In 16th-century Italy there lived Lodovico Gonzaga, a 16-year old seminarist who was very fond of playing ball. Once a certain priest passing by wondered if for a future priest the youth was too keen on his pursuit and asked him: "What would you do if you learned that in half an hour the end of the world was coming?" To which Lodovico replied: "I'd play on." According to the Russian thinker Georgy Fedotov, the importance of culture lies in precisely that: we go on playing ball on the verge of Doomsday...
The Hebrew Bible, as a document, displays an astonishing lack of textual self-consciousness. It alleges to know what God thinks, but it does not know itself. It is not aware that it is called the Hebrew Bible. … Jews and Christians have venerated an unself-conscious artifact, one whose embarrassing gaps in self-knowledge have always had to be filled in by later interpreters.
I need your help. The abstruse nature of the subject requires not only concentrated reading, not alone clear understanding, but co-operation with the author. For that which could easily be made comprehensible by personal contact and demonstration, must of necessity depend on mere words and intellectual concepts. Many of the questions that may arise in your mind during or after reading of each chapter can best be answered through the practical application of the exercises prescribed herein. Unfortunately, there is no other way to co-operate: the technique of acting can never be properly understood without practicing it.
I was an atheist, finding no reason to postulate the existence of any truths outside of mathematics, physics and chemistry. But then I went to medical school, and encountered life and death issues at the bedsides of my patients. Challenged by one of those patients, who asked "What do you believe, doctor?", I began searching for answers.