Friday, February 26, 2016

Friday Favorites: Summarizing scripture in a few verses, Learning Italian, and John Milton's Quest for Truth

Have you ever read the Bible summarized in 66 verses? I just stumbled across this post-written back in 2010. It's a stunning example of the thread that runs through the Old and New Testaments. The verses are wonderful and put together, gives a meaningful framework to reading the Bible.

A Mormon blogger was so inspired by this exercise that she summarized the Book of Mormon in 15 verses. Again, this provides a powerful framework for the entire text.

Jhumpa Lahiri's essay in the New Yorker three months ago about learning Italian is one of those landmark pieces, I will never forget. My own struggles with learning Swedish came to mind. Her essay encouraged me to return to my Swedish studies using the Duolingo app on my iPad.

When I was at university, I took a class on John Milton and it changed the way I thought about religious writing. Milton argued passionately in front of parliament about the freedom of press in his speech, Areopagitica, One passage in his address in particular gave me chills.

"Truth indeed came once into the world with her divine Master, and was a perfect shape most glorious to look on: but when he ascended, and his Apostles after Him were laid asleep, then straitarose a wicked race of deceivers, who as that story goes of the Ã†gyptian Typhon with his conspirators, how they dealt with the good Osiris, took the virgin Truth, hewd her lovely form into a thousand peeces, and scatter'd them to the four winds. From that time ever since, the sad friends of Truth, such as durst appear, imitating the carefull search that Isismade for the mangl'd body of Osiris, went up and down gathering up limb by limb still as they could find them. We have not yet found them all, Lords and Commons, nor ever shall doe, till her Masters second comming; he shall bring together every joynt and member, and shall mould them into an immortall feature of lovelines and perfection."

Milton was a passionate seeker of truth and recognized that the whole truth wasn't on the earth at the time. This passage reminds me to seek diligently for truth and also to seek for guidance to recognize truth when I see or hear it.


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