Oh, my word, this In Our Time podcast on Mary, Queen of Scots was fantastic. Fast-paced, but thorough (up until the end, when they ran out of time), typically fair-minded and balanced. If you have any interest in this period of history, do listen.
Earlier in the week I caught up with another earlier episode, this one on John Dalton. The content gibes nicely with last week’s commentary on the IOT episode on Roger Bacon. Dalton, like Bacon, was a devoutly religious man of science – in Dalton’s case, an observant Quaker until the day he died. It’s another very useful antidote to the current and very stupid conviction that Science and Religion are AT WAR.
One of the points in the broadcast that interested me the most was this:
Dalton was a Quaker and as a dissenter (like Unitarians, Methodists…Catholics) was prohibited from studying at Oxford or Cambridge (he could have studied at Scottish universities however).
At the same time, as the industrial revolution changed the social and cultural landscape of England, particularly the north, the rising classes began to shape new ways of discovering and sharing knowledge that were 1)outside the established educational structures of the south and 2) reflective of their particular priorities: commerce, technology, industry, practical science and their hope for their children to be able to fit into traditional educational paradigms as well.
And so Dalton, both self-taught and the product of an alternative network of Quaker tutors and schools, lived, worked and researched.
(We remember him today for many things, but most commonly his contribution to atomic theory.)
One of the presenters made the very interesting point that if Dalton had come from a more privileged background, had been Anglican his path of study would have been far more traditional and circumscribed and not as amenable to outside-the-box thinking.
Of course this resonated with matters I often contemplate and prompts me to wonder, once again, why those who like to present themselves as progressive advocates of the individual tend to be such advocates of pedagogical groupthink and homogeneous mandatory educational programs?
It’s Friday! It’s the weekend!
But…is that a good thing? Is it a Catholic thing?
Saturday-Sunday do not for a Christian constitute the end of the week, but the end-and-beginning. Most calendars reflect that too; Sunday appears at the head of the week.
Does it matter? Supremely so. How we mark time shapes everything that we do, for it is the context in which we do it. Time is the first “thing” God creates. In creating things outside of Himself, God introduces a before and an after, which means time has come into being.
Speaking of days of the week and holidays, how about this idea from England’s Labour Party?
A Labour government will seek to create four new UK-wide bank holidays on the patron saint’s day of each of the home nations, Jeremy Corbyn has announced. The Labour leader said the move would bring together England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, while giving workers a well-deserved break.
The plan would mean public holidays on St David’s Day (1 March), St Patrick’s Day (17 March), St George’s Day (23 April) and St Andrew’s Day (30 November).
So interesting to see the stubborn persistence, in whatever form, of religious foundations…
A great concept from Matt Swain, now of the Coming Home Network!
— Matt Swaim (@mattswaim) April 17, 2017
Holding this space for a link to a piece that will be appearing on another website sometime later today….
(For children, mom, sister, friend, new Catholic….)
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