A willing servant, yet never a slave. Each is totally reliant upon the other. Each is the selfless guardian of the other's very well-being. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh it was. My very heart leapt with the sound. No one will tire of looking at him as long as he will display himself in his splendor. We two have shared great joy and great sorrow. And now I stand at the gate of the paddock watching you run in an ecstasy of freedom, knowing you will return to stand quietly, loyally, beside me.
He knows when you're comfortable. He knows when you're confident. And he always knows when you have carrots. One must get on a horse to see what God has made. A cat looks down on a man.
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But a patient horse looks a man in the eye and sees him as an equal. But today, when only those who like horses own them, it is a far better time for horses. You will never regret it. Ambrose in Milan, reading, perhaps, Saint Augustine's Confessions. Like Ambrose, the reader has become deaf and blind to the world, to the passing crowds, to the chalky flesh-coloured facades of the buildings.
Nobody seems to notice a concentrating reader: withdrawn, intent, the reader becomes commonplace. To Augustine, however, such reading manners seemed aufficiently strange for him to note them in his Confessions. The implication is that this method of reading, this silent perusing of the page, was in his time something out of the ordinary, and that normal reading was performed out loud. Even though instances of silent reading can be traced to earlier dates, not until the tenth century does this manner of reading become usual in theWest. Augustine's description of Ambrose's silent reading including the remark that he never read aloud is the first definite instance recorded in Western literature.
Earlier examples are far more uncertain. In the fifth century BC, two plays show characters reading on stage: in Euripides' Hippolytus, Theseus reads in silence a letter held by his dead wife; in Aristophanes' The Knights, Demosthenes looks at a writing-tablet sent by an oracle and, without saying out loud what it contains, seems taken aback by what he has read.
If reading out loud was the norm from the beginnings of the written word, what was it like to read in the great ancient libraries? The Assyrian scholar consulting one of the thirty thousand tablets in the library of King Ashurbanipal in the seventh century BC, the unfurlers of scrolls at the libraries of Alexandria and Pergamum, Augustine himself looking for a certain text in the libraries of Carthage and Rome, must have worked in the midst of a rumbling din. However, even today not all libraries preserve the proverbial silence. In the seventies, in Milan's beautiful Biblioteca Ambrosiana, there was nothing like the stately silence I had noticed in the British Library in London or the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris.
The readers at the Ambrosiana spoke to one another from desk to desk; from time to time someone would call out a question or a name, a heavy tome would slam shut, a cartful of books would rattle by. These days, neither the British Library nor the Bibliotheque Nationale is utterly quiet; the silent reading is punctuated by the clicking and tapping of portable word- processors, as if flocks of woodpeckers lived inside the book-lined halls.
Was it different then, in the days of Athens or Pergamum, trying to concentrate with dozens of readers laying out tablets or unfurling scrolls, mumbling away to themselves an infinity of different stories? Perhaps they didn't hear the din; perhaps they didn't know that it was possible to read in any other way.
In any case, we have no recorded instances of readers complaining of the noise in Greek or Roman libraries-as Seneca, writing in the first century, complained of having to study in his noisy private lodgings. Augustine himself, in a key passage of the Confessions, describes a moment in which the two readings-voiced and silent-take place almost simultaneously.http://ujeta.es/log/como/como-hago-para-espiar-el-celular-de-mi-novia.php
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Anguished by indecision, angry at his past sins, frightened that at last the time of his reckoning has come, Augustine walks away from his friend Alypius, with whom he has been reading out loud in Augustine's summer garden, and flings himself down under a fig-tree to weep. Suddenly, from a nearby house, he hears the voice of a child-boy or girl, he can't say-singing a song whose refrain is tolle, lege, "take up and read".
Augustine says, "I took hold of it and opened it, and in silence I read the first section on which my eyes fell. Thunderstruck, he comes to the end of the sentence. The "light of trust" floods his heart and "the darkness of doubt" is dispelled. Alypius, startled, asks Augustine what has affected him so. Augustine who, in a gesture so familiar to us across those alien centuries, has marked the place he was reading with a finger and closed the book shows his friend the text.
I had no idea what followed, which was this: Him that is weak in the faith receive ye. There in that garden in Milan, one day in August of the year , Augustine and his friend read Paul's Epistles much as we would read the book today: the one silently, for private learning; the other out loud, to share with his companion the revelation of a text. Curiously, while Ambrose's prolonged wordless perusal of a book had seemed to Augustine unexplainable, he did not consider his own silent reading surprising, perhaps because he had merely looked at a few essential words.
Augustine, a professor of rhetoric who was well versed in poetics and the rhythms of prose, a scholar who hated Greek but loved Latin, was in the habit-common to most readers-of reading anything he found written for sheer delight in the sounds. For Augustine the spoken word was an intricate part of the text itself-bearing in mind Martial's warning, uttered three centuries earlier:. Written words, from the days of the first Sumerian tablets, were meant to be pronounced out loud, since the signs carried implicit, as if it were their soul, a particular sound.
The classic phrase scripta manes, verba volat-which has come to mean, in our time, "what is written remains, what is spoken vanishes into air"-used to express the exact opposite; it was coined in praise of the word said out loud, which has wings and can fly, as compared to the silent word on the page, which is motionless, dead.
Faced with a written text, the reader had a duty to lend voice to the silent letters, the scripta, and to allow them to become, in the delicate biblical distinction, verba, spoken words-spirit. The primordial languages of the Bible-Aramaic and Hebrew-do not differentiate between the act of reading and the act of speaking; they name both with the same word. In sacred texts, where every letter and the number of letters and their order were dictated by the godhead, full comprehension required not only the eyes but also the rest of the body: swaying to the cadence of the sentences and lifting to one's lips the holy words, so that nothing of the divine could be lost in the reading.
My grandmother read the Old Testament in this manner, mouthing the words and moving her body back and forth to the rhythm of her prayer.
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I can see her in her dim apartment in the Barrio del Once, the Jewish neighbourhood of Buenos Aires, intoning the ancient words from her bible, the only book in her house, whose black covers had come to resemble the texture of her own pale skin grown soft with age. Among Muslims too the entire body partakes of the holy reading. In Islam, the question of whether a sacred text is to be heard or read is of essential importance.
The ninthcentury scholar Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Hanbal phrased it in this manner: since the original Koran-the Mother of the Book, the Word of God as revealed by Allah to Muhammad-is uncreated and eternal, did it become present only in its utterance in prayer, or did it multiply its being on the perused page for the eye to read, copied out in different hands throughout the human ages?
We do not know whether he received an answer, because in his question earned him the condemnation of the mihnah, or Islamic inquisition, instituted by the Abassid caliphs. Relativists decry the violence in The Passion because it exposes the violence in our own hearts. They have killed truth because truth is too coherent for them and they want the benefit of incoherence. Absolutes always restrict for the right reasons. Only in that sequence can life be lived out logically. Cultural liberalism had better wake up to the truth. The bottom line is that humanity is broken on the inside.
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We live with contradiction because life has fallen apart within. We dress it up with language like makeup plastered over a corpse, as if we have given it life again. Until we see the truth of our own brokenness we will be shattering everything and making a hell around us. This is where reality has a strange way of calling our bluff. God does not leave us destitute. And amid all our self-centeredness, a rude awakening has come to us as an earthquake of gigantic proportions rocked continents the day after Christmas, and tens of thousands of people were swept into the sea.
This is a tragedy too horrific to imagine. We have all sat glued to our television sets numbed by the loss of life. What is the question the cultural liberal asks? How can God allow such a thing? Where is God when such catastrophes happen? Maybe it is time someone whispered that when Christmas was banned, the right to ask any question of God ought to have been banned as well. In the courtroom of reality he was found guilty by his own interrogation.
Analyze the question. It is a self-defeating question for the scientific naturalist to ask why this happened because very few animals were lost in the tragedy. They intuitively sensed the danger that approached and fled long before the water could reach the shores. Naturalism breaks under the weight of its own argument. Similarly, the philosophical naturalist poses the question in a self-defeating way, for to ask the question is to assume a moral framework and there cannot be a moral world for the philosophical naturalist. According to this belief, our world came from primordial slime; can good or bad come from such chemistry?
What about the Hindu or Buddhist? He would have to say that this was the karma of the individuals who perished in the deluge. And the Muslim? And so the very question betrays that the soul is not completely dead in the West. A sovereign God in his grace has given us the freedom to ask such questions.
You see, in our human courtrooms revisionist wordsmiths in the role of prosecutor may play tricks with the words of others, but in the court of reality their own words will accuse and indict them. Whether we like it or not, only the reason for the season gives reason to the question and only in that season is the reason for the answer. That is why Christmas will always be celebrated in the heart even when it is denied public utterance.
I would be remiss if I did not end with a warning and a glimmer of hope. Maybe I can summarize it in two illustrations. I do that each time I go to Delhi. But there had been a lot of rains and some of the graves had sunk into the mud. The caretaker said that he no longer had the register in his possession to tell me where she was buried. I began to get quite anxious about the possible loss of her grave. Then all of a sudden, I saw her name and the verse of Scripture that was inscribed above it. I was so grateful and proceeded to arrange for another, taller stone to be erected there.
You see, even a grave has significance because it is a marker of a life, a relationship, and a memory.
Those who seek to change our vocabulary are gradually eradicating the relationship between truth and culture, between the past and the present. They want to remove all markers that brought us this far. They should be sure that if they continue in this way the very worldview they have put into place will one day eradicate them as well. Do you remember the words of Martin Niemoller who tried to warn those who remained silent to the Nazi atrocities?
He said,. Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me. Those who wipe out the memory of the Christian faith will find out that the logic of their position may one day lead someone to wipe them out as well, and there will be no belief left to come to their aide, for there will be no one left with reason to speak of loving those who despise you. So what is the glimmer of hope? I spent one morning going through the Forbidden City on Tiananmen Square. As I walked in the cold with some friends from one gate through to the next, deep in the inner sanctum of the palace of the Forbidden City I saw a small Starbucks.
Yes, you read that correctly. And on the window of that Starbucks it said Merry Christmas. But I found out something more, as I visited that vast land.
The Chinese Church is now one of the largest in the world. No, Mao and his Cultural Revolution, standing on the shoulders of Marx, could not stop the faith that has transformed millions throughout history. In a land where the State has stopped at nothing in its attempt to crush the spirit, the spirit has triumphed. The contradiction of contradictions may be that God uses even the wrath of men to praise Him.