Urheimat (/ˈʊərhmɑːt/; German pronunciation: [ˈʔuːɐ̯ˌhaɪmaːt]; a German compound of Ur- “primitive, original” and Heimat “home, homeland”) is a linguistic term that denotes the homeland of the speakers of a proto-language.

The Relevance of the Ancient to the Modern

“I don’t feel much direct relevance of ancient things to modern things. It was the temper of the times, especially in the seventies and eighties when I was getting my degree and teaching, to claim that the project of being a classicist was to find relevance to antiquity and invent courses that convinced students that you could learn everything you needed to know about modern life from studying the ancient Greeks. Well, this is bizarre, to say the least. What’s entrancing about the Greeks is that you get little glimpses, little latches of similarity, embedded in unbelievable otherness, in this huge landscape of strange convictions about the world and reactions to life that make no sense at all.”


Anne Carson, The Art of Poetry No. 88

Smartphone Christianity

I have to but wonder what Lucian would think of smartphone Christianity? – –

In many ways developers of religious apps are no different from their secular counterparts. Everyone is trying to take a desired habit (in this case, prayer or scripture reading) and make it more painless, easier, and more deliverable. The word “frictionless” pops up often. YouVersion will send you a gentle reminder if you haven’t made much progress on the plan you selected, and give you a few helpful hints for keeping up. Abide provides an array of recorded prayers users can listen to so that they can learn how to pray.

Evangelical Christianity is very interested in cultural relevance. One of its flagship magazines is actually called RELEVANT; church services have been streaming online ever since the technology was made available; pastors trumpet their love of U2 and Sufjan Stevens as badges of being with it. With the demise of Christian separatist communities and the crumbling of the moral majority’s denunciation of culture, Christians are increasingly adapting to existing cultural norms, in this case, those of the tech sector. In a 2014 New Yorker article, Casey Cep compared this phenomenon to a “FitBit” for the soul, and she’s not wrong. In the quest to live quantified lives, we can set reminders for ourselves to exercise, eat well, and now, to pray. And it makes sense, if we think of the spiritual life as a discipline, that it could benefit from some of the same techniques that have reimagined the way people approach fitness.


Inside the Christian app boom: It turns out prayer and smartphone habits go well together
By Laura Turner on December 20, 2015 12:30 pm

Plotinus and Neo-Platonism

Plotinus and Neo-Platonism

Neo-Platonism is a modern term which defines the resurgence of Platonic thought, mixed with elements of mysticism and Christianity, which flourished in the 3rd century CE, with the work of Plotinus, and ended with the closing of Plato’s Academy by the emperor Justinian in 529 CE. It must be emphasized that the term ‘Neo-Platonism’ is a modern designation and neither Plotinus nor those who came after him would have labeled themselves ‘Neo-Platonists’ but would have simply considered themselves students and teachers of Plato’s thought. Unlike modern academic categorizations, they did not consider the study of the works of Aristotle to be fundamentally different from the study of Plato’s concepts. To the ancient Neo-Platonists, Aristotle was a Platonist and an important one, as he had studied directly with the master. Aristotle, then, instead of being taught as a separate philosophy, was studied in preparation for reading Plato. Plotinus held that, just because Aristotle disagreed with his master on certain points, this did not mean the student broke from his master’s teachings and nothing was found in Aristotle’s work which fundamentally contradicted Plato’s vision, not even their disagreement over Plato’s Theory of Forms.

Porphyry wrote down and edited Plotinus’ teachings into six groups of nine called the Enneads (which is simply Greek for ‘nine’) and also tried his best to write his master’s biography but without much success. Plotinus’ insistence on the life of the mind meant that small details of one’s daily life were beneath notice. It is known, however, that he corresponded with a number of other philosophers, among them Cassius Longinus, friend and advisor to Queen Zenobia of Palmyra, who was executed when she was defeated by Aurelian in 273 CE.

Written by , published on 23 August 2015 under the following license: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

The Hill of Tara is an ancient Neolithic Age site in County Meath, Ireland

The Hill of Tara is an ancient Neolithic Age site in County Meath, Ireland. It was known as the seat of the High Kings of Ireland, the site of coronations, a place of assembly for the enacting and reading of laws, and for religious festivals. The oldest monument at the site is the Mound of the Hostages, a Neolithic passage tomb, dating from c. 3000 BCE.  The ring forts and evidence of other enclosures, such as the Banquet Hall, date from a later period. The Lia Fail (stone of destiny), by which the ancient kings were inaugurated, still stands on the hill. The site is also associated with the Tuatha De Danaan, the pre-Celtic peoples of Ireland and with the mystical elements they came to embody. The great sabbats of pagan Ireland were announced by a bonfire on the hill which, at an elevation of 646 feet (197 metres), would have been seen for many miles in every direction. It is said that St. Patrick announced the arrival of Christianity in Ireland by lighting his own large bonfire across from Tara at the Hill of Slane before going there to preach before King Laoghaire in 432/433 CE. The name comes from the Gaelic Cnoc na Teamhrach, which is often translated as “place of great prospect”, though it has also been argued it comes from a corruption of Tea-Mur, burial place of the ancient queen Tea.

Written by , published on 26 August 2015 under the following license: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike.

We have lived with these texts for a thousand years

Ásatrú has no room for conservative Christian morality
Hilmar adds that he and other members of the congregation are not interested in using the ancient religion of Ásatrú as a vehicle for romanticized machismo, as well as rejecting any tendencies to inject the practice of Ásatrú with conservative Christian morality:

“We know these texts; we have lived with these texts for a thousand years. We are not coating them in some Viking or warrior romanticism. And we are not obsessing over some books on morality, dating back to the year 70AD, as many of these foreign practitioners of Ásatrú do, considering that book a source on how the ancient religion should be practiced.”




“Zenobia was esteemed the most lovely as well as the most heroic of her sex,” Gibbon wrote in an awestruck account of her brief reign. “She claimed her descent from the Macedonian kings of Egypt, equaled in beauty her ancestor Cleopatra, and far surpassed that princess in chastity and valor.” The only contemporary representation we have of Zenobia is on a coin, which makes her look rather witchlike, but Gibbon’s description of her pearly-white teeth and large black eyes, which “sparkled with uncommon fire,” cast a spell over future historians, both in the West and in the Arab world, who quarrel over nearly everything having to do with Zenobia and her confounding legacy.

She was probably in her twenties when she took the throne, upon the death of her husband, King Odenathus, in 267 or 268. Acting as regent for her young son, she then led the army in a revolt against the Romans, conquering Egypt and parts of Asia Minor. By 271, she had gained control of a third of the Roman Empire. Gibbon sometimes portrays the warrior queen as a kind of well-schooled Roman society matron. “She was not ignorant of the Latin tongue,” he writes, “but possessed in equal perfection the Greek, the Syriac, and the Egyptian languages.” Palmyra’s abundant wall inscriptions are in Latin, Greek, and an Aramaic dialect

The New Yorker. July 20, 2015. Homage to Zenobia by Lawrence Wright. http://goo.gl/CK2vx6