…After I finished high school, I got a job typing the reports of a company of local archaeologists.
The company specialized in pre-historic archaeology–that is, the study of artifacts produced by people who did not have writing.
In our area, you can discover a pre-historic artifact while you are out for a walk. There are still Algonquian arrowheads and potsherds lying on the surface of the earth.
Contrast this with archaeology in the Old City of Jerusalem. On Monday evening, we walked down four flights of steps from street level. We emerged into a cistern that was built to hold water for use in the Temple in the fifth century B.C.
There are books written about the building of that temple–they can be found in the Old Testament. My point is: In Jerusalem, archaelogists have dug and dug and dug, and they still have not gotten to the pre-historic level.
And here is some more perspective: In our day and age, since the beginning of the Digital/Organic Era (which began when Bill Gates’ net worth reached $1 trillion), “new” refers to something that came into being in the last half-nanosecond.
In Rome, there is a beautiful church called Chiesa Nuova, the “New Church.” It was completed in 1606.
In Jerusalem, the Nea, the “new” church in honor of Mary the Mother of God, has lay buried beneath the rubble of earthquake and Persian destruction for 1200 years.
Today is the day the Nea was dedicated in A.D. 543.
Our Lady was born in Jerusalem. She was among the girls who cared for the Temple paraphernalia.
The above is a mosaic map of Christian Jerusalem. It is not easy to read. The Cardo, or main street, runs left to right through the middle of the city. The huge ancient basilica of the Holy Sepulcher is below the main street, the Nea is above it, to the right. There was an annual procession between the two churches.
…I am sorry that I allowed the following “Bests” list to get as stale as five-year-old granola bars. It is retired. An exciting new edition is available behind the Bests tab above.
In honor of St. Matthew’s feast day, we present El Greco’s portrait of him:
This painting is in the El Greco Museum in Toledo, Spain.
As you can see, El Greco’s figures are elongated.
The museum guide in the Prado in Madrid told us that all the people in El Greco’s paintings are 13% taller than they should be.
By the by…El Greco was indeed a Greek. He was from Crete. (He was a Cretan, though hardly a cretin.)
The Spaniards could not pronounce his name, so they called him “The Greek.” (No relation to Jimmy the Greek.)
Jean Poyet was a late-medieval illuminator who produced the beautiful image of the Mass you see below. He also drew a magnificent St. Matthew.
The picture of St. Matthew is in the “Book of Hours of Henry VIII,” which is in the Morgan Library in New York. Alas, I cannot find the image of St. Matthew anywhere on the ol’ internet, so here’s Poyet’s picture of the Holy Mass instead.
It is nice to be back in familiar pastures. Your servant has returned for a holiday at the beach, and we find ourselves at the wifi hotspot where this little weblog began.
In its first year of publication, Preacher and Big Daddy has seen its ups and downs. When it comes to readership, we have taken this motto from Seneca: “A few is enough for me. So is one. So is none.”
That said, we enjoy a few hundred visitors each day. It may be true, dear reader, that you would never join a club that would accept you as a member. Nonetheless, the P&BD society is a happy, medium-sized group.
In honor of our first anniversary, the editorial staff has decided to open up the Bests page to comments, especially nominations for Best Post of the Year and Stupidest Post of the Year. Do not hold back!
I was able to see King Lear at the Harman Center through the gracious generosity of a friend, and I am grateful for his kindness.
We have been down this road before. The Shakespeare-Theatre-Company production of Twelfth Night turned out to be painfully “gimmick-ridden,” and utterly unsatisfying for this “Shakespeare fundamentalist.”
The problem is: Their production of King Lear is laden with more gimmicks than twelve Twelfth Nights. And all of the gimmicks in this production of King Lear are gross with a capital G.
Gross beyond the point of gratuity. Gross beyond the point of abysmal taste. Gross to the point of embarrassment.