Category Archives: History

The New Old World

There are three particular things I will not suppose, and one that I will.

I dare not suppose I can fully understand from my American home in this “New World” the perspective of those who live in the old country―for whom our one or two handsful of American generations would seem but a cute beginning.

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If By Some New Magic

Blind Justice. Credit.

If by some new magic, this land should suddenly
See justice done swiftly and impartially
In government and business alike
With no tyrant or scoundrel ever again
Escaping what is due him by law
America would soon discover not only
What peace and order she has been missing,
But the security that comes from having the leaders
Fear crossing that dreadful line beyond which
Cheating is not an option.

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Today’s the Day in the Painting: July 2nd

“Declaration of Independence”, by John Trumbull (1819), depicting the presentation of the Declaration
by the committee to the 2nd Continental Congress on July 2, 1776–two days before it was ratified and signed. Credit.

Today’s the day in the painting—the 2nd of July, when the committee of five presented their work to the 2nd Continental Congress for its approval. It would be two days before the
Congress would vote to approve the Declaration of Independence. Fifty-six men would sign it, sealing the country’s fate at the cost of inevitable war.

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His Party is Right, He Tells Us

See image credit.

His party is right, he tells us,
And the other one is wrong—
And they really ought to know better, the idiots.

And for the life of him, he can’t fathom how anybody
Could be that gosh-darn stupid and blockheaded.

And he thanks God he’s not one of them.

And now, dear reader,
Having told you this much,
I leave it to you to discern
From the information given
Whether this man is
A Democrat or a Republican.

The First Grand Demonstration Day

Emil Keyser’s Expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Credit.

Many will reason that Adam and Eve
Had not been ready to receive
The knowledge of good and evil,
And simply partook too soon of something
That would have been altogether
Proper for them—somehow—at a later time.

But I have lately come to wonder
Whether it had not been the very plan of God
That they should begin right away in that
Cavalier discovery of those two ways in which
They had been created naked—
And of what all was to be done about it.

It was the first grand demonstration day—
The result of which being that most of us
Did get dressed in the one way—

Even if having as yet little clue as to the second,
And going around half naked while fully clothed.

Are Azazel and Satan the Same Being?

A modern interpretation of Azazel as a Satanic, goatlike demon,
from Collin de Plancy’s Dictionnaire Infernal (Paris,1825). Credit.

There are differing opinions (of old) on whether Azazel and Satan are the same being. So to start off, let me introduced Azazel by what are probably the three most famous passages about him—the first from the Bible, and the second two from 1 Enoch. I present these without comment. Otherwise, I’d be writing a book!:

And Aaron shall cast lots over the two goats, one lot for the Lord and the other lot for Azazel.[a]9 And Aaron shall present the goat on which the lot fell for the Lord and use it as a sin offering, 10 but the goat on which the lot fell for Azazel shall be presented alive before the Lord to make atonement over it, that it may be sent away into the wilderness to Azazel.

Leviticus 16:8-10. ESV

8. And the whole earth has been corrupted through the works that were taught by Azazel: to him ascribe all sin.

1 Enoch 10:8. R.H. Charles Translation

1. And Azazel taught men to make swords, and knives, and shields, and breastplates, and made known to them the metals 〈of the earth〉 and the art of working them, and bracelets, and ornaments, and the use of antimony, and the beautifying of the eyelids, and all kinds of costly stones, and all coloring tinctures. 2. And there arose much godlessness, and they committed fornication, and they were led astray, and became corrupt in all their ways. Semjaza taught enchantments, and root-cuttings, Armaros the resolving of enchantments, Baraqijal,  (taught) astrology, Kokabel the constellations, Ezeqeel the knowledge of the clouds, 〈Araqiel the signs of the earth, Shamsiêl the signs of the sun〉, and Sariel the course of the moon. And as men perished, they cried, and their cry went up to heaven . . . 

1 Enoch 8:1-2. R.H. Charles Translation

Are Azazel and Satan the same being?

I don’t think they are, but Origen did.

Origen pegs Azazel as the serpent in the Garden of Eden.

For the serpent–…–having become the cause of man’s expulsion from the divine Paradise, … having deceived the woman by a promise of divinity and of greater blessings; ….Moreover (the goat), which in the book Of Leviticus is sent away (into the wilderness), and which in the Hebrew language is named Azazel, was none other than this;

Origen. Contra Celsus, Book 6. Chapter 43
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