Godzdogz

Godzdogz

The blog of the Dominican student brothers at Blackfriars, Oxford.

Built on the four pillars of our Dominican life – preaching, prayer, study, and community – Godzdogz offers many resources for exploring the Catholic Faith today.
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Saints this Month - 8 August, St Dominic

Monday, August 08, 2011
18 months ago, my 10 year old nephew and godson, Leo, said to me that he wanted to choose St Dominic as his patron for his Confirmation. He asked me to write a short account of St Dominic’s life. I included the following section which I think bears reproduction (slightly adapted) here. Read more

Transfiguration

Saturday, August 06, 2011
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Biblical Beasts: Leviathan

Thursday, August 04, 2011
The first question I suspect many people will have about a leviathan is, 'What is it?' There is, it must be said, no simple answer to this question. The earliest translation of the Old Testament, the Greek Septuagint, calls it a dragon or serpent, while the Latin Vulgate sometimes follows the Greek, and sometimes leaves the Hebrew name, Leviathan. This was the approach adopted by the translators of the King James version of the Bible, which, with its huge influence on the English language, has given us the word Leviathan.


Photograph by Gianfranco Lanzetti
This doesn't get us an awful lot closer to understanding what one is though. Modern scholars have suggested it might be a crocodile, or perhaps a whale, but in fact we can see a certain significance in leaving the name untranslated. It represents something more than an ordinary animal, since it is clear from the mention of Leviathan in Isaiah 27:1 that this animal has some kind of apocalyptic significance. We could perhaps identify it, for example, with the dragon which features so prominently in the book of Revelation.


In any case, the Leviathan does seem to be some kind of sea creature or, as we might say, sea monster, and this perhaps gives us the most useful key to understanding its significance. In some ancient Near Eastern creation myths, the creation of the world was the result of a battle of the creator god with an ancient and powerful sea monster: it symbolised a power opposed to that of the creator. In the Psalms, though, the Psalmist sings to God of the Leviathan as 'the monster you made to play with' (Psalm 103:26). For the Lord, creation was not the result of some cosmic struggle, but a completely free act of love: thus everything in the world is the object of his delight, even sea monsters, or crocodiles, or, in short, Leviathan.
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Thinking Faith and the Grand Design

Wednesday, August 03, 2011
Last week Brother Robert Verrill attended the Thinking Faith week at Boarbank Hall and he gave a talk about Stephen Hawking’s latest book ‘the Grand Design.’ Here is a summary of his talk. Read more

Biblical Beasts: Kid

Tuesday, August 02, 2011
There are a surprising number of ways in which kids are used in the Old Testament. You’ve probably all heard of the Passover lamb, but in fact it was also permissible to eat a kid at the Passover. Kids could also be used for burnt offerings, fellowship offerings, and sin offerings.


Amongst the more morally dubious uses for a kid was Jacob’s deception of his blind father Isaac by wearing the skins of kids so that he could receive the blessing that was meant for his brother Esau. Then there’s the rather bizarre story of Judah offering a kid as payment to a prostitute who happened to be his daughter-in-law Tamar. But the really big no-no when it comes to the use of a kid is cooking a kid in its mother’s milk. From this prohibition comes the restriction on Koshar food of not eating meat with dairy products.





It is not entirely clear why there should be such a restriction, but one interesting theory is the claim that an essential part of Judaism was a desire for clear separation and the abhorrence for mixtures. In Hebrew, the word for separation, kadosh, also means holy, and so practices such as not eating a kid in its mother’s milk could be symbolic of Israel’s call to holiness. It’s understandable why this particular combination might be objectionable to Jews. The kid once it had been drained of its blood in preparation to be cooked was very definitely dead, whereas milk was given to a kid to give it life. This was unacceptable to a holy people who were aware of the sharpest separation that existed on God’s earth between the realm of the living and the domain of the dead. But equally we can see why this prohibition should have been lifted under Christianity, for the separation between death and life has now been overcome by Christ’s Passion - holiness is no longer about separation, but about being united in Christ. Read more
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