July 24, 2011 |
Absolute Monarchs A History of the Papacy John Julius Norwich Random House: 513 pp., $30 When preeminent British historian John Julius Norwich tells us in the introduction to his sweeping history of the Catholic papacy that his job is to give us "a straightforward single-volume history" of the world's "most astonishing social, political, and spiritual institution ever created," he's hit the nail on the proverbial head. The centuries-old Roman papacy truly is a universally unrivaled institution, and in dense detail, Norwich's book shows us the historic playbook.
November 25, 2009 |
Clear out all those books on tape. Mel Brooks' and Carl Reiner's "The 2000 Year Old Man: The Complete History" was released Tuesday, just in time to use holiday travel, or any other ambient free time, as an opportunity not only to laugh, a lot, but to explore the inner workings of what is one of the most famous comedy routines of all time. The three-CD, single- DVD set chronicles the iconic title character from his earliest beginnings, as part of a comedy routine Brooks and Reiner performed for their friends, to the 1975 animated special that may have been, among other things, a paean to Saran Wrap.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 14, 2009 |
The word of God has appeared in many forms over the centuries, as scribes and printers have transmitted holy writings by hand and machine. Now two Southern California universities are preserving some of this history with separate sets of rare religious texts that originated 1,500 years apart but share a common biblical thread. Azusa Pacific University has acquired five fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the earliest known versions of the Hebrew Bible. The 2,000-year-old goatskin shards, featuring passages from the books of Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy, will be exhibited in May at the evangelical Christian university in the San Gabriel Valley.
August 8, 2009 |
Archaeologists have unearthed a sprawling country villa believed to be the birthplace of Vespasian, the Roman emperor who built the Colosseum, they said. The 2,000-year-old ruins were found about 80 miles northeast of Rome, near Cittareale, lead archaeologist Filippo Coarelli said. Vespasian, whose full name was Titus Flavius Vespasianus, brought stability to the empire following turmoil under the extravagant Emperor Nero and a civil war among his successors.
August 1, 2009 |
U.S. archaeologists have found an extremely rare 2,000-year-old limestone cup inscribed with 10 lines of Aramaic or Hebrew script near the Zion Gate of the Old City of Jerusalem. Such ritual cups are common, especially in areas that were inhabited by priests, but usually they are unmarked or bear only a single line of text, such as a name, said archaeologist Shimon Gibson of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, who led the dig along with James Tabor of the same school.
July 21, 2009 |
Afew years ago, while walking through Mea Shearim, the Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of Jerusalem, I came across a strange poster. It pictured the Second Temple, the center of the world before the world was smashed in AD 70 by Rome, over a Hebrew phrase that means something like, "Jews! Watch what you say! For The Holy of Holies was destroyed not by Roman soldiers, nor by the Divine will, but by the gossip of the people." What could it mean, this talk of gossip?