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« American Society of International Law (Dean) | Main | Not Honest Enough for BYU »

April 05, 2007


From Dr.Collins' words, I suspect he just decided to 'throw in the towel' regarding wondering about the existence or not of God and took the easy way out. He chose the Christian tradition, probably because it was what he felt most comfortable with.
More interesting to me than his quoting C.S.Lewis was his brief reference to life-and-death situations faced at the bedsides of his patients. I suspect those have more to do with his conversion than he wishes to let on.
On the other hand, Philip Pullman is fairly honest in admitting that his is not a total disbelief in God, just that he doesn't know, as it does not seem to be justified in what little he knows of this world and existence. That of course doesn't preclude the possibility of something existing without your knowing it- just that it would be out of your sphere of knowledge.

Lewis was also, of course, a popular Christian apologist, which surely accounts for Collins' mildly misleading reference. But when I think "faith and reason," by gosh, I think Aquinas or—much more fun—Anselm.

As for citation to appropriate sources, consider why one might resort to, say, a physicist rather than a philologist to make a point about "literature." Back in the '80s, a series of papers was published by scientists at UC Davis and Paul Needham, a noted early book scholar, reporting the findings of the composition of printer's ink discerned through analysis of old books and manuscripts with an out-of-commission cyclotron. I particularly enjoyed these articles, because I had recently read Allan Stevenson's sublime Problem of the Missale Speciale, a similarly "scientific" study conducted by Stevenson, using only hand and eye (and perhaps magnifying glass), of shifting watermarks in copies of the eponymous book (which may antedate Gutenberg's Bible). The intersection of science and literary studies was enthralling.

Of course, you could reply that these scholars weren't really studying literature--style, genre, form, rhetoric, influences, etc.--but were simply examining the material substratum through which literature happened to be communicated. To that I would reply that the work of historical bibliographers has always focused on the material text, and that this work contributes to our knowledge of literature through preparation and publication of authoritative editions of literary works.

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