Tuesday, August 18, 2009

OMG! I know some Biblical history

Well, today is the second day of school which is a lot more fun than justifying my book reviewing methods for the umpteeth time.

(By the way, I am not sure I feel like justifying my book reviews to someone who can not spell my name right. It is NOT Morgan Drake Epstein; it is Morgan Drake Eckstein. It is a subtle difference. My last name means "cornerstone"; I have no idea what Epstein means. All I know is that none of my work shows up on a goggle of Morgan Drake Epstein.

(As for my posting book reviews on Associated Content and having Adsense on my blog, I happen to be a freelance writer. I realize that the world view of occultists says that writers should give all their copyrights away, and never make a dime, for the good of humanity. But I believe that the divine wants me to have a roof over my head...and considering writing and annoying people are the only two skills I have...well, you get the picture.

(Furthermore, going back and changing a book review when my opinion of the book has not changed...I am sorry...are you trying to control the free press? By the way, research by book publishers has always indicated that bad book reviews do not hurt book sales. The key to book sales is "buzz"; even a bad book review is helpful.

(And there is a long list of writers who think I reviewed their work wrongly...get in line. Nobody is getting a rewrite; your personal opinion of my motives are no more important than my friendship with the other writers that I have trashed.

(I am not sure if any of that was helpful, but I wanted to get it off my chest. Now back to the regular scheduled blog post.)

So this semester, my third at the University of Colorado at Denver, I am taking:

Chemistry for the Consumer
Colorado History
Gothic Literature
and The Bible as Literature.

It was during The Bible as Literature class that I realized that I am not a normal student. And not just in the nontraditional sense (remember I became a freelance writer and a college student because of unemployment).

Now, I am taking the Bible class because I am not terribly familar with the Bible. Occasionally, I can spot a Biblical reference when I run across it; but most of the time, I will have no clue where it is from. Not good if you are a Literature major, or a ceremonial magician for that matter.

As a kid, my background in the Bible was the Big Little Book of Bible Stories. My parents did not agree on religion, so I was raised with none with the exceptation of the forementioned book. The little bit of religous training I got was from my aunt: a Garderian witch. I did some exploring and browsing of various religions in my twenties before coming back to Wicca, though I adopted a different flavor to call my own.

In the nineties, I found myself in Golden Dawn, which for some reason does not seem to be the same branch or culture as some other people experienced (could it be that they told the hierarchy where to go for a reason?); this is where I picked up my initial Kabbalah training.

(I was also influenced by Modern Magick, which despite being published by a certain book company, was actually a working textbook, as in it was attempting to teach practical magic.)

And as everyone who studies Kabbalah eventually learns, it is rooted in the Bible. Which is how the son of a Catholic went back studying the lore of his ancestors who decided to become Catholic to avoid being burned at the stake for being Jewish.

(I am not sure how they would feel about me being pelted for writing terrible book reviews...but I am not changing my opinion, thank you very much.)

Though the course of studying Kabbalah, I picked up some history of how the Bible came to be (I love history, hence my minor). That and I have tied some of the history classes I have taken to waht I already knew.

So I knew I had some knowledge about the history connected with the Bible.

What I did not realize was that my peers, my fellow class mates, had no knowledge of how the Bible came into being. We were doing the scaffold exercise (the professor borrowed the idea from Carl, who I had for Greek history two semesters ago). Basically you are given ten events in a random order that occur in the period of history you are about to study. You try to put them in order. (I did better with Bible history than I did with Greek history.)

These ten events became the scaffold (or in my case, a ladder) that you plug the rest of the dates into. It is the big picture, much like plugging things into the Tree of Life.

But I can not help worrying about my fellow college students. I presume that they are representive of their generation. No sense of history, no sense of literature. And most of them, informal poll, seem to be communication majors.

It is obivous that my bad book reviews are not the only thing that the world needs to worry about.


Theo Huffman said...

I'm dying to know what the ten events are to see if I could put them in order.

Frater Yechidah said...

It's unfortunate that people want writers to do their job for free, and even more unfortunate that occultists tend not to have any idea about copyright, what with them downloading thousands of pdfs of books that are still widely available in print.

It's also unfortunate that people have a hard time accepting the fact that a book review is supposed to be honest, reflecting how much the reviewer liked or disliked the book. Perhaps the negative reviews are just a testament to the growing pile of slush that publishers are churning out these days rather than a problem with the reviewer.

Keep up the writing, regardless of the nay-sayers, especially those who stoop so low as personal attack.


Morgan Drake Eckstein said...

To Scribbler: I want to ask the professor for permission before posting the list.

To Dean: This felt like a personal attack, especially with the misspelling of my name, but I am not sure that it was. Yet they did mention that their friends think that I am being political (favoring certain Orders over theirs) with my reviews. This person knows about copyrights...they are merely annoyed that adsense tends to display ads for the other Order before theirs (perhaps they should expand their advertising budget).

Servitor Lucem said...

As someone who works in mass media, I can tell you that this lack of knowledge of history is no accident. The whole idea these days is to detach each individual from every other one, as much as can possibly be done. It's easier to frighten loners than people connected with a community. Frightened people tend to buy and to do what they're told...
You're right, there's great cause for concern.

Jonathan Artemis Pierce said...

I'm of the opinion that if someone doesn't like a book review and takes the time to comment on it, it is a good thing. Not only are they reading your review, but they are reading your review. They are promoting your review in the same way you are promoting the book -- with buzz. More buzz, more clicks on your AdSense.

Regardless of how some occultists view the acquisition of money, they often neglect to realize that our art is dedicated to Hermes, who, among other things, is the god of commerce; or to quote an old friend, "A magician who can't keep a roof over their heads isn't a very good magician." (The same person also used to say, "There's nothing romantic about a starving artist. A starving artist is a dead artist, and dead artists can't make any art.")

(I think my Capricorn rising is showing....)