A Chaos of Nothing

James Boswell wrote this in his journal on Monday, 22 October, 1781:

Walked to Craighouse and breakfasted with Lord Covington, whom I had not seen for many months. He was grown very dull of hearing, and gave me a discouraging view of life and old age and human existence. He said his memory was failed, and that the mind and body failed together; and he seemed to acquiesce in that dreary notion, without hope of restoration. And he said when one looked back on life, it was just a chaos of nothing.


Contemporary Authors

C.S. Lewis was not a fan, witness:

Incidentally, what is the point of keeping in touch with the contemporary scene? Why should one read authors one doesn’t like because they happen to be alive at the same time as oneself? One might as well read everyone who had the same job or the same coloured hair, or the same income, or the same chest measurements, as far as I can see.

RSV Rebound

I just received the second of two of my Mom’s Bibles that I had rebound. It is a Revised Standard Version published by Thomas Nelson. My Dad gave it to her for Christmas of 1969. It had a white cover that of some type of leather. I believe she used to keep it inside a zip cover that she had and used throughout the time I was growing up. It had completely deteriorated externally in the past 41 years. Mom has marked up the interior every which way, but it is in decent shape.

I had the folks at Mechling rebind it again, and I chose a black goatskin. They don’t have white and I didn’t want it anyway. I also asked them to remove some paintings that were in various places and which I thought made it seem a bit tacky. I think the finished product is very nice and has restored it to usability for decades to come. My pictures of it really aren’t the greatest, but I am trying to show the before and after.

Reads, 2010

Not the best year for finishing books. I read too much stuff online. Here are the books I finished in 2010:

The Puritan Dilemma, Edmund Morgan

The Rise of Puritanism, William Haller

Augustine of Hippo, Peter Brown

The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Samuel Pepys

The Death of Adam, Marilynne Robinson

The Bible, ESV {completed}

Rabbit at Rest, John Updike

A Grief Observed, C.S. Lewis

Eclipse of the Sun, Michael O’Brien

Is the Reformation Over, Mark Noll, Carolyn Nystrom {completed}

America’s God, Mark Noll {completed}

The Mines of Behemoth, Michael Shea


Google Books on the iPad

Today is a day of rejoicing for me. Ever since the iPad debuted, I’ve wanted a good interface for reading Google Books on it. I was a bit surprised that one didn’t exist right off the bat. In the last month, Google opened up Google Docs for editing on the iPad – a major plus. And now, I can read ancient books on the most modern device! It blows my mind! I don’t think any author 100 or 300 years ago could have imagined that I would be looking at a printed text of their book from back then on this digital device.

I think this will revolutionize certain niche areas. For example, there are hosts of Anglican theological books (and other theological books) that would never have seen the light of day before. To read them would have required travel to a few select libraries, or a publisher dusting them off and reprinting them in a limited run. Now they are accessible, free, searchable, and universal. It really is something.

I’ve come across ancient magazines like Notes and Queries that I can read a century or more after it came out in a way that was unimaginable when it was first published. I don’t like to overdo the “we are living through history” angle on things, but I do think that we are in the middle of something big with the Google Books project, something that future historians will look back on and pull apart for its impact on the world.

Book Binding: Text Block

I was able to learn a little bit more of book binding a couple weeks ago. I folded many sheets of paper into sections. We had previously marked off where we wanted the holes to be punched in the sections. Using a guide, I then punched holes in the sections with an awl. After that , I prepared tapes and attached them to the paper. Then I sewed using a couple different methods through all of the sections. This was not easy and I required help every step of the way. I was getting better at sewing as I went along, but I could use a lot of practice. Here are some pictures of the completed text block:

You can get a good idea of where the holes are and how the sewing works from the next picture. All of this is done to strengthen the final product.

Here is a close-up of some of the sewing and the tapes.

Cambridge Cameo – Unchanged

I was admiring these photos of the Cambridge Cameo Reference Bible (KJV) when it occurred to me that my Mom’s Bible [that I just had rebound] is also from Cambridge. I wondered how much the layout might be different from edition to edition. Mom’s was printed in the 1970’s, 30 plus years ago. What I found is that there seems to be no difference at all. The typesetting is the same, the notes are the same, the page numbers are the same, etc. Look at the pictures below, first of the new edition, then of my Mom’s edition:

Defending Constantine 1

I received the book yesterday. It is surprisingly large – most of Leithart’s works are shorter. Here’s a quote from the Introduction:

…one aim in this book is to contribute to the formation of a theology that does not simply inform but is a social science.

In contrast to many modern theologians who consider social science to be foundational for theology, Milbank argues that classical orthodoxy contains its own account of social and political life.

I love this – we don’t need to go to sociology and political science for instructions on how to order our lives. Theology, rightly conceived, contains all we need for every area of life. This is Reformational, Medieval, and Kuyperian!