Author: Thomas Fleming

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Gilbert and Sullivan, Part I: A Brief and Informal Guide

There are many studies, commentaries, and guidebooks to the world of Sir W.S. Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan.  I have read or consulted several them over the years, and I will provide a little bibliography as this series—undertaken in response to requests—but I disclaim any specialized knowledge that is not in the hands or in the heads of perhaps tens of thousands of people who have read, watched, and listened to their work for many years.

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Resisting Evil, V: The Fundamental Things of Life

Instead of plunging headlong into the tedious history of self-defense legislation, let us rather begin (as Plato or John Locke might) by imagining a state of society in which there is no legitimate authority or, at least, no legal power to protect the innocent or punish the guilty.  We do not have to dig into the ethnographic accounts of such violent peoples as the Ifugao of the Philippines or the Yanamano of South America.  The Celtic, Slavic, and Germanic peoples of Europe provide a rich record of violent periods in which self-help and vengeance were a normal means of protection...

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The Autodidact Remembers

Once upon a time I decided to learn Japanese.  I had none of the usual practical reasons: no business interests that would take me to Japan nor even an academic project comparing Noh plays with Attic tragedy.

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Poetry: George Meredith

Meredith is best known as the author of such novels as The Ordeal of Richard Feverel and The Egoist, but he was also, at his best, a fine poet.  Unfortunately, much of his poetry is more like fiction in verse.

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Resisting Evil, IV: The Duty to Defend

Christ’s equation of physical violence with internal anger raises questions that juries often have to face: What are the circumstances that might justify the use of lethal violence in self-defense?  Specifically, when an argument leads to a violent altercation, does the one party bear any responsibility for the consequences if, though the other party struck the first blow, his own anger was a contributing factor? 

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Resisting Evil IV

When a Christian engages in lawful homicide, either as executioner or soldier, it is the ruler and not he who is morally responsible for the killing.  The soldier or judge is merely the instrument of a ruler whose power comes from God, as Christ informs Pilate during the interrogation.

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Jerks 0.C: Diversity

Diversity breeds moral confusion, which is aggravated by the high population density that encourages a comfortable sense of anonymity.  Anyone who has lived 50 or 60 years in North America can understand what has happened

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Resisting Evil III

The admonition to resist not evil is not aimed at army commanders, kings, and emperors, much less at settlers in a violent wilderness or urban homesteaders, but at members of a face-to-face community of the sort that Jesus had experienced in Galilee and in which Christians are going to live as members of a parish and diocese. 

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Summer Seminar 2022

The theme of next year’s Summer Seminar will be Augustan England, which we are defining as the period between The “Glorious” Revolution of 1688 and the death of King George I.  These were the years of William III and Good Queen Anne, the Duke of Marlborough’s victories and also the age that saw the emergence of two distinct political parties and ideologies.