Presumably intended for college students who can’t be bothered to read primary sources, Strathern’s quixotic portrait isn’t...

BERKELEY IN 90 MINUTES

The very first sentence of this whimsical introduction to Irish philosopher Berkeley (1685–1753) gives away the game: Strathern (Foucault in 90 Minutes, see below) declares that Berkeley’s work is “ludicrous” and “gives philosophy a bad name.” Eventually he backpedals and finds a few positive insights lurking in the murk of Berkeley’s tortured lucubrations, but he can’t quite bring himself to take the bishop seriously all the same—which is just as well for us. In between amusing but unconnected anecdotes about Berkeley’s life, Strathern does manage to touch on the philosopher’s most famous idea (that “the material world didn’t exist”)—although he can’t refute it quite so well as Samuel Johnson did (by rolling a large stone into Berkeley’s path). Although he does not consider any other 18th-century thinkers in detail (Adam Smith is briefly mentioned), Strathern does touch upon Berkeley’s friendship with Jonathan Swift.

Presumably intended for college students who can’t be bothered to read primary sources, Strathern’s quixotic portrait isn’t likely to improve their grades—although it will certainly provide a laugh or two.

Pub Date: June 2, 2000

ISBN: 1-56663-290-0

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Ivan Dee/Rowman & Littlefield

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2000

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THE MYTH OF SISYPHUS

AND OTHER ESSAYS

This a book of earlier, philosophical essays concerned with the essential "absurdity" of life and the concept that- to overcome the strong tendency to suicide in every thoughtful man-one must accept life on its own terms with its values of revolt, liberty and passion. A dreary thesis- derived from and distorting the beliefs of the founders of existentialism, Jaspers, Heldegger and Kierkegaard, etc., the point of view seems peculiarly outmoded. It is based on the experience of war and the resistance, liberally laced with Andre Gide's excessive intellectualism. The younger existentialists such as Sartre and Camus, with their gift for the terse novel or intense drama, seem to have omitted from their philosophy all the deep religiosity which permeates the work of the great existentialist thinkers. This contributes to a basic lack of vitality in themselves, in these essays, and ten years after the war Camus seems unaware that the life force has healed old wounds... Largely for avant garde aesthetes and his special coterie.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1955

ISBN: 0679733736

Page Count: 228

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1955

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Worthwhile reference stuffed with facts and illustrations.

ROSE BOOK OF BIBLE CHARTS, MAPS AND TIME LINES

A compendium of charts, time lines, lists and illustrations to accompany study of the Bible.

This visually appealing resource provides a wide array of illustrative and textually concise references, beginning with three sets of charts covering the Bible as a whole, the Old Testament and the New Testament. These charts cover such topics as biblical weights and measures, feasts and holidays and the 12 disciples. Most of the charts use a variety of illustrative techniques to convey lessons and provide visual interest. A worthwhile example is “How We Got the Bible,” which provides a time line of translation history, comparisons of canons among faiths and portraits of important figures in biblical translation, such as Jerome and John Wycliffe. The book then presents a section of maps, followed by diagrams to conceptualize such structures as Noah’s Ark and Solomon’s Temple. Finally, a section on Christianity, cults and other religions describes key aspects of history and doctrine for certain Christian sects and other faith traditions. Overall, the authors take a traditionalist, conservative approach. For instance, they list Moses as the author of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Hebrew Bible) without making mention of claims to the contrary. When comparing various Christian sects and world religions, the emphasis is on doctrine and orthodox theology. Some chapters, however, may not completely align with the needs of Catholic and Orthodox churches. But the authors’ leanings are muted enough and do not detract from the work’s usefulness. As a resource, it’s well organized, inviting and visually stimulating. Even the most seasoned reader will learn something while browsing.

Worthwhile reference stuffed with facts and illustrations.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2005

ISBN: 978-1-5963-6022-8

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2010

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