Fresh out of Guardian columns, but here’s this week’s reading nonetheless. Just wound up the new translation of Herodotus’s The Histories, by Tom Holland. It’s a fine version, although idiomatically modern in many places. But that does serve to make the text more immediate, and probably more like what the initial audience in Athens would have heard. Highly recommended, and much better than getting your Thermopylae by way of Frank Miller.
And now to the last of the Guardian weekly readings posts, with a look at Spinoza. There’s an odd resemblance to Calvin, at least in my personal pantheon, that would have horrified both of them. Each is a beautifully structured thinker, in a very admirable way, but one that I just can’t follow along with. The particular thing about Spinoza is the recent vogue in attributing the entire foundation of the modern world to him, exemplified in a whole series of things by Jonathan Israel.
The general who advances without coveting fame and retreats without fearing disgrace, whose only thought is to protect his country and do good service for his sovereign, is the jewel of the kingdom. – Sun Tzu
When I started studying political philosophy in graduate school, the emphasis was on the classics and above all, Plato. Augustine, the Church Fathers, and Bonaventure only kept reinforcing this as I got farther and farther into theology. Here Mark Vernon gives a fair rundown on how Plato somehow stands across Western thinking. Part 1: Why Plato?Part 2: Who was Plato’s Socrates?Part 3: Philosophy as a way of lifePart 4: What do you love?
Five Oldest Pubs in the United Kingdom - Anglotopia.net: "The Old Ferry Boat is a great example of one of the pubs that started as an inn and still operates as such today. Though no documents apparently exist of when the Inn actually began, one record stated that liquor was served there as early as 560 A.D. and the foundations are reportedly another century older." Mind-boggling witness to some of the continuities possible in the Old World.
Law school applications are headed for a 30-year low, reflecting increased concern over soaring tuition, crushing student debt and diminishing prospects of lucrative employment upon graduation. One for my students as they contemplate the future. Law Schools’ Applications Fall as Costs Rise and Jobs Are Cut - NYT
Can I let you in on a secret? Typing two spaces after a period is totally, completely, utterly, and inarguably wrong. Truth from Sinai. Two spaces after a period: Why you should never, ever do it. - Slate Magazine
Everybody seems to be in love with digital textbooks. Except students. Cautionary note from Nicholas Carr. Technological determinism and the textbook
The passive voice is like any tool. You can use it well, you can use it badly, and you can abuse it right out. One for my students. Passive Voice, Used Well