Archive for the ‘Doctor Who’ Tag

Feast of Edgar J. Goodspeed (January 21)   Leave a comment

Above:  The University of Chicago

Image in the Public Domain

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EDGAR JOHNSON GOODSPEED (OCTOBER 23, 1871-JANUARY 13, 1962)

U.S. Baptist Biblical Scholar and Translator

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In the beginning the Word existed.  The Word was with God, and the Word was divine.

It was he that was with God in the beginning. Everything came into existence through him, and apart from him nothing came to be.  It was by him that life came into existence, and that life was the light of mankind.  The light is still shining in the darkness, for the darkness has never put it out.

There appeared a man by the name of John, with a message from God.  He came to give testimony, to testify to the light, so that everyone might come to believe in it through him.  He was not the light; he came to testify to the light.

The real light, which sheds light upon everyone, was just coming into the world.  He came into the world, and though the world came into existence through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to his home, and his own family did not welcome him.  But to all who did receive him and believe in him he gave the right to become children of God, owing their birth not to nature nor to any human or physical impulse, but to God.

So the Word became flesh and blood and lived for a while among us, abounding in blessing and truth, and we saw the honor God had given him, such honor as an only son receives from his father.  (John testified to him and cried out–for it was he who said it–“He who was to come after me is now ahead of me, for he existed before me!”)

For from his abundance we have all had a share, and received blessing after blessing.  For while the Law was given through Moses, blessing and truth came to us through Jesus Christ.  No one has ever seen God; it is the divine Only Son, who leans upon his Father’s breast, that has made him known.

–John 1:1-18, The New Testament:  An American Translation (1923)

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Edgar J. Goodspeed comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via his translation of the New Testament and the Apocrypha, as well as from The Interpreter’s Bible.  He wrote the general article, “The Canon of the New Testament,” for Volume I (1952), of The Interpreter’s Bible.

TWO EDGAR J. GOODSPEEDS;

DO NOT CONFUSE ONE FOR THE OTHER

Before I write about our saint, I choose to distinguish between the two Edgar J. Goodspeeds–uncle and nephew–and to explain which one was which.  Some print and online sources conflate the two men.

Edgar Johnson Goodspeed (1833-1881) and his brother, Thomas Wake Goodspeed, were Baptist ministers.  This Edgar J. Goodspeed served as the pastor of the Second Baptist Church, Chicago, Illinois, from 1864 to 1876.

Edgar Johnson Goodspeed (October 23, 1871, in Quincy, Illinois-January 13, 1962, in Bel Air, California), the topic of this post, was a son of Thomas Wake Goodspeed and Mary Ten Broek.

As I advise my students in history courses, keep the facts straight and the chronology in order.  I think about that counsel when I read sources that list Edgar J. Goodspeed (1871-1962) as the pastor of Second Baptist Church, Chicago, from 1864 to 1876, and Edgar J. Goodspeed (1833-1881) as the translator of An American Translation of the New Testament (1923) and the Apocrypha (1938).  This is a matter of history, not a Doctor Who story.

EDGAR J. GOODSPEED (II)

(THE PROFESSOR AND TRANSLATOR,

NOT THE PASTOR OF SECOND BAPTIST CHURCH)

Edgar J. Goodspeed came from a family with traditions of academia, intellectualism, and Baptist ministry.  His father, deeply involved in The University of Chicago, taught his son to embrace education.  This family milieu influenced the course of his life.  Goodspeed earned his B.A. degree from Denison University, Granville, Ohio (1890), studied Semitic languages at Yale University in 1890-1891, and pursued graduate studies at The University of Chicago, culminating in his Ph.D. in 1898.  While a graduate student in Chicago, Goodspeed taught classics at Morgan Park Academy and the South Side Academy, Chicago.  After studying in Europe and Palestine (1898-1900), our saint joined the faculty of The University of Chicago in 1900.  He remained there for 37 years.  Goodspeed became the Professor of Biblical and Patristic Greek (1915) and the Chairman of the Department of New Testament and Early Christian Literature (1923).  He also built up the university’s collection of New Testament manuscripts.

Goodspeed, a fine scholar, wrote books and articles for academic audiences, as well as books for general audiences.  He translated the New Testament (1923), the Apocrypha (1938), and the Apostolic Fathers (1950).  He also helped to translate the Revised Standard Version of the Bible (New Testament, 1946; Old Testament, 1952).  His original works for popular audiences included:

  1. The Story of the New Testament (1916, 1928),
  2. The Story of the Old Testament (1934),
  3. The Story of the Bible (1936),
  4. Introduction to the New Testament (1937),
  5. The Story of the Apocrypha (1939),
  6. How Came the Bible? (1940),
  7. How to Read the Bible (1946),
  8. Paul (1947), and
  9. A Life of Jesus (1956).

Goodspeed was a fairly liberal yet not revolutionary scholar.  He wrote, for example, that some of the Pauline epistles were not of St. Paul the Apostle and that St. John the Divine/Evangelist/Apostle did not write and could not have composed the Gospel of John.  These positions have continued to irritate fundamentalists, who tend to have low thresholds for becoming irritated.

Goodspeed retired to Bel Air, California, in 1937.  He died at the age of 90 years, in 1962.

His written legacy persists, fortunately.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 9, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT EDITH STEIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN AND PHILOSOPHER

THE FEAST OF SAINT HERMAN OF ALASKA, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX MONK AND MISSIONARY TO THE ALEUT

THE FEAST OF JOHN DRYDEN, ENGLISH PURITAN THEN ANGLICAN THEN ROMAN CATHOLIC POET, PLAYWRIGHT, AND TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF MARY SUMNER, FOUNDER OF THE MOTHERS’ UNION

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O God, you have endowed us with memory, reason, and skill.

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Edgar J. Goodspeed and all others]

who have dedicated their lives to you and to the intellectual pursuits.

May we, like them, respect your gift of intelligence fully and to your glory.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 103

Philippians 4:8-9

Mark 12:28-34

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 6, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHRODEGANG OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF EDMUND KING, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

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Flagrant Disregard for Continuity   2 comments

I am an old-school Trekkie.  I remember a time when available Star Trek consisted of the 1966-1969 episodes in reruns on local stations, a handful of movies in VHS format, and, when the gods smiles, reruns of the 1973-1975 animated series on cable television.  I recall possessing a large library of VHS cassettes full of episodes I recorded.  My earliest memory of Star Trek is the classic episode Metamorphosis, which originally aired in 1967.  I can recite Star Trek II:  The Wrath of Khan (1982) word-for-word and, when I listen to the soundtrack, know exactly what is happening.  I know that Prime timeline stories ended with the lamentable Star Trek:  Nemesis (2002), and that, regardless of what anyone says, the events of the equally lamentable Star Trek:  Enterprise (2001-2005) exist in a parallel universe created in Star Trek:  First Contact (1996) and do not precede the original series in universe.

I also know that Star Trek‘s Prime Timeline is a sequence of period pieces.  Each incarnation of the Enterprise is a given size and looks a certain way.  The level of technology is what it is.  The uniforms are what they are.  The bridge design is what it is.  Continuity matters.  Maintaining it is a matter of respect for the franchise.

I have no use for the open contempt for human dignity that many critics of Star Trek:  Discovery and other series (notably Series 11 of Doctor Who) spew.  The misogyny, sexism, and homophobia of these individuals is wrong.  These critics also seem not to grasp that socially progressive politics have been part of Doctor Who since 1963 and Star Trek since 1964.  Do these critics forget A Private Little War, classic Star Trek‘s critique of the Vietnam War?  The Daleks, who debuted in one the earliest First Doctor serials, are an unveiled allegory of fascism in general and of Nazism in particular.  I also remember Patterns of Force, a classic Star Trek episode that used reproductions of Nazi uniforms.  In a related matter, I remember that, when news of the recasting of Starbuck (renamed Kara Thrace) in the reimagined Battlestar Galactica broke in 2003, many people complained about political correctness.  I also recall that Katee Sackhoff played that role brilliantly.

My main critique of Star Trek:  Discovery is that it openly shows disregard for continuity in both visual style and story content.  If one is going to film a prequel series to the original series, one should reproduce the look of the technology and uniforms, and mind the chronology meticulously.

My comment to all those is responsible for this abomination of a series is,

I hope your series fails miserably and ends as soon as possible.  Stop insulting those of us who care about our franchises. Don’t let the door hit you where the dog should have bit you.  If you want to take such liberties with details, create your own fictional universe in which to set your stories.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 12, 2019 COMMON ERA

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Generational Experiences, Memories, and Knowledge   Leave a comment

Tomorrow I will begin to teach my Fall Semester 2018 sections of United States History I (through 1877) at the Oconee Campus of the University of North Georgia

Whenever I prepare lessons, I think about generational experiences, memories, and knowledge.  The birth years of my students range from 1995 to 2001, with the greatest concentration of in 1999 and 2000.  Given that my memory reaches back to the 1970s, I am beginning to feel relatively old.  I find that PowerPoint is not a useful tool for teaching history; besides, most people who give PowerPoint presentations seem just to read their slides.  (I can read slides; why are people reading them to me?)  Neither do I teach from a script.  No, I teach from skeletal notes.  This means that, after I prepare and as I teach, I speak not quite extemporaneously.  I understand the material, but have no prepared comments.  This means that I have to watch my references.

Technological and cultural references are especially tricky.  I recall that once I confused a student when I said “typewriter.”  My Saturday Night Live references from the Dana Carvey-Phil Hartman era fall flat as nobody recognizes the reference to the Church Lady.  (“Isn’t that special?” “Could it be Satan?”)  These students have no memory of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.  Most of them have little sense of historical perspective; the 1990s might as well be ancient history for them.  If they do not remember it, it is ancient history, by their standards.  Books seem to be objects of curiosity for many of my students, who are addicted to screens anyway, and who mistake searching via Google for conducting research.

I come from a certain bookish background and a particular time.  Nine thick dictionaries and a thesaurus are on my desk.  I do not need nine dictionaries, but I like them.  The smell of old paper inspires great joy in me.  I like to hold a book. read, and turn pages.  I have no television or streaming service, and want none.  Days pass without me turning on my television set.  I enjoy screening foreign art movies as well as Marx Brothers films.  The original, British version of House of Cards (all three miniseries) is superior to the American version, I know.  Torchwood:  Children of Earth breaks my heart every time I watch it.  Tom Baker is the best actor to have played the Doctor; that is obvious.

I perceive the world differently than my students do partially because I have more and different experiences than they do.  My students are, for better and worse–hopefully more of the former than the latter–part of the future.  I hope to contribute to the shaping of that future, for the better, as I pass on to my students much of what I know.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 19, 2018 COMMON ERA

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Spiritual Life and Cinema   1 comment

Above:  A Screen Capture from Bicycle Thieves (1948)

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I am preparing to start my fourth year as the person who chooses films for the Spiritual Life Movie Series at my parish, St. Gregory the Great Episcopal Church, Athens, Georgia.  On the last Friday of each month, from January to October, I screen a film.  Others set up the equipment, arrange the chairs, and bring the refreshments.  My selections range from classics, such as Citizen Kane (1941) and Pier Paolo Pasolini’s revolutionary The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964), the latter of which Spanish Fascist dictator Francisco Franco banned for its apparently leftist politics, to more recent works, such as Away from Her (2006)Second Best (1994), and Doubt (2008).  I program an occasional documentary, such as The Overnighters (2014).  Quality is of the essence.  Toward that end I avoid openly evangelical films, which hold no appeal to me.  Art, however, fascinates me.  At least one spiritual theme is mandatory, however.  Regardless of my great affection for the 1937 version of The Prisoner of Zenda (the one remade as The Androids of Tara during the Key to Time season (1978-1979) of Doctor Who), I cannot find a spiritual lesson in that classic movie.

That I find myself doing this monthly task (1) makes sense, (2) contributes to the life of the parish, (3) fulfills a need I have to share great movies, and (4) confirms that I am at the right place at the right time.  I recall feeling out-of-place in many of the congregations in which I worshiped prior to August 2005, when I arrived in Athens, Georgia, and transferred to St. Gregory the Great Church.  I cannot imagine screening movies of my liking at any of the previous churches–certainly not in the rural United Methodist churches in which my father served.  Now I rejoice to have become integrated into the parish to which I have belonged for more than 12 years.

The first movie of the 2018 season (my fourth year) will be Bicycle Thieves (1948), a film also known in English as The Bicycle Thief.  The haunting masterpiece, superficially about the search for a stolen bicycle, a vehicle essential for one man to work, and therefore to feed and clothe his family in post-World War II Rome, Italy, is really about what happens to the father and his young son along the way.  This choice is consistent with my appetite for Italian art movies.  A good story can teach a spiritual lesson or a set of lessons without becoming preachy.  Wonderful cinematography accompanying that story adds to one’s experience of art.

As long as I have this opportunity to direct this series of movie screenings, I intend to (1) enjoy doing so and (2) do my best.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 2, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE NINTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS

THE FEAST OF JOHANN KONRAD WILHELM LOEHE, BAVARIAN LUTHERAN MINISTER AND COORDINATOR OF DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN MISSIONS

THE FEAST OF SAINTS NARCISSUS, ARGEUS, AND MARCELLINUS OF TOMI, ROMAN MARTYRS

THE FEAST OF SAINT ODILO OF CLUNY, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

THE FEAST OF SABINE BARING-GOULD, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

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