Skip to main content

The times they have changed

We have just started reading The Count of Monte Cristo for school, and I am liking it so far.  However, I was most dismayed upon reading the short “translator’s note” at the beginning of this particular edition:

The prevailing taste for brevity has made the spacious days of the stately three-volume novel seem very remote indeed. A distinct prejudice against length now exists: a feeling that there is a necessary antithesis between quantity and quality. One of the results is that those delightfully interminable romances which beguiled the nights and days of our ancestors in so pleasant a fashion are now given no more than a passing nod of recognition. Unfortunate as this is, one has to admit it with as much philosophy as may be available for the purpose. Life then had broader margins, and both opportunity and inclination are now lacking for such extensive indulgence in the printed page.

This, then, is felt to be sufficient apology for the present abridgement of one of the world’s masterpieces…

Sufficient apology? I think not! Who are they who dare to pick and choose the choicest morsels of Dumas’s novel and give them to us served up on a dinner plate, not even considering that we may have found much delight in what they left out? Read More

O lingua fortunata!

Of late I’ve been researching the extant corpus of writings in Etruscan, an ancient language which was spoken in Etruria (modern-day Tuscany), Italy. Etruscan is dead now (its speakers were dissolved into Roman culture long ago), but through the writings these people left behind we do know enough about their language to see that it was definitely not Indo-European, i.e. it was not related to Latin or English or most any other European language. A little is known about its phonology and grammar, but most knowledge of it is lost forever, and although many Etruscan books were written during Classical Antiquity, only one has survived.

This evening I read an online article about Doris McLemore, the last fluent speaker of the Wichita language up in Oklahoma. It really is sad to think how this Native American tongue will be lost when she passes away, but when one looks at history, it is clear that one language supplanting another is nothing new. The ancient Celts of the Iberian peninsula were Romanized years ago, and even before that it is likely that the original Indo-Europeans conquered many people in Europe who had lived there before them. Thus we can see that, although it is certainly lamentable, there will always be languages that are replaced by other, more fortunate tongues.

However, to end on a good note, I should like to remind you that North America is not losing all of its linguistic richness. In my two visits to San Luis Potosi, Mexico, I found the Nahuatl and Huastec languages thriving alongside Spanish, spoken by young and old alike. So, it really is possible to retain your linguistic heritage if you have a mind to.

The Age of the Earth

If you look up Earth’s History in your encyclopedia, you will read that the planet you’re standing on is more than 4,500,000,000 years old (that’s four and a half billion, if you don’t care to count the zeros). However, if you think about it, you can’t believe that date if you believe that the Bible is true, because God’s Word sets the date at about 6,000 years ago. If you count up the ages of the different people in the genealogies and do the math, that’s what you’ll come up with. 4,000 years from creation until Christ, and 2,000 years after that brings you to the present date. Here are a few things that show which number is correct:

    • Niagara Falls, before water-diversion projects in the 1950’s, eroded, and was pushed 3 feet upstream every year. If the earth is actually 4½ billion years old, the falls’ original location would have been 13½ billion feet upstream. However, this is not possible, considering that the earth is only 132 million feet in circumference!
    • As the Mississippi River flows into the Gulf of México, it dumps 300,000,000 cubic yards of sediment into the gulf. If the earth is really 4.5 billion years old, the Gulf of México would have been filled up long ago!

      There are many other examples, and you can learn more about the age of the earth by downloading this PDF file from Apologetics Press.

      Shall I be ashamed?

      “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another,”
      -Thomas Jefferson, Virginia

      Seven score and six years ago, our nation was split and in the midst of a bloody war. Though often attributed to the issue of slavery, the War Between the States was fought for several reasons. The North and the South were very different. They had different opinions, and different viewpoints. When tension began building with the precarious balance of slave and free states, no one seemed to know what to do. When the southern states proposed separation, the northerners were infuriated. What?! Divide the Union? The North was more willing to fight rather than separate in peace. This is well illustrated in the words of John C. Calhoun and Daniel Webster:

      “Senators,” he began, “it can no longer be disguised that the Union is in danger. The southern States cannot remain as things are now with safety in the Union” Read More

      The Lost Book of the Law

      In Second Chronicles chapter thirty-four, we read about Josiah, who became king of Judah when he was eight years old. We read that “he did that which was right in the eyes of Jehovah,” and “in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father.” He “began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the Asherim, and the graven images, and the molten images.” He destroyed idols and places of worship to false gods.

      In the eighteenth year of his reign, Josiah had the temple repaired. Second Chronicles 34:14-33 says:

      And when they brought out the money that was brought into the house of Jehovah, Hilkiah the priest found the book of the law of Jehovah given by Moses. And Hilkiah answered and said to Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of Jehovah. Read More