Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Heads-up for 29 December 2010

Mahabharata Podcast
The Markandeya Sessions Pt. 2
The Sage Markandeya continues with his storytelling. He begins with his own version of the Four Ages or Yugas. One interesting point is that in his reckoning, the Kali Yuga lasts 1,200 years in total. Since we are told elsewhere that the Kali Yuga began for us on the death of Krishna, then the Kali Yuga must have ended centuries ago, and we happy people have made it into the next Golden Age! After an apocalyptic vision of the future, Makandeya gives us the Tale of the Frog, which culminates in a showdown between the brahmin Vamadev and a pair of stubborn kings. The brahmin, of course, comes out the victor! There are more stories to come in the next episode, so the Markandeya Sessions will continue...
(review, feed)

Europe from its Origins
Episode 19 AD 1347 - 1396
The long secular rise of Christendom, unbroken since the 10th century, suffered severe setbacks during the 14th. The society had reached a high level of wealth, for the elite; those working the land had a standard of life better than in some regions of the 3rd World today. There were major gains on the peripheries: in Spain the last major invasion from Morocco was successfully repulsed; in the east pagan Lithuania opted to join the European cultural realm.

But internally the society was fracturing on several levels, as new ways of thinking and new forms of claims to authority collided with one another. Civil war was the result, and from it spewed forth chaos. While this almost paralysed Christendom, the Roman Empire at Constantinople was entering its final years, as the Ottoman Turks emerged as an enormous military power and tansplanted their centre to continental Europe.
(review, feed)

Rear Vision
The Mossad
The story of the Israeli secret service the Mossad.
(review, feed)

Christian Humanist Podcast

I began to listen to the Christian Humanist Podcast (feed) as a follow up to the Jewish Humanist podcast Kol Hadash (feed) I discovered a couple of weeks ago (read my review of Kol Hadash). I learned from Kol Hadash to view the Jewish, or respectively the Christian, tradition as a cultural luggage I carry with me which can be taken seriously and therefore studied and taken to heart also for the secular. I was hoping to find a Christian pendant to Kol Hadash.

There is a website called The Christian Humanist which offers a load of articles along this line of thinking. However, a podcast they do not offer. The podcast with the same name, is not secular, it is openly confessional as they say. However, it is still a very interesting listen, also within the framework of looking at the Christian tradition as a substantial part of our (my) cultural baggage. Although the three hosts Michial Farmer, David Grubbs and Nathan Gilmour profess their faith and express themselves in the language of the believers and imply assumptions that I cannot identify with, I find we still have something in common. And that was an interesting find in itself.

What the Christian Humanist Podcast obviously attempts to do is to reconcile the Christian world view the presenters have with their other cultural luggage. The three are academics, versed in the humanities tended towards modern open-minded, rational, tolerant and liberal thinking. In that respect, they are not only the kind of humanists they identify with such as Erasmus and before that Thomas Aquinas and Augustin which results in very interesting issues such as the ones about Calvin, about politics or about the incarnation (to name a few I have listened to). They are also very similar to the non-believing secular, whether Christian or Jewish who just as much is trying to be a modern person with conscious historicity which leads him to understand and accept his connections with both the religious traditions he stands in as well as the secular, scientific, rationalistic etc.