There are many logical inconsistencies in Thomas Aquinas' reasoning but that doesn't make this an uninteresting read. It's one of the few philosophicaThere are many logical inconsistencies in Thomas Aquinas' reasoning but that doesn't make this an uninteresting read. It's one of the few philosophical classics that are rooted in one specific religion. His theology had a profound impact on the development of the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages, and he was one of the most famous philosophers of his time, even though he didn't consider himself one. Personally it challenged me to bring out the philosopher in myself, the erudite know-it-all who likes to refute statements and formulate new ones so that the next thinker can come along and delineate the axiomatic algebra served up by pedantic fools like myself.
Even though it's a sexist work of non-fiction, Sjoo does a brilliant job of uncovering dusty remnants of pre-Christian Goddess religion, and then expoEven though it's a sexist work of non-fiction, Sjoo does a brilliant job of uncovering dusty remnants of pre-Christian Goddess religion, and then exposing the male dominated Christian forces that either stole from Pagan tradition or outright disposed of them for heresy. While reading this I often felt that my manhood was shriveling into a tiny little ball, but then I found it justified after realizing that for centuries male-engineered societies have repressed women and are now destroying the sacred womb of planet Earth....more
Now this is one interesting novel. Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomenei issued a fatwa against Rushdie for a blasphemous passage in it. The passage madeNow this is one interesting novel. Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomenei issued a fatwa against Rushdie for a blasphemous passage in it. The passage made it appear that verses from the prophet Mohammed had really been issued from the Devil in disguise. This outraged many Muslims around the world. Considering the book’s tough material, one has to wonder how many of them actually read it. The verses were spoken by a (debatably schizophrenic) man who thought he was the Archangel Gabriel, so I don't think Rushdie actually meant to offend anyone. The book does have some fascinating religious imagery, and a full serving of his unique wit.
It begins with an explosion in the sky. Two diammetrically opposed human beings fall from it, both still alive, but their ensuing adventures are riddled with supernatural changes, changes on par with Biblical themes like Satan's fall in Paradise Lost (which, along with Arabian Nights, must have inspired this book). Interspersed with the main plots are vivid dream sequences that don The Satanic Verses a masterpiece of magical realism. Some of Rushdie's prose in this book is gorgeous; the first chapter took my breath away. One of my favorite things about The Satanic Verses is the delirious illumination. I'll never forget the butterflies after the storm, Allelulia Cone on Mt. Everest, the metamorphosis of London, heads disappearing under the Arabian Sea, etc. My only beef with it is that it digressed a lot, but with the way Salman writes, who cares?
The following is my interpretation of everything (spoiler alert): Gibreel the actor becomes possessed by the archangel Gabriel- the Islamic Gabriel, not the Christian one- after the plane crash, as does Saladin become possessed by Satan, or Shaitan. A near death experience can do this- while you are temporarily dead your body can be prone to paranormal assault. The dreams that Gibreel have are memories from his past incarnations, each of which are parallel to the rise of monotheism. In the first dream, which is set during the Islamic revolution, Mahound represents Muhammad and Jahilia represents Mecca. Mahound's slaying of the Goddess pantheon in Jahilia illustrates the beginning of female repression after the birth of Islam. In this past life Gibreel was Mahound, not the archangel that appeared to him. It might be construed that the dreams are from the point of view of the angel’s, but I think Salman did a brilliant job of making it seem like both. Gibreel is possessed by the angel, so his own memories are interspersed with that of the the angel's, thus making it a convoluted dream that mixes the present with the past. As Gibreel's soul fights the Archangel for possession, there is a slow psychological deterioration that presents quite an awesome climax in all three plots. This theory is further strengthened by the other dream sequence- the grand pilgrimage to Mecca, which is oddly represented by the India salt march of 1930. In this dream, Gibreel appears to be Gandhi, yet has the appearance of Ayesha, who looks like a fantastical version of Allelulia Cone, his lover in the present. This dream is even more convoluted than the first; it confuses the salt march for a pilgrimage and Gibreel’s lover for Gandhi. The battle for possession in this dream really messed with Gibreel’s head. And well, then came the end....more
Reuven Malter and Danny Saunders. Two young jews facing each other during a heated ballgame, two of the brightest minds to ever come out of Brooklyn.Reuven Malter and Danny Saunders. Two young jews facing each other during a heated ballgame, two of the brightest minds to ever come out of Brooklyn. Malter can calculate mathematics & gematria in his head faster than a calculator, Saunders can read books faster than a freight train crosses Arizona. Brought together by a baseball injury, torn apart by Zionism, then reunited after the founding of Israel, both young men learn a lot from each other during their emotional friendship. Danny's father has ignored him his whole life, and Reuven is the one only one who can bring them back together. Very deep story with profound dialogue. Instant classic....more