Communication for Communion, Part 4 (Scholar’s Call)

Some aspects of verbal communication don’t have any particular conceptual content to them – rather they are there to form or to maintain a connection between persons. For instance, “How are you?” is not primarily a request for information but a means of forging contact with another human being, as is asking about the weather, at least in Britain.Read more…

Communication for Communion: Language Human and Divine, Part 1 (Scholar’s Call)

Excerpt: Language is one of the things that make humans human. Whilst there are other instances of communication in the animal kingdom, some employing relatively complex sets of signals by which animals express engagement with one another and with their physical environment, we have no evidence that non-human creatures can express abstract mental concepts such as those we are discussing today.Read more…

Seeking God’s Wisdom in Strange Places

The author guidelines for Scholar’s Compass posts advise beginning with “a quotation from Scripture or a Christian writer”. The first quotation above is neither. It is an extract from the Instruction of Amenemope (variously named Amenophis, Amenemopet, or Amen-em-apt), an ancient Egyptian work of uncertain date giving advice of a practical and ethical kind from a father to a son. Read more…

Gates and “Keys” (Scholar’s Compass)

Most days, on my way to the library, I have to pick my way through a narrow passageway between Senate House (the ceremonial headquarters of Cambridge University where degrees are conferred) and Gonville and Caius College, dodging speeding cyclists, tourists stopping to take photos, and long crocodiles of schoolchildren. Read more…

Wisdom: Cosmic, Practical and Playful (Scholar’s Compass)

In the first post in this series, I introduced the mysterious figure of Lady Wisdom, a key character in the nine chapters that introduce the book of Proverbs. This figure, gendered as female, stands in the streets and calls the passers-by to feast at her house, eating her bread, drinking her wine, and learning from her to “walk in the way of insight” (Proverbs 9:1-6). Read more…