procrastination, heresy, and navel-gazing.

Friday, September 07, 2007

O'Donovan and Boney M

when Henry Schaefer did the New College lectures a few years ago, i was trying hard to concentrate. when i read the transcript of his talk, i was riveted!

therefore, let me say how much i am looking forward to reading Oliver O'Donovan's three talks for this year's NC lectures, Morally Awake.

for a clear recollection of the talks, please look at Byron's excellent blog.
when the transcripts are up at the NC website, i do of course hope to read them and comment on them.

possibly, missing the first two talks, as well as the poor acoustics, and being out of the line of sight also contributed to my poor attention on the night.

however, one of the times my ears really pricked up was, after his castigation of Aristoteleans for their unthinking spontanaeity, he mentioned the shift found in Psalm 137 (the one made famous by Boney M).

i can hear you singing along now, "by the rivers of Bablylon..."
but it really is a horrific psalm. after the 6 verses of moving lament, the psalter gets angry. really angry. of the Babylonians, they say (i really could not imagine this ever being sung),
Blessed shall be he who takes your little ones
and dashes them against the rock.
now, whether he was unwilling to quote this, or just assumed we knew of it, it really is shocking.
yet understandable.
that the people of the exile, who were being tormented with song-requests by their captors, lamenting the loss of their land, their temple, and possibly their God, seemingly lose their resolve, and wish the harshest of punishments, on God's vessels of his punishment for Israel's idolatry.

but such shifts, i guess, are what makes me question people's resolve. to what extent are we responsible when we see such spontaneous shifts in our characters?
to what extent should we hold others responsible for their own such shifts?

please don't take this as an accurate reconstruction of the talk! the two things may've been completely unconnected in the talk, and the further reflections on the psalm are mine alone. as i said, when the transcripts are up, i can get the context to his mentioning of the psalm! stay tuned...

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Blogger travelsizedmay said...

i went on wednesday (left my lecture early) and ended up reading through the rest of my lecture slides, and lecture material in the talk. haha.

it was interesting, but i'm just not good at paying the attention it requires.

but there were some really good points made. some things about perspective and he is a very clever man.

but yeah i too will be very interested to see the transcripts.

and on the other note with that psalm, we were reading through jonah the other night, and his reaction when God won't destroy the ninevites is quite 'surprising' for someone who you see as preaching the word of God - though he was really talking of the impending judgment rather than doing 2 ways to live...but still.


9:08 pm  
Blogger Mark said...

Having missed the last talk, but having heard the first two ... I'm likewise looking forward to the posting of the papers/recordings.

In the meantime, how did O'Donovan wrap up the series? Did he review or apply the three talks in conclusion? What was the "take-home" message?

4:08 pm  

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