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lykaiosapollo

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  1. The same element is in the name: Old Norse regin, genitive ragna. I'm not completely sure of this, but I think the modern name Ragnar comes from the loss of the older second element (Germanic names normally are composed of two elements): a name such as Rögnvaldr/Ragnvaldr (Rögn 'the gods' + vald 'power' + ending -r, the only Norse name I can currently think of with the element 'rögn') may have become shortened to Ragnar or Ragner.
  2. The claim that the Jesus-myth was descended from elements of other religions is a very old one (and a true one). Some people have already noted that Christianity was just one of mystery cults that became popular in the later Roman Empire, which often involved Greeks and Romans worshipping Eastern deities in an adapted way: the Mithras cult (Mithras being an Indo-Iranian god) is perhaps the most famous of these. If you'll take a look at Charles Freeman's The Closing of the Western Mind, he also mentions the 'theos hypsiostos' (highest god) cult which seems to have existed before Christianity and to have promoted an exclusive (Jewish in origin?) god. There is also the intriguing, yet harder to verify, suggestion of Frazer, whose seminal anthropology tract The Golden Bough casts the Christ figure as a dressed-up version of the nature religions of primitive cultures in Africa etc. : the nature-god, personifying the harvest, is killed (harvest), dies in a period of darkness (winter), and is reborn (spring, planting). The 'hanged god' is also supposedly a common motif in several mythologies (the only one I know of myself is the Norse version: Odin hung from Yggdrasil, the world-tree, with his side pierced through by his spear (as Jesus was), in order to gain knowledge of the runes. There is also a Norse parallel to the resurrection: after Ragnarök, the battle in which the gods and their enemies obliterate each other, the young god Baldr, whose death starts Ragnarök, is resurrected and presides over a rejuvenated world). Furthermore, when Christianity was developing, the understanding of sanctity was changing in the Roman world: from impersonal forces associated with places, divinity increasingly came to be regarded as residing in a specific individual: a holy man, or prophet. (See Peter Brown, The Making of Late Antiquity) These sort of characters gained followers in late antiquity (as they do today), and many of these were Christian holy men whose deeds and sayings were adoringly chronicled and embellished in the early Christian writers. Interestingly, these holy men promoted a deified holy man on their own model. In fact, the Jesus persona is more appropriate to Late Antiquity than to the time when he supposedly lived.
  3. I've got to say I find lists like this highly puzzling: I'm not an economist by any means and I don't follow the business news but I can't understand how the UK (where I currently live) is a better place to do business than the US - the nanny state makes it complicated enough just living here. Tied with the UK at #5 on the list is Iceland, where I've also lived and studied (albeit for only a month). There are taxes on absolutely everything in Iceland and Reykjavik was recently rated the third most expensive city in the world (following Oslo and Tokyo): because of the taxes, a half-litre of beer (around a pint) goes for $9-10, and a fast food meal is around $12. All around this means that people with the same amount of money that could afford a comfortable middle-class living in the US can only afford a small flat in Reykjavik. But I also remember hearing that Iceland and Denmark had both recently passed some significant free-market reforms that would substantially lower the income tax rate - I take it this is not the case in Denmark though. But is there some kernel of truth in that rumour? (Sorry I can't remember where I heard it, possibly someone told me it in Iceland.)
  4. Hi Jason, You might have a look over at UKOA (UK Objectivist Association) at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/UKOA/ . Smallish group at the moment but an active online community.
  5. I notice in the 'Classical Music' thread we have a couple mentions of Shostakovitch and Mahler, but none of Richard Strauss. Strauss can be a mixed bag (I wouldn't recommend his cacaphonous operas Elektra or Salome) but I find his good works are fantastic, especially Ein Heldenleben ('A Hero's Life') which he wrote because he felt disappointed in the decline in the popularity of heroic music (especially Beethoven's Eroica). Other favourites include Also Sprach Zarathustra, Aus Italien, and his Lieder. Personally I find Strauss towers head and shoulders above Mahler or Shostakovitch (I sometimes like Mahler but overall I find that both he and Shostakovitch are far too much the modern angsty whiners, whereas Strauss still has much of the Romantic in him). So am I the only one who likes Strauss here? What are your thoughts on Strauss?
  6. I think you'll find a place in the Fountainhead where Roark buys Mallory lunch and Mallory comments it's odd to find Roark playing the altruist - and Roark replies he's not, he's buying something of great value to him: Mallory's time. Personally I enjoy doing small favours for my friends: it's a value for me to see them doing well (and of course I know they'll reciprocate, so I won't feel guilty about asking favours of them in the future). And if a friend is short on cash, I'd rather buy them a drink than drink alone
  7. I thought about the same question in college, and now even more that I'm in graduate school (and in the UK where I have to pay, rather than in the US where I'd have fees and a stipend from my university). I'm even in the fortunate position where I could pay my tuition and living expenses myself, if need be, but my father is insistant that I leave that money aside for later, especially for the turbulent period after my PhD when I'll be trying to establish myself in academia. It occurred to me that I am employed - I'm employed by my parents to study and get a degree. When I see how proud they are and how devoted they are to my career it's clear I'm not a leech or a burden but that I'm providing a great value to them.
  8. Dismuke, I've greatly enjoyed reading your posts - I quite agree with you. I was wondering what your thoughts on evening wear are? My own experience is that it has decayed near to the point of extinction - I've noticed that the expected proper dress for a gentleman at the opera, the theatre, or the symphony is a lounge suit, whereas in other days it would be white tie. White tie now seems almost extinct, and black tie is reserved for 'very formal' occasions where few people even bother to wear it correctly - I've noted people without waistcoats or cummerbunds (which are in themselves infinitely inferior to waistcoats, in my opinion) on numerous occasions, and I won't even mention clip-on ties.
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