Yet another knitting blog, with elements of suspense and mystery thrown in ...

Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Gospel of Judas/Da Vinci Code

Has it really been this long?? Ooooh, so sorry. Fill in your favorite believable excuse here.
No progress on the house sale, but the kitchen is now lookin' fine. Check it out here Please leave any favorable comments, and I will bless you every night in my prayers.

Speaking of which - I have a simple comment to make on the appearance of the "gospel" of Judas and the Da Vinci code.

-- It was heresy then, and it is heresy now. Thank you. --

I read the Da Vinci Code and enjoyed it for its speed and convoluted travels to enchanting locales. It reads fast because it doesn't make you think much, and then afterwards, you feel like you just bought a used car. No one I have ever discussed it with or heard discuss it ever mentions the curious fact that in the first couple chapters the author identifies the anagram as the Ars Magna in Latin, but "ars magna" IS an anagram of the word "anagram." I thought that would play a twisty little part in the future plot, but "Noooooo," it was just mentioned, and then dropped into the sea of vague turbidity, never to be significant at all....

I thought it was pretty nifty, myself.

For any readers out there who want a great compelling book with literary overtones, I recommend the writer Edmund Crispin, who captures a train ride into Oxford with a vividness I can only dream to achieve. That description is found in the first pages of his "The Gilded Fly." he only wrote nine mysteries, all of which are keenly enjoyable. The other two I really enjoyed were _The Long Divorce_ and _Love Lies Bleeding_. Neither of these is about anything in the title, so don't be put off.

The Knitting (what you are really here for, I know)

I finished Adrienne Vittadini's lacy and daring bell-sleeve Martina sweater - as did Grumperina recently, but I abided by the directions, and got very long sleeves and a risque decollete. Now I need a camisole. The yarn is from a 1970's yard sale from an older woman's estate sale after her death. It was part of her stash for at least 20 years. Do I get credit somewhere for reducing someone else's stash after they have died? When I washed it, a horrible mothball smell emanated from the yarn. Eucalan, here I come!!!!

I have a teacher-present-in-progress (TPIP?) of some lacy short socks in a French Vanilla color of micro-spun. Somehow, the sock should be knitting up with fewer interruptions than it is. I think my small pointy size 1 needles are splitting the micro-spun layers more often than I can make any speed with. But they are pretty.

Gospel of Judas information which I found interesting, but is a little long, follows: He had no knitting content whatever in his writings.

CHARLESTON, SC (April 10, 2006)--The "Gospel of Judas" was known to have existed for some time since it was mentioned by Bishop Irenaeus (120-200 CE) but now is part of the Nag Hammadi discoveries of 1945-46. The recent publication of its careful reconstruction and translation has given it considerable notoriety. Its claim that Judas was the favorite disciple and was instructed by Jesus to betray him has provided the media with extraordinary attention that needs to be put into context. The context for "The Gospel of Judas" was that it is only one of many Gnostic alternatives to the Christian Gospel.

The Gnostics held many complex and varied beliefs, but generally they valued inquiry into spiritual truth above faith. They believed salvation was attainable only by the few. These few were able by their belief to transcend matter and the material world,which they considered evil. They viewed Jesus Christ as one of the deities who was not fully human, having only a phantasmal body. The quotation of Jesus from this gospel, "You will be greater than all the others, Judas. You will sacrifice the man that clothes me," is a clear indication of the Gnostic alternative to Christianity. According to this gospel, Jesus' "body" is sacrificed, but his spiritual self is unscathed. This belief builds on an earlier heresy, Docetism, that taught that Jesus did not really suffer on the cross but only seemed to suffer and seemed to die.

What most modem observers miss is the wonderful work done by the early church fathers, especially Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Hippolytus in saving the Christian Gospel from these cruel distortions. Heresy appeals to our fallen nature in every generation, including our own. The esoteric (intended for or understood by only a small group) nature of Gnosticism appeals to our human pride and condescension to others.

The great loss that results from Gnostic gospels like Judas' is that it leads us to believe that we need no redemption for our sinful wills, only freedom from our material bodies. What is lost in the Gnostic "gospels" is the trust in and knowledge of God, whom we call "Father;" that the material world and our bodies are good; that we sinners have been shown mercy, not just given secret knowledge; that the suffering of Christ gives hope and fellowship in our suffering; and that as Christ was raised from the dead, so our deaths are not the last word. Unfortunately, the media too often turn to the "experts," many of whom donot call themselves Christians, to explain the significance of something like the newly found Gnostic "Gospel of Judas." It is like asking a vegetarian to tell us how to cook steaks or a Muslim to explain the religion of the Hindu. The idea that a powerful, defensive church suppressed these wonderful teachings ignores the fact that the Christian church was a despised sect persecuted by the Roman empire, run out of synagogues and beset by fantastic distortions of the Gospel. We owe an incalculable debt to those early church leaders, such as Irenaeus, who preserved for us the Christian Gospel, which we would never ourselves ever have imagined.

Christine's note: Henry Rogers, a minister of 100 years ago, said, "The Bible is a book that a man would never have written if he could, nor could have written if he would."

Further reading on this subject can be found in The Cruelty of Heresy: An Affirmation of Christian Orthodoxy, which is available from Morehouse Publishing, P. O. Box 1321, Harrisburg, Penn., 17105---The Rt. Rev. C. FitzSimons Allison is a retired Episcopal Bishop of South Carolina, who holds a doctorate in Anglican history from Oxford University.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

I Done Been Tagged

Here are the answers to the latest meme:

Five weird things about myself:

1. Although a Summa Cum Laude English major at a private college, I can never spell "occasionally" correctly on the first try.
2. I am the only person I know who has read Every Single Page of Will and Ariel Durant's _The Story of Civilization_. (Shouldn't there be some large monetary reward for that?)
3. I can speak and read simple Russian.
4. I find authors I like, and then read through every word they have ever written before going on to another author. I also try to collect the whole works of my favorite authors, and have substantially all of the works of John Buchan, J.B. Priestley, Charles Dickens, E.C.R. Lorac and Ann Bridge.
5.Mentally, I live in England.

Seven Things I would like to Do before I Die:

1. Go on a 10-day walking tour of Cornwall, England with Contours Ltd.
2. Visit my mother's childhood home in the Ardennes of Belgium with all of my children, and stop off at the beach in Ostende for a month on the same trip.
3. Spend a month in New Zealand, knitting my head off.
4. Lead 20+ people to Christ.
5. Run a storefront yarn shop in towm called Niwot Knits .... Wi Not Knit?
6. Learn to do Calligraphy in a reliably beautiful hand.
7. Become famous for something meaningful so my high school unrequited crush would know what he missed.