Archives For History

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I ran across this fascinating article last week from The Atlantic describing a project undertaken by NC State University. Following is a bit of the article, you can click through above to read the full article.  Below the following snippet I’ve also included the overview from and link to the project’s website.

Ever wish you could visit a great moment in history? Until we figure out time travel, carefully crafted virtual journeys will have to suffice.

At the convergence of church and state in 17th-century England was a pulpit in the churchyard of St. Paul’s Cathedral called Paul’s Cross. There, crowds would gather — joined by members of the monarchy on occasion — to hear announcements of official policies and weekly Sunday sermons.

In 1622 King James published a document called “Directions Concerning Preachers,” an effort to tamp down what he saw as too-adventurous preaching by some in the Church of England. John Donne (1572-1631), best remembered as a poet but then serving as the Dean of St. Paul’s cathedral, was called upon to defend both King James’s authority and his directive. That sermon, delivered on September 15, 1622, at Paul’s Cross, exemplifies how church and state existed and worked together at that specific place in early modern London.

Less than 50 years later, the old St. Paul’s was destroyed in the Great Fire of London. The cathedral that stands today was built between 1675 and 1710.

It’s never easy to imagine what it would have been like to be present at any particular moment in history, a task made all the more difficult if the site of that moment no longer exists. But students of English history can’t help but wonder, what would John Donne have sounded like? Would it have been possible to hear him — in an age before microphones and speakers — above the din of the gathered crowd and attendant animals?

It is, sadly, impossible to travel back to 1622 to answer these questions, but researchers at North Carolina State University are working on a project that will help English-history buffs get a taste of what it would have been like to hear Donne preach.

With a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, professors John Wall and David Hill and architect Joshua Stephens are working to virtually replicate the architecture of the old St. Paul’s Cathedral to recreate what early modern Londoners would have heard on that day. Their model of the structure is based on the work of John Schofield, an archaeologist who works for St. Paul’s, who has surveyed the foundation of the old cathedral, which is still in the ground though partially underneath the existing cathedral.

To recreate the experience of hearing Donne’s sermon, linguist and historian David Crystal is working with his son, the actor Ben Crystal, to craft a reading that will follow the specific accent and style of 17th-century London English. Ben will make his recording in an anechoic (or acoustically neutral) chamber. Wall, Hill, and Stephens — together with Ben Markham, an acoustic simulation specialist in Cambridge, Massachusetts — will then be able to mash up that recording with the architectural design to simulate how Donne’s voice would have traveled when he stood in the churchyard. They are also mixing in ambient sounds that would have been common in London at that time, such as neighing horses, barking dogs, and running water.

Here’s the overview from the project site:

The Virtual Paul’s Cross Project enables us to experience the delivery of John Donne’s sermon for Gunpowder Day, November 5, 1622 as an event that unfolds over time on a particular occasion in Paul’s Churchyard, the specific physical location for which it was composed.

The Virtual Paul’s Cross Project has now been installed in the Teaching and Visualization Lab at NC State’s James B. Hunt Library.

This Installation takes advantage of the Lab’s array of 10 projectors that provide a 270 degree seamless wraparound image of Paul’s Churchyard, as well as a 21-speaker array that provides immersive surround sound for the audio portion of the installation. For more on the Installation, go here.

To explore the cathedral and its churchyard on this website, go directly to Visual ModelTo see the visual model from several angles, go to Fly Around the Visual Model.  To explore Paul’s Churchyard as an acoustic space, go directly to Acoustics.  To hear Donne’s full sermon, go directly to Hearing the SermonTo explore the audibility of the sermon, go directly to Audibility.

To learn about John Donne, the preacher, go directly to Preacher.  To learn about the script for the sermon, go directly to Developing the ScriptTo learn about the occasion for the sermon, go directly to the Order of Service.

Click through to project site.

To Be Tired of Luther . . .

January 20, 2014

From Carl Trueman:

… is to be tired of life.

Most of those who know anything about Luther’s life tend to think of his appearance at the Diet of Worms in 1521 as the point at which he was most vulnerable — the isolated reformer surrounded by the massed forces of the Holy Roman Empire and the Catholic Church.  In fact, it is clear that Electoral Saxony had a well-thought out strategy for keeping him safe.

Luther is probably most at risk in 1522, when he is recalled from the Wartburg to restore civil order in Wittenberg.  As radical iconoclasm and rioting has taken hold in his absence, he needs to bring some stability and sanity to the Wittenberg reformation or his protector, Frederick the Wise, will have no choice but to abandon his cause.    It is then that Luther really has nothing an no-one to rely on other than his own personal presence and his preaching ability.   Of course, we know that these are enough.  Luther triumphs.  Karlstadt and Zwilling are forced out.  And the Reformation moves forward.

In the struggles of early 1522, Luther preached a famous sermon on March 10 which contains one of my favourite quotations, revealing the secret of Luther’s Reformation success:

In short, I will preach it [the Word], teach it, write it, but I will constrain no man by force, for faith must come freely without compulsion. Take myself as an example. I opposed indulgences and all the papists, but never with force. I simply taught, preached, and wrote God’s Word; otherwise I did nothing. And while I slept, or drank Wittenberg beer with my friends Philip and Amsdorf, the Word so greatly weakened the papacy that no prince or emperor ever inflicted such losses upon it. I did nothing; the Word did everything.

Read it all.

Excellent article from Paul Greenberg – scroll all the way through the article after you click the link as it is a two-part article written in letter form.  Here’s a snip:

RE LeeIt was wholly a pleasure to get your reminder that Lee’s Birthday is the 19th, though it is scarcely necessary in my case. I look forward to it every year, when I get to refresh my acquaintance with the General’s memory. I am transported from the ever-changing present to the unchanging past — from today’s fluid superficiality to a contemplation of values that never change. Values like duty, which Lee called the sublimest word in the language.

There is a thrill of subversion to celebrating Robert E. Lee in this so-different time. It’s like unveiling a Byzantine icon in some faceless museum of modern art. Remarkable thing, modernity. Especially its art, which can be the ideological equivalent of whiteout. It can take the blasphemous, the profane, the supposedly daring and disgusting, and convert it all into the utterly boring. How does it do that? Maybe it’s the modern, now the postmodern, soon to be the post-postmodern, absence of continuity. If there’s no shared past, no common standard, there’s no way to desecrate it. The shocking becomes simply the meaningless.

It’s no wonder that doing this annual Lee column has come to be a highlight of my year. For one day, the glitz and clatter of the unceasing 24/7 news cycle is shut out. I’ve spent more than one night into the early morning hours nursing a cup of coffee, fortified by a pile of Lee biographies and Civil War histories, thinking on the general, his life and character, and, most of all, about why he should still matter, why the old gentleman still speaks to us, not just in his words and deeds, but in his silences. They resound timeless, alone, grave yet the greatest comfort. No wonder they still draw us to him, like a deep river in a dry land.

It is a night-into-morning well and satisfyingly spent with General Lee before having to return to my day job — dealing with the leaven of the news, not the dough. For that’s my usual beat: politics, which is the study of mere power, the surface reflection and not the inner substance of events.

I inevitably hear from readers like yourself before and after that long night’s journey to the dawn, and recognize someone who comes from the same country. Call it the South, or the Past, or Home, but it draws us together whatever our superficial differences. All it may take is a shared memory, a single word. In the South, that word is Lee. It echoes yet. And thrills anew. Like a band striking up Dixie. There is no reason to tell you why. You understand without needing an explanation. Naturally, it would be a Southerner, the Southerner of Southerners named Faulkner, who said it: Memory believes before knowing remembers.

Read it all.

A very good article from Albert Mohler:

Most viewers are likely unaware of what they are actually seeing. They are not merely watching an historical drama, they are witnessing the passing of a world. And that larger story, inadequately portrayed within Downton Abbey, is a story that should not be missed. That story is part of our own story as well. It is the story of the modern age arriving with revolutionary force, and with effects that continue to shape our own world.

Downton Abbey is set in the early decades of the twentieth century. Though by season four King George V is on the throne, the era is still classically Edwardian. And the era associated with King Edward VII is the era of the great turn in British society. The early decades of the twentieth century witnessed a great transformation in England and within the British Empire. The stable hierarchies ofDownton Abbey grew increasingly unstable. Britain, which had been overwhelmingly a rural nation until the last decade of the nineteenth century, became increasingly urban. A transformation in morals changed the very character of the nation, and underlying it all was a great surge of secularization that set the stage for the emergence of the radically secular nation that Britain has become.

Viewers should note the almost complete absence of Christianity from the storyline. The village vicar is an occasional presence, and church ceremonies have briefly been portrayed. But Christianity as a belief system and a living faith is absent—as is the institutional presence of the Church of England.

Political life is also virtually absent, which amounts to a second great omission. The epoch in which Downton Abbey is set was a time of tremendous political strife and upheaval in Britain. The Earl of Grantham would likely have been quite distressed by the rise of the Liberal Party’s David Lloyd George as Prime Minister. The right of women to vote was a recent development, and the political waters were roiled by high unemployment and a faltering British economy. The signs of the Empire’s disappearance were there for all to see, even if most among the elites did their best to deny the evidence. The great landed estates were draining their lordly title holders of precious capital, and the economic arrangements that allowed the nobility to live off of their estates would never return. That is why so many English lords looked for rich American women to marry.

A great moral revolution was also in full sway. Birth control was increasingly available and openly discussed. In 1930, the Church of England would become the first major Christian church to endorse the use of contraceptives. Sexual morality was changing with a lessening of sanctions on premarital sex and adultery. Calls for liberalized divorce laws became more frequent. Many argued that the working class should have the same access to sexual liberty that the nobility seemed to allow themselves.

Read it all.

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Off To Greece and Israel

September 30, 2013

27 folks from SAMP take off today for 12 days in Greece and Israel. I’m really looking forward to the trip.  This will be my third trip to Israel and my first to Greece. In addition to Jacqui and Sammy traveling with me, I will turn 50 while we are away.  Can’t think of a better way to mark a 1/2 century.

Here’s our schedule, your prayers are welcome:

TUESDAY, October 1st –  ATHENS
We enjoy a tour of Athens and walk up Mars Hill where Paul spoke to the Athenian people about the One and only true God, visit the Acropolis, and the Parthenon.

WEDNESDAY, October 2nd – ATHENS, CORINTH
We will travel to Corinth where Paul lived and taught in 51AD.  We will sit in the Bema and read from Corinthians.

THURSDAY, October 3rd – CAESAREA
After a leisurely morning, we will spend the afternoon walking on the Mediterranean beach and exploring Caesarea by the Sea, the seacoast home of Herod and Pontius Pilate.

FRIDAY, October 4th – MT. CARMEL, MEGIDDO, NAZARETH, CANA
We travel north to Mt. Carmel, Megiddo, the well in Nazareth where the angel Gabriel came to Mary, Cana, and then to our beautiful hotel on the Sea of Galilee.

SATURDAY, October 5th – GALILEE
We will travel by boat to Capernaum to see the site of St. Peter’s home and the Synagogue where Jesus taught, and the seashore where he called his disciples to become “fishers of men”.  We visit the place where Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount and see a boat that has been recently discovered, that was on the Sea at the time of Jesus. We end our day with a reaffirmation of Baptism at the Jordan River.

SUNDAY October 6th – GOLAN, CAESAREA PHILIPPI, DAN
We head north to Caesarea Philippi, where Peter said to Jesus, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”, with its beautiful nature preserves and national parks.  We visit the ancient city of Dan, and see the city gate that is 4000+ years old.

MONDAY, October 7th – JORDAN RIVER, BEIT SHEAN, DEAD SEA
We will begin our day visiting a Beit Shean with its theater and impressive columns along the Cardo.  We  drive through the Jordan Valley, to Jericho, and to Qumran to view the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found.  We overnight at a spa hotel at the Dead Sea, where we will have a wonderful experience “floating” in the Dead Sea.

TUESDAY, October 8th – MASADA,  JERUSALEM
Our day will start with taking a cable car to the top of Masada, where the Jewish people made their last stand against the Romans in 70 AD.  We then head out for Jerusalem, stopping to climb to the top of Mt. of Olives.  A visit to the Garden of Gethsemane to begins our pilgrimage in Jerusalem.

WEDNESDAY, October 9th – JERUSALEM, BETHLEHEM
Our day begins on the Temple Mount and then on to Bethlehem we will visit the Church of the Nativity and Shepherd’s Fields.

THURSDAY, October 10th – JERUSALEM
We will have a time of prayer in the dungeon below Caiaphas’s house and walk to the City of David.  There will be time to pray at the Western Wall and walk through the tunnels along the Western Wall, the Via Delarosa, Mt. Zion – the place of the Last Supper, and experience the wonderful aromas and vibrancy of the Old City of Jerusalem.

FRIDAY, October 11th – JERUSALEM
We will visit the Israeli Museum, viewing the Dead Sea Scrolls.  We will visit Yad Vashem the Jewish Holocaust Center, and then onto the Old City.  We will end our pilgrimage to Israel with communion at the Garden Tomb.

SATURDAY, October 12th – TEL AVIV to CHARLESTON.

From The Gospel Coalition:

How did God design the preservation of his gospel? The answer isn’t through a pope or person, but through a book written over centuries by persons “carried along by the Holy Spirit.” God’s trustworthy revelation in the gospel is preserved via the infallible, authoritative Word. It’s clear Peter desires to leave a legacy, which these letters are sufficient to do as they keep Christians aware of all God desired them—and us—to know. There’s no notion here of an eventual replacement, of someone taking his place to pass on to other successors the treasure of the Christian faith.

Put simply, I don’t question Francis as the leader of the Roman Catholic Church. Nor do I question him as the legitimate papal successor to Benedict XVI. What I do question is any understanding of Christianity that puts forward Francis, Peter, or any other man as the exclusive, infallible head of the church—Christ’s vicar with unique status before God.

Read it all.

CaesareaHarborDear Friends,

Jacqui and I want to invite you to join us for a spiritual journey to Corinth, Athens and Israel this fall – both to see the land of our mothers and fathers in the faith and to celebrate my 50th Birthday.

One of the most profound and moving experiences of my life have been my visits to the Holy Land in 2005 and 2012.  Imagine walking the streets of Bethsaida, visiting the home of Peter’s mother-in-law, standing on the steps at Caesarea that Paul walked down as he set sail for Rome, praying in Gethsemane, climbing Temple Mount and visiting the empty tomb.  Words could barely describe what I have felt.  Now add standing on Mars Hill in Athens (Acts 17) and sitting in the Bema at Corinth (Acts 18)!

My friend, Wayne Skaff, is the organizer for this amazing experience of visiting the land of the Bible.  We will depart on Monday, September 30th and will return Saturday, October 12th (my 50th Birthday).  The trip is limited to 30 people (we have about 20 signed up already).

western-wall-wailing-wall-jerusalem-jer103As a part of our trip, I will be leading us in a Scripture lesson each day, connecting the Bible stories the sites we will visit.  Let me assure you as well of our safety; we will be in the hands of an experienced tour leader as this is Wayne’s 35th trip to Israel (Wayne was the leader of our trips in 2005 and 2012).   Due to Wayne’s travel leadership, his groups have never had problems or concerns about safety. In fact, not one pilgrim on a tour to Israel has ever been injured from a security concern in the last 25 years. We stay at the best hotels and always keep an eye out for our safety.  If you wait for a peaceful Middle East, you may never go to this wonderful land.

If you would like to know more, please contact my PA, Nancy Sapakoff (NSapakoff@WeAreStAndrews.com, or, 843.284.4324), who has brochures available.  You are free as well to contact Wayne Skaff.  Wayne’s contact information is: 763-205-6177, or, wskaff@comcast.net

This year in Jerusalem!

ITINERARY

MONDAY, September 30th  – LEAVE CHARLESTON
Departing from Charleston in the afternoon, we arrive in Athens the next morning.

TUESDAY, October 1st –  ATHENS
We enjoy a city bus tour of Athens and walk up Mars Hill where Paul spoke to the Athenian people about the one and only true God, visit the Acropolis, and the Parthenon.

ancient-athens-1WEDNESDAY, October 2nd – ATHENS, CORINTH
We will travel to Corinth where Paul lived and taught in 51AD.  We will sit in the Bema and read from Corinthians.  We will have dinner on our way back to Athens and a late night flight to Israel.  We will stay overnight in a golf resort hotel in Caesarea.

THURSDAY, October 3rd – CAESAREA
After a leisure morning, we will spend the afternoon walking on the Mediterranean beach and exploring Caesarea by the Sea, the seacoast home of Herod and Pontius Pilate. We will return to our hotel in Caesarea.

FRIDAY, October 4th – MT. CARMEL, MEGIDDO, NAZARETH, CANA
We travel north to Mt. Carmel, Megiddo, the well in Nazareth where the angel Gabriel came to Mary, Cana, and then to our beautiful kibbutz hotel on the Sea of Galilee.

SATURDAY, October 5th – GALILEE
We will travel by boat to Capernaum to see the site of St. Peter’s home and the Synagogue where Jesus taught, and the seashore where he called his disciples to become “fishers of men”.  We visit the place where Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount and see a boat that has been recently discovered, that was on the Sea at the time of Jesus. We end our day with a reaffirmation of Baptism at the Jordan River.

SUNDAY October 6th – GOLAN, CAESAREA PHILIPPI, DAN
We head north to Caesarea Philippi, where Peter said to Jesus, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”, with its beautiful nature preserves and national parks.  We visit the ancient city of Dan, and see a city gate that is 4000 years old.

dead_sea_and_masada_tour (14)MONDAY, October 7th – JORDAN RIVER, BEIT SHEAN, DEAD SEA
We will begin our day visiting a newly discovered Roman city with its theater and impressive columns along the Cardo in Beit Shean.  We  drive through the Jordan Valley, to Jericho, and to Qumran to view the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found.  We overnight at a spa hotel at the Dead Sea, where you will have a wonderful experience “floating” in the Dead Sea.

TUESDAY, October 8th – MASADA,  JERUSALEM
Our day will start with taking a cable car to the top of Masada, where the Jewish people made their last stand against the Romans in 70 AD.  We then climb to the top of Mt. of Olives to begin our pilgrimage in Jerusalem, by walking down to the Garden of Gethsemane.

WEDNESDAY, October 9th – JERUSALEM, BETHLEHEM
Our day begins on the Temple Mount and then on to Bethlehem we will visit the Church of the Nativity and Shepherd’s Fields and have time for some shopping at a Christian store.

THURSDAY, October 10th – JERUSALEM
We will have a time of prayer in the dungeon below Caiaphas’s house and walk to the City of David.  There will be time to pray at the Western Wall and walk through the tunnels along the Western Wall, the Via Delarosa, Mt. Zion – the place of the Last Supper, and experience the wonderful aromas and vibrancy of the Old City of Jerusalem.

FRIDAY, October 11th – JERUSALEM
We will visit the Israeli Museum, viewing the Dead Sea Scrolls.  We will visit Yad Vashem the Jewish Holocaust Center, and then onto the Old City.  We will end our pilgrimage to Israel with a very special closing time of communion at the Garden Tomb.

SATURDAY, October 12th – TEL AVIV to CHARLESTON.
A very early morning flight will return us to Charleston about noon.

 

CS Lewis photo1. He was not English. Though many think and refer to him as such, he was actually born in Belfast, Ireland. So he technically he was British but not English.

2. He changed his name to Jack. In 1902 he announced to his parents that he would, from that day forward, be referred to as “Jacksie.” It was later shortened to “Jacks” and then finally “Jack.” He would be Clive no more.

3. He never learned to drive.

4. His favorite sound was adult male laughter. 

5. His ideal happiness was “to be always convalescent from some small illness and always seated in a window that overlooked the sea, there to read these poems (Renaissance Italian epic) eight hours  of each happy day.”

6. He loved the sea.

7. He failed his Oxford entrance exam, twice. He took the Responsions at least two times and failed the math section. He was allowed entrance into Oxford in 1917 because he served in the military.

8. He had dreams of lions. Prior to writing The Chronicles of Narnia he had strange dreams of lions and pictures in his head of a faun carrying parcels.

9. J.R.R. Tolkien did not like the Narnia stories. Tolkien did not like the Christian allegory, nor did he like the mixing of myths. It appeared he was fond of Aslan though.

10. Aslan is Turkish for “lion.”

11. He often addressed Jesus as Aslan in prayer.

12. Some argue that Tolkien based Treebeard on Lewis. I cannot prove this, but I’ve heard it in more than one place.

13. His conversion to Christianity was not when he wrote in Surprised By Joy: “You must picture me alone in that room in Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England. I did not then see what is now the most shining and obvious thing; the Divine humility which will accept a convert even on such terms. The Prodigal Son at least walked home on his own feet. But who can duly adore that Love which will open the high gates to a prodigal who is brought in kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance of escape? The words compelle intrare, ‘compel them to come in,’ have been so abused be wicked men that we shudder at them; but, properly understood, they plumb the depth of the Divine mercy. The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men, and His compulsion is our liberation.”

This was simply his conversion to theism from atheism in 1929. It wasn’t until 1931 that he and his brother went to Whipsnade Zoo. Warren drove the motorcycle while Jack sat in the sidecar! He wrote, “When we set out, I did not believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and when we  reached the zoo, I did.” The evening before this trip, Lewis had a long discussion with Hugo Dyson and J.R.R. Tolkien about Christianity.

Read the rest.