Thursday, October 13, 2011

October's Overly Ambitious Reading List

1. Gilgamesh, A New English Version, by Stephen Mitchell

I've actually finished this.  It was an enjoyable read and easily finished in about a day or two. The Introduction took longer than the actual epic to read through, but it was very informative.  There were some interesting images in the poem that I found to be echoes of images used in the book of Daniel, though I guess it would be more accurate to say that Daniel contains the echoes of Gilgamesh-ian images because Gilgamesh existed long before Daniel.  I may have more to say on that later.

2. The Post Office, by Rabindranath Tagore

Another quick read. This short play about a young, sick boy longing to explore the world just outside of his window would be interesting to see performed rather than read. I picked this up on a whim merely because it was shelved in close proximity to Gilgamesh.

3. Yearnings; Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life, by Irwin Kula with Linda Lowenthal

I've only begun reading this and there are immediately some refreshing points made in the first chapter.  On the other hand, this is more of an inspirational book and I might soon tire of being inspired! I can only handle a certain amount of encouragement at one time.

4. The Confessions, by Augustine.

This is a second attempt for me.  The first version I picked up was translated into a KJV-type English and it was too much for me to slog through.  This is a more contemporary translation and much easier to read without being distracted by the anachronistic English of the other version.

5. The Republic, by Plato

This is the truly ambitious part of my reading list. I have never directly read Plato, or any of the Greek philosophers. I have been made familiar with some of their ideas through other works, or in a general way, but I haven't taken the time to read the original material. I don't know if I'll get through it because I find reading philosophy boring and obtuse beyond a very general presentation.  Diving into endless details and arguments about the preciseness of terms and the perpetual "if-then" soon tires me.  We'll see if I actually complete it.

On a side note, it was very odd that Plato's Republic was shelved near current political books, most of which I wouldn't consider serious works, like a book by Pat Robertson and other "authors" of his caliber. It seemed out of place to have Robertson and Plato side by side. Poor Plato, unable to defend himself or request better quarters for his works!

5 comments:

atimetorend said...

" There were some interesting images in the poem that I found to be echoes of images used in the book of Daniel, though I guess it would be more accurate to say that Daniel contains the echoes of Gilgamesh-ian images because Gilgamesh existed long before Daniel. I may have more to say on that later."

Of course if you are to use evangelical apologetics, you could say that the oral history predated the writing of Gilgamesh, but was just recorded there before Daniel. And maybe even demonic influence was involved! Both Daniel and Gilgamesh sound pretty far-fetched to me as history. :^)

MInTheGap said...

Plato is deep, but what I found interesting is how relevant the writing is to what I saw around me. A lot of the current political trends that are billed as new truly aren't.

terri said...

atimtorend,

I don't think anyone views Gilgamesh as history...other than proposing that there may have been a king by that name at some point in time, but other than the name, everything else in the epic is clearly mythical.

atimetorend said...

You're right of course, and I was not clear. The apologetics I have seen referencing Gilgamesh are making a claim for the literal historicity of Genesis. They try to provide an explanation for why Genesis' concept of a global flood are pre-dated by the writing of Gilgamesh. Because of course the author's of Genesis couldn't just be copying from another myth (they say).

Sorry about the rabbit trail...

JSA said...

Thanks for the mini-reviews. I just picked up a copy of that version of Gilgamesh for my Kindle. Looks good.