Ireland’ and moved to London, where he got the job of being private secretary to Lord Rockingham in 1765, when Burke was 36. So far so slow, but the Irishman never wasted a moment of his long apprenticeship with Rockingham, which lasted until the latter’s death in 1872. Continue reading
Nearly seventy years after the dropping of an atomic bomb over this naval port and military base in Japan the debate still rages. Was the action of the United States necessary? How many people died because of the exploded bomb? To what extent were President Truman and General Eisenhower involved in the decision to use the newly invented horror weapon? Would the Japanese have carried on fighting World War II in the Pacific if the bomb had not been used? Continue reading
There can be found marked differences between westernized philosophy and the Indian, Chinese, Arabic and African versions. These speculate more about the nature of the world, human existence, offering a solution to the tormenting ills of the day, investigating the scope of rational questioning and super-naturalism.
Western philosophy is calculated to have started six or seven centuries before the birth of Christ, in the Greek-speaking area around the Aegean Sea, also southern Italy. These first western philosophers concerned themselves with enquiring into the nature and origin of all things. They were naturalistic, and managed without recourse to myth or legend. Best remembered are Plato (died in or around 348 BC) and Aristotle (died circa 322 BC). They have proved the most influential, because they delved into every known area of knowledge. Continue reading
He is one of those orators of whom it was well said, ‘Before they get up, they do not know what they are going to say; when they are speaking, they do not know what they are saying; and when they have sat down, they do not know what they have said’. To the House of Commons, February, 1906.
I remember that as a child I was taken to the circus, which contained an exhibition of freaks and monsters. The one I most desired to see was called ‘The Boneless Wonder’ My parents judged that the spectacle would be too revolting for my youthful eyes; I have waited fifty years to see the boneless wonder sitting on the Treasury bench. To the House of Commons, January 1931, referring to Mr Ramsay Macdonald. Continue reading
This is a favourite (or favorite term) used mainly by British social commentators and diplomats to describe what they like to see as special Anglo-American relations. The term reflects language ties as well as cultural ones; shared values and interests. There is no truth in it: it is nothing but a very large dose of wishful thinking on the part of wistful British statesmen. There is an astonishing lack of realism in this romantic idea of a ‘special relationship’ between the United States and Britain.
At the end of the nineteenth century and up to the beginning of the Great War in 1914, Americans regarded Great Britain’s astonishing Empire (more than a sixth of the world’s land surface) with jealousy. Many US presidents wondered openly how they could wrest it away from the Limeys, and perhaps form their own, even bigger Empire. A wonderful opportunity arose when Europe caught fire following the killing of the Austrian arch-duke and his wife in Sarajevo. War broke out in Europe in 1914, but the enormous might and weight of the States did not enter it until 1917, after three years of slaughter, when it was calculated that Britain, France and indeed Germany were so exhausted physically and economically that they could do no more. This was the moment when Uncle Sam got there, and her commanders reversed the maps to their advantage. It was indeed a ‘special relationship’. The pathetic Brits breathed a sigh of relief; they lost on average one man (or boy fresh from the classroom) from every family in the most savage and futile war that has ever been fought. ‘The Yanks are Here!’ they sang, having little or no idea of the harshness of all international relations. Continue reading
A bit of a dirty word since 1938 but it shouldn’t be. There is enough appeasement going on now over the disgusting situation in Syria to fill the Golden Bowl with appeasers eager to keep Assad Junior happy. It is all rather puzzling. With one Bush, America went with its cautious allies to war against Iraq because Saddam invaded Kuwait. Firepower won, of course, but Saddam’s government remained! Then Bush Jr. went to war with Iraq with equally cautious allies, beat him up, and permitted the locals to lynch Saddam in a particularly horrible way. Now in Syria the Assad boy kills hundreds of fellow citizens every day, even using poison gas to do it, and the world’s committees sit expensively around asking themselves what to do. Continue reading