Scott D. Moringiello
Scott D. Moringiello is a Lawrence C. Gallen fellow in the Humanities at Villanova University, where he teaches the Augustine and Culture Seminar and courses in the theology department.
By this author
It's better in Greek. Isn't it always?*
In English, we have the adjective bittersweet. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word can be both a noun and an adjective, although it is primarily used as an adjective to mean, "Sweet with an admixture or aftertaste of bitterness. fig. agreeable or pleasant with an alloy of pain or unpleasantness." But, to continue the metaphor, the bitter taste remains in our mouth far longer than the sweet taste does.
I would hate to sound like Pauline Kael on Nixon or Peggy Noonan on Obama, but could someone please tell me: who loves Lena Dunhams much-discussed HBO show Girls? Or maybe someone could tell me if he or she thinks Girls is worthy of all the hype it has received. I'd settle for anyone who thought the show was compelling. It seems as though all the Very Serious Critics* think Girls has touched the Zeitgeist in some important way. It was nominated for an Emmy Award in the Best Comedy category.
Then Herod, when he saw that the had been tricked by the Wise Men, was in a furious rage, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time which he had ascertained from the Wise Men. Thus was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:
A voice was heard in Ramah,
Wailing and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
She refused to be consoled,
Because they were no more Matthew 2:16-17
John Connelly, the sage of Regis High School in New York City, once told a class of 30 sixteen year-olds, "Gentlemen, the culture wars are over. We lost." The class's discussion was emphatically not about any number of hot button social or political issues of the day. In fact, the reading assignment we were discussing described the way nineteenth-century German scholars came to define academic curricula, about what counted as classics, and whether literary works written in modern languages were worthy of study.
The most recent Commonweal features an article by Professor Joseph Amar about the fate of Syrian Christians in the current violence in that country. In a short space, Amar discusses the political situation of contemporary Syria and the relationship between the Syriac churches and the West. Amar also gives a brief introduction to St. Ephrem the Syrian, who is arguably the greatest Syriac poet and theologian and one of the greatest of all Christian poets and theologians.
When I was studying in England, one of my teachers asked me if I was one of those American intellectuals who loves baseball. American? Absolutely. Intellectual? Hardly. Loves baseball? Well, that's complicated. You see, I'm a Mets fan, and so loving baseball means loving the Mets, which means hopeful Aprils and heartbreaking Septembers and lots of heartache in between. The perennial success of the hated crosstown Yankees with their rich history and big payroll doesn't help matters.
My friend Cathy Kaveny has a few posts up on dotCommonweal about obstacles to evangelization. Christ blames the Pharisees for not understanding the signs of the times (Matthew 16:2-3), and Cathy is right to ask her readers to be sensitive to what might prevent people from embracing the Gospel message.
In honor of Bloomsday, here are three of my favorite paragraphs from "Nausicaa," one of my favorite episodes:THE SUMMER EVENING HAD BEGUN TO FOLD THE WORLD IN ITS mysterious embrace.
[Please read Edward Wheeler's fine reflection before you read this.]
Higher education is much in the news these days. The New Yorker has an article about Stanford's relationship with Silicon Valley. Frank Bruni worries about philosophy majors finding jobs, and Charles Morris worries that college is becoming a luxury item.