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Posts Tagged ‘Philosophy’

Growth demands a temporary surrender of security.
  —  Gail Sheehy
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On This Day In:
2018 The Price Of Justice Is (Sometimes) Security
2017 Time Too
2016 The Cornerstone Pays
2015 Would That This Be True
2014 More Likely
2013 Enjoyed The Desolation
Watching Faux News
2012 Speaking Of Products
2011 Ready To Be Immortal?

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The purpose of life is a life of purpose.
  —  Robert Byrne
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On This Day In:
2018 Only One You In All Time
2017 Have You Hugged A Tree Lately?
2016 Unconquerable Imagination
2015 Just Plain Wrong
2014 Finding Beliefs
2013 Pretty Confident
2012 Effective Ranges
2011 Three Wisdoms
2010 I’m Just Askin’…
Space & Time

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A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.
  ―  George Bernard Shaw
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On This Day In:
2018 Two Start Up Front
2017 I Love America Because…
An Act Of God
And So It Came To Pass (Act Of God part 2)
2016 As Far From
2015 Rocky 7
Just Like Politics
2014 Game And Legend
“Scientific” Pride In Humanity
2013 Real Honor
Catching Up
2012 Thoughts And Communications
2011 But How Does Peter Feel?
2010 Name That Regret

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Life isn’t about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.
  ―  George Bernard Shaw
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On This Day In:
2018 Two Jordans To Heaven
Speaking Of #45
2017 All Greek To Me
2016 Judgment
2015 I Love Bacon, Too
2014 The Wee Bit
2013 Reading Rules
2012 Cadet Prayer
2011 Easy To Tell
2010 A NEW Lion In The Senate (Channeling Mr. Smith)
Inception Redux
A Quick Hit Of Stats

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The author of this poem [the book of Job] is a profound philosopher with a superb command of language and an exquisite sense of natural beauty.  But the astonishing thing about the book of Job is that everyone who reads it comes to a somewhat different conclusion.   Job makes us vividly aware of the paradoxes in one of life’s ultimate questions —  why do we suffer pain?  —  but he doesn’t solve the problem.  He merely demonstrates that there are no easy answers.
This is similar to one of the principal discoveries of computer science, namely that some problems are inherently so complex that they can’t possibly be solved in a finite number of steps.  We must learn to face the fact that an intellectual approach will not lead to an understanding of the cosmos; we can’t transcend our limitations.  Yet we should keep trying.  We should question authority and be aware that the traditional wisdom of religious orthodoxy might be mistaken.  This book says that after an honest search, like job’s, we’ll learn to trust God’s fairness  —  even though some good men suffer, even though some wicked men prosper, even though religion itself remains a mystery.
  —  Donald E. Knuth
From his book:  “3:16 Bible Texts Illuminated
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On This Day In:
2018 Let Us Dare
2017 Two Good To Be Real
Secrets
2016 Learning Subtle Differences
2015 Dog Eat Dog World?
2014 And Sometimes Blogs About It
2013 Outside-In
2012 They Are All Perfect
2011 Delegation – The “How-To’s”
2009 Diet Update and Other Bits & Bobs…

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3:16 Bible Texts Illuminated”  —  book review
Today’s review is for “3:16 Bible Texts Illuminated” (1991©) written by Donald E. Knuth.  Back in 2011, I read another book by Knuth, titled: “Things A Computer Scientist Rarely Talks About“. (Review here.)  That book, was a discussion about the author’s faith and his prior book, which is being reviewed in this post.  When I retired (in 2017), I was presented with an Amazon gift voucher, which I promised to “waste” on books, music or technology.  In this case, part of it was used to buy this book (along with a number of other Knuth books).
To save everyone the time of reading my earlier review, basically, Knuth wanted to know if one can learn anything unique or unusual about the Bible by doing a stratified (but random) sampling / review of a particular Bible verse.  In theory, if you have a sufficiently large sample to draw from, you can gain “some” knowledge about any topic by analyzing a random sample of the topic’s data.
Because Knuth was not sure this type of investigation would work for literature, Knuth chose a verse he knew would have at least one interesting data point: “Chapter 3 Verse 16”.  The chapter and verse he was confident about was John Chapter 3: Verse 16 – “Yes, God loved the world so much that he gave his only child, so that all people with faith in him can escape destruction, and live forever.
The first problem Knuth encounters is that not all of the books of the Bible have 13 verses in their chapter 3.  To get around this, he simply carried the sample forward the same number (count) of verses and take up wherever that left him.  There were, however, a number of books which were simply to short to use even this method.  In those instances, he simply chooses to drop the book. Knuth ends up with a sampling size of 59 verses.
The second issue was Knuth found scholars did not always (rarely, in fact) agree on what exactly was meant by the writings in the various Bible sources.  Not only were the scholars interpretations differing, so were the texts across the various Bible versions.  There was (is) even disagreement on if some source material is valid and / or should be included in the Bible.
In order to determine why this was happening, Knuth determined to read the Bibles in their original Hebrew / Aramaic and Greek / Latin.  He could then present his own translations as he felt they should be interpreted.  In addition, he felt he needed to translate the verses immediately before and after the target verse to ensure he was accurately relating context as well as the literal meaning.
The method of describing each of the 59 verses itself is interesting.  Each verse is covered in four pages.  Page one provides overall historic, geographic and character background information.  The second page is devoted to a calligraphic representation of the verse.  The final two pages are a word by word breakdown of the verse.  In order to do this in a manner which makes sense, Knuth sometimes adds an analysis of the preceding or following verse(s).  Just a word on the calligraphy.  Knuth approached a friend who happened to be a world renowned typeface designer to assist with the book cover illustration.  The friend (Hermann Zapf), in turn commissioned calligraphers from over 20 countries to provide the “illustration” pages.  This calligraphy, in turn, became part of a formal exhibit which I believe is currently “owned” by the San Francisco Library.  I don’t know if it (the entire exhibit) is ever shown publicly.  I know it was back in 2011, but I was not able to go view it back then.  My loss, I am sure.
So, is this book interesting?  Is it entertaining?  Is it enlightening?  Yes.  Yes, and Yes!  I am a life-long Roman Catholic, but I have never read the Bible through cover to cover.  I tried to a few years back, but had limited knowledge of the names and places and found it rather boring.  I attempted to co-read Isaac Asimov’s “Guide To The Bible“, but even this was of limited value.  I now think I just gave up too soon.  Mea culpa.
Almost every chapter of this book explained something I didn’t know or fully appreciate about the book being covered in that chapter.  Some were simple “interesting”.  Some were “that never occurred to me”.  And, some (a few) were “Wow! I’ve got to go back and read that!”  Anytime I read a book which prompts me to read more or more in-depth, I am grateful to the author.  (I’m still not sure if I’m weird that way…)  In any case, I’m now more determined than ever to read more of Knuth’s books.
In this case: final recommendation – very highly recommended!!  Even if you are not a Biblical scholar or particularly religious, this book will provide insight into one of the greatest books in all of literature.  At less than 270 pages, this is a fast read and the calligraphy is truly beautiful.  Two final notes: 1) in the afterward, Knuth wonders if his selection of “3:16” was not “influenced” and therefor not entirely random.  His conclusion was, with further analysis, it may have been, but was not intentional.  He adds, however, that he enjoyed the process so much he intends to use the methodology for further future study of other verses.  And, 2) I’ve seen in various places this book was copyright in 1990.  My version says 1991 and that’s the year I’m using above.
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On This Day In:
2018 Happy 34th Anniversary, Hil!!
2017 Happy 33rd Anniversary, Hil!!
2016 Happy 32nd Anniversary, Hil!!
2015 Happy Anniversary Hil!!
2014 30th Wedding Anniversary
2013 Number 29 (And Counting)
2012 Hammer ‘N Roses
Happy Anniversary
2011 I Can Hear It Now

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Whatever you do, you need courage.  Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong.  There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right.  To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs.  Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them.
  ―  Ralph Waldo Emerson
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On This Day In:
2018 I Can’t Laugh At #45
2017 Release, Harmonize, Illuminate
2016 One Trouble With Television
2015 I Am Lucky And I Am Grateful
2014 Future Envy
2013 We Do Not Want To Learn That
2012 Social Inhibition
2011 Studying Chinese Food
Are You Bored, Too?
2010 Rant, Pant, Deep Breath – Reality

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