Jan. 29th, 2009

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The non-fiction edition:

I have also been reading some non-fiction (outside of general web surfing, that is). Mostly, I suspect, that's been in response to me putting myself on a bit of a news drought, to avoid anything that's even a little bit like work.

I haven't read much, but I've dipped in here and there.

So:

Karl Marx, and his writing on the US Civil War.

When you covered Marx extensively at Uni, particularly in units with titles like Modern Theories of the State, it's easy to forget what a good writer he could be and what an absolutely awesome political analyst he was, particularly when talking about the current events of the day.

This is a fascinating series of essays (there's also a fair bit of polemic, granted) in which Marx defends the Unionist position against the prevalent British view that the Confederacy should be allowed to secede - he makes, in particular, some interesting points about the expansionary nature of the slave states, along with some pointed commentary on the contortions the British press were putting themselves through to blame the war on the North, without also being seen to support slavery per se.

The essays also shed a fair bit of light on British politics of the day, in particular the clamour for war with the US - something I wasn't aware of before now.

I haven't read my way through them all, but there are some cracking essays in this series which are well worth a read.

Stuckenbruck & North, eds: Early Jewish and Christian Monotheism.

I think it's probably just me here that cares about this one, but anyway...

I've had this book out of the ECU library for, well, quite a while, and dipped into it again properly last week. This book made me sorely disappointed that I didn't keep reading in the field after I got my BA a few years ago - despite there being some fascinating papers (Struckenbruck's essay on the development of beliefs about angels in post-Biblical Judaism and its influence on the development of early Christologies, in particular) I've so lost track of the theoretical and historical framework for most of these papers that it makes it very difficult for me to read them thoughtfully and critically.

Which shits me. Still, dipping back in reminds why I enjoyed studying this stuff during my theol degree in the first place, which is always a good thing.

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