To view this newsletter on the Web, go to www.ccel.org/newsletter/2/10
In This Issue:
From the Director
What is sin? It's the kind of question that seems easy until you think about it seriously. It has been a source of much theological speculation and debate over the centuries, and at the same time it's a practical question—what practices of mine please God? What should I change? There was a time some years ago when this question was much on my mind. But how does one find good readings on such a topic?
The CCEL has long had excellent tools for finding books by author or title, looking up words in dictionaries and encyclopedias, searching by scripture reference, or performing a full-text search. However, it has never been very good at finding readings by topic keyword. We're seeking to remedy that lack by introducing tagging. The idea is that if you have a favorite reading on a topic, or if you come across a reading that addresses a topic well, you can tag the reading with one or more keywords.
So, if you're interested in helping make this a useful feature and helping others find good readings, if you're interested in volunteering at the CCEL, one way would be to add tags to several book pages. It's easy and fast, and for this month at least, you don't need to log in. Give it a try, and happy tagging! (Oh, and if you're interested in some good readings on sin, browse the tagged books!)
Taking Christian resources to the blind
Editor's note: The writer is a former employee of the CCEL and co-founder of Optasia Ministry.
After consulting with the CCEL about ways to obtain copyrighted material for blind people, my Dad and I have created Optasia Ministry (www.optasiaministry.org). While CCEL excels in non-copyrighted material, Optasia Ministry operates under a provision of the U.S. Copyright Code that enables us to provide copyrighted material free to those who qualify for our services. I know that blind people have been using the CCEL because it provides material that they cannot find elsewhere. Now they can benefit from Optasia Ministry.
Optasia Ministry has formed for the purpose of providing free, significant Bible study resources to those with visual disabilities who use screen reading software. Operating under a provision of the U.S. Copyright Code, Optasia Ministry is able to provide materials such as commentaries, Greek and Hebrew word study, theological and ministry resources to those with visual disabilities. Also available is a New International Version Bible (and other Bibles) which works well on a Braille note taker. Many of these copywrited resources are not available to those with visual disabilities in any other way.
Visit www.optasiaministry.org for more information.
How have you used the CCEL to deepen your research, discover new voices, and enliven your faith? Submit a usage testimonial.
A rather soppy notion of love at work in our Oprah-fied culture is prone to misunderstand Pascal's famous dictum, "The heart has reasons of which reason knows nothing." The French polymath could never have imagined that this snippet from his "Thoughts" would end up on Hallmark greeting cards swapped by starry-eyed sophomore romantics. Because, in fact, Pascal was offering not a Browning-esque paen to love, but rather a profound epistemological insight: that before we think, we love—that we are not cogitating machines but desiring animals. (This is why it's said in Paris that every philosopher must face a Joshua-like moment and choose whom they will serve: Descartes or Pascal.)
Pascal's Penseés—the internally-tortured collection of his thoughts scribbled on scraps of paper that over the years hung on threads draped across his room—is, I would contend, something of a fulcrum in Western philosophy and theology. Part of a controversial Augustinian revival in Europe at the time (and long associated with Jansenius' heretical Augustinus), the Penseés retrieve an Augustinian picture of the human person in early modernity—a picture that accords centrality and priority to love, contesting the various rationalisms that were emerging at the time. I describe it as a "fulcrum" book because it functions as a historical hinge: if Pascal was an Augustinian untimely born, he could also be seen as a proto-postmodern. In fact, Pascal would have a significant impact on the young Martin Heidegger, and the trickle-down effect of that impact can be felt in figures like Jacques Derrida and Jean-Luc Marion. Pascal points to an irreducible (even paradoxical) heart-knowledge which cannot be reduced to the registers of reason since it is a kind of "knowing" which was felt rather than deduced.
Given the continued rationalisms that plague us, here's hoping for a Pascalian revival. May his tribe increase.
this classic at the
Firefox search plug-in
Did you know you can do a search of the CCEL in your Firefox browser, no matter what website you're visiting? Install the plug-in from the Mycroft Project, and the CCEL will appear as one of the search options in your browser search window. Enter a search term and results from the CCEL will appear!
Praying With the Classics
Praying With George Herbert (1593-1633)
Immortal Heat, O let Thy greater flame
by this author at the CCEL.
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