Some Links

  • Fr. Alexis Trader writes about using patristics to complement psychotherapy methods. I especially liked what he says on p. 90: “The Church Fathers have long pointed out that the word metanoia [repentance] means specific changes in one’s way of thinking in which the nous, that is, the governing seat of the mind, is ‘transferred from that which is bad to that which is good.'” I suffer from religious scruples, and I think it’s totally true that focusing on negative things and intrusive thoughts only leads to you bigger problems and nastier thoughts. Later on he gives an interesting list of what Fathers have suggested to deal with these thoughts: “vocalizing them to someone else, exposing them by writing them down, disdaining them, and engaging in other intellectual activities such as the memorization of Bible verses or language learning. The individual can also alter his approach to the thoughts by contrasting them to reason or the Gospel of Christ, by analyzing them introspectively distinguishing between their logical meaning and subjective emotional connotations, or by observing the external situational factors that can contribute to the persistence of problematic thoughts.” (pp. 90-91).
  • An article from famous Oriental scholar Robert Hoyland on the history of writing a historical account of Muhammad and the problems in trying to do so. An interesting point he makes is that there were many different genres of tradition passed down, presumably with varying levels of reliability expected of each: some stories, for example, were told more for edification than anything else.
  • As a counterpoint to the above, here is an article from Islam scholar Jonathan A.C. Brown, who is much more critical than Hoyland of the common tendency among scholars to be highly skeptical of all early Muslim sources.
  • Behold the final actions of an insect who lived 50 million years ago.
  • Some quotes from famous Catholic biblical scholar Fr. Raymond E. Brown, S.S.

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