May 29, 2011

The Two Guardians of the Mountain of Humility

humility sisters anselm canterbury lesson mountain god religion modesty
Finally settled in and more or less unpacked up at my new home in Kingston, New york, I am now resuming my entries in Orexis Dianoētikē, a bit more tardily than I had hoped (to my chagrin), but at least getting on with it. The translation below is from the second part of chapter 1 of the Dicta Anselmi, and with it, I am taking back up the latest project of my Sunday posts: discussing the virtue of humility and depictions of gradations or levels of humility in Christian monastic literature.

The last post in this series, More on Anselm  and Humility -- I'm almost embarrassed to admit -- dates back almost one month.  Today, in order to get things moving again, I'm just providing long-overdue translation, sans commentary on this extremely interesting set of metaphors.  Next week I'll go into the twists and turns of these passages and discuss them in detail.  So, here they are:  those two previously promised sisters, the guardians of the mountain of humility.

May 10, 2011

Where I've Been and Where I'm Going

It has been slightly over a week since I posted my last blog entry, which tantalized by promising further translations of Saint Anselm's writings and sayings about humility. I'm thankful that, over the eight months of its publication so far, Orexis Dianoētikē has developed -- for an academic blog written part time by a scholar admittedly and indulgently ranging all over the map of topics -- a solid readership. Doubtless a portion of the numerous reads of the posts and glances over the pages were one-time, non-repeat clicks. A core of devoted readers -- who subscribe, comment, wait for announcements of new posts (on Facebook, Twitter, Academia, and LinkedIn), and praise, condemn, argue or ask questions about the posts in those electronic forums -- has also developed, and continues to grow. Interestingly, a good portion of that readership is international -- particularly from The UK, Canada, Japan, Russia, Germany, South Korea, Brazil, Spain, and China.

I feel as if I owe some explanation to my readers as to why my posts have slowed over the last weeks and perhaps may not resume their normal rate for a little while longer. I am right in the middle of the process of leaving my post at Fayetteville State University, where for the last three years I have taught, researched, started a new projects, and even taken on some administrative, advisory, and assessment positions. Not only am I step by step extricating myself from the University -- grades are in, but I still have four reports to write, and was being called upon to provide information in meetings yesterday and just a few minutes ago (I'm writing this during my last meeting) -- and not only have I been continuing or making good on a number of scholarly projects and commitments -- even more importantly, I am finally moving up to the Hudson valley in New York to end the painfully-long-distance phase of the relationship with my wife-to-be, partner, and collaborator in work, writing, and life. I am very excited to be leaving with my wagon packed to the gills with the first load later on today.

May 1, 2011

More on Anselm and Humility

 As I make my way through the seemingly myriad steps required for me to be able to extricate myself from my current position at Fayetteville State University and the life that I've made for myself over the last three years in Fayetteville, North Carolina -- and as I prepare to deliver my penultimate public lecture, on the Seven (or the Eight?) Deadly Sins, a little more than a week away  I've been able to devote somewhat less time to translating and meditating on Anselm's writings than I'd have liked.  But, I want to keep the momentum generated last Sunday going -- an impetus for ascending the mountain or ladder, or levels of the virtue of humility -- if only in words, in imagination, in a scholarly manner.

Humility is one of those virtues central not only to the monastic profession and way of life but to Christianity itself, taught about, learned, practiced, ruminated upon, and modeled not only by Jesus Christ himself but by so many of His followers, many of whom have unfolded portions of its intrinsic intelligibility previously unrealized or even suspected.  This was and remains one of the distinctive contributions by Christianity to moral philosophy, one which seems at times to have been lost sight of in many modern philosophical perspectives -- just look for example at Hume's or Nietzsche's construals of humility.