Archive for February, 2011

Give Us This Day Our Epiousiosian Bread

Give Us This Day Our Epiousiosian Bread

Diarmard McCulloch, in his book Christianity (@89), argues that the Lord’s Prayer is actually an invocation of the imminence of God’s Kingdom on earth, based on an ancient Greek word epiousios:

Jesus’s preoccupation with the imminent kingdom is clear … also in “The Lord’s Prayer” which he taught his followers and which is embedded in different versions in both versions of the Sermon anthology.  The prayer moves straight from addressing the Father in Heaven to the plea “Thy kingdom come”.  It is also shown to belong to the earliest strata of the Gospel material even in its Greek form, because one of its petitions includes an adjective whose meaning has baffled Christians ever since: ‘epiousios’, a very rare word indeed in Greek.  The puzzling character of the word is not apparent in its common English translation, which suggests a very ordinary request, ‘Give us this day our daily bread’. Yet epiousios does not mean ‘daily’, but something like ‘of extra substance’, or at a stretch ‘for the morrow’. The first Roman Catholic attempt to translate ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ into English from the Latin Vulgate in the late sixteenth century courageously recognized this problem, but also sidestepped it simply by borrowing a Latin word as “supersubstantial”; not surprisingly, ‘give us this day our supersubstantial bread’ never caught on as a popular phrase in the prayer.  If we can assign any meaning to epiousios, it may point to the new time of the coming kingdom: there must be a new provision when God’s people are hungry in this new time – yet the provision for the morrow must come now, because the kingdom is about to arrive.

(emphasis in original)

I have a lot of trouble parsing the last few lines from “If we can assign any meaning…” [suggestions?] but the way I read it is: this part of the prayer could be paraphrased:

“Give us tomorrow’s bread today”

[since we’re hungry now and tomorrow, once thy kingdom comes, we won’t need bread anymore]

iiNet: 2 Copyright Extremism: 0

iiNet: 2 Copyright Extremism: 0

According to the ABC, iiNet has won the appeal to the full court in the iiNet case.  Reading how the judge at first instance panned the plaintiffs I thought that the foreign interests were brave appealing it – especially given the number of places where the judge criticised the plaintiff’s trial tactics and/or motives.  Be interesting to read the judgment on appeal and to see whether it goes further.

Of course, in a completely stage managed fashion, a funded study was released immediately before judgment was due.  How surprising that the funded study said that if iiNet wasn’t found guilty the world would end.  The truth is that copyright kills.  It’s just that most victims are killed silently.  Imagine the madness if ISPs were found liable.  There still remains the possibility of legislative action which, if implemented will make the NBN the next copyright corpse.

Copyright Strikes Borders AU, Angus and Robertson

Copyright Strikes Borders AU, Angus and Robertson

An article in the Age reports that administrators have been called in to the Borders operation in Australia and Angus and Robertson booksellers.  They say:

Businesses such as Borders have been particularly hard hit by the rise in popularity of e-commerce sites that sell a vast range of books online at heavily discounted prices to traditional bricks-and-mortar shops. The strengthening Australian dollar has also encouraged shopping on overseas websites.

They pay a higher price solely because the Copyright Act forces them to.  Booksellers aren’t allowed to parallel import books because the legislature didn’t care about sacrificing them on the altar of copyright extremism, despite overwhelming evidence in support of the practice.   Evidence clearly has no part to play in policy making on this area of law in Australia.  Now Australian authors have a substantial local retail outlet under threat and, if they lose these booksellers, will be in a similar position to what they would have been had the parallel importation provisions been passed.

Well done, brainiacs.

Is Life Meaningful? Recent Spookiness

Is Life Meaningful?  Recent Spookiness

About five years ago, one of my children struck up a friendship with another child.  As a result, for several years now we have been friends with the parents.  It turns out our kids are in the same class this year, with a teacher described by the students as “mean Mrs Thompson”.

We were having a chat with them yesterday and they made a comment that they had a grumpy teacher in grade five called Mr Lane.  I said I did too.  How odd we said.  In the next few minutes we discovered that, not only did we go to the same school at the same time (they were a couple of years ahead of me) but that my parents had sold our house in Brisbane to their parents over 30 years ago – and they had slept in the same room as me (incidentally, they also followed a similar trajectory to me arriving in Sydney from Brisbane via Canberra).

Well, that, in my books, is definitely spooky.  At the very least it seems an amazing coincidence (esp. given that the vector for our meeting was our children).  It is extremely tempting to look for meaning in it.  But what?

Why Newspapers deserve to die

In October I was tossing up whether or not to renew my subscription to the Sydney Morning Herald.  We did – against my better judgement.  When I renewed I told the people on the phone I was basically unhappy with their product.  Since then (2 November) we have received our weekly subscription only for the last two weeks – and it didn’t come this morning.   I count 14 weeks when it should have come (13 if you exclude Christmas, but often they deliver the day before).  Am I living in an alternate universe where 2 out of 14 is a good strike rate?

Which reminds me of how irritating it is when Becker and Posner talk about needing to take more rights from more people in order to preserve these dinosaurs.  If they can’t deliver a paper to a paid subscriber – particularly one which has expressly put them on notice – what hope do they have?

The Mandarin Tree Massacre

The Mandarin Tree Massacre

My mandarin tree (actually, I just learned it’s a mandarin orange tree) is plagued throughout the year by bronze orange bugs (aka stink bugs).  These little fellows kill new shoots and young fruit.  They hide up the top of the tree so are difficult to get to (even after we lopped the highest limbs).  Well, they appear to have one weakness – hot days like today.  In some parts of Sydney it pushed 42 degrees today, with a very hot wind.  Where I am reached 39, and maybe 40.

The bugs, to get away from the heat congregate at the bottom of the tree trunk. So they did today and when I saw them there I got rid of the whole infestation in a few moments of brutality (easiest is to put some gardening gloves on and squish them, letting them squirt the gloves – the smell fades over a week or so).   Must remember this in the future.


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