Thanks to everyone for pitching in on the discussion of Ong and Frankfort! And special thanks to those who described them as challenging. If you’re like Ed or me, you’ll be surprised when you return to Frankfort to find that it’s not only much more understandable but actually brilliant stuff. It’s still the classic discussion of mythopoeic thought after 70 years, so he must have been doing something right.
I realize I forgot to mention my favorite MITism: What kind of unit measure is a milli-Helen? (answer below)
I also realized that I’ve failed to point out that when we ask the question “What is evil?” we have already committed a retrojection. That statement of the question assumes that evil is a category which of course we find natural as a result of our familiarity with the cosmic dualism which is fundamental to Christianity and therefore western civilization. But, as we saw, ancient man did not use such categories: he wouldn’t understand the question. His version would have been: “What causes things to be angry with me?”
Some suggestions for taking advantage of the extra week: read the Book of Job in the JSB; read these excerpts from Ehrman’s Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet (part 1; part 2; part 3; part 4); read Ehrman’s How Jesus Became God. The book on Q which I mentioned is Q, The Earliest Gospel by John Kloppenborg (on Amazon).
[Answer: enough beauty to launch a single ship]