Midnight Pub

It was Written


My love of history and my love of the written word collide powerfully in old books. This isn't strictly limited to old books in the physical sense, although I really enjoy those too. If I could work in book restoration or something, I imagine I'd enjoy it quite a bit.

But in many other ways, we have to be careful. It tends to be the books that were popular and remained popular that stuck around. This is why, for example, I'm studying Coptic--much of the "forbidden" or "heretical" works of early Christianity, especially by Gnostics, only exist in Coptic translation.

This issue in Christianity is also exemplified by one of my favorite writers, Origen. He was one of the most influential thinkers in the early church, and wrote what is believed to be the first systematic account of Christian theology (which is sadly all but lost). But his views became increasingly unpopular in the generations that followed, to the point that nowadays a lot more people know who St. Augustine was than Origen. Does this mean that the former was in some way "better," or just more popular? Can we make a meaningful distinction between the two?

It makes me wonder how many writers, thinkers, and the like did not have their works preserved for whatever reason, be it prejudice or just indifference. You may think the internet makes this impossible, but just remember that when Geocities shut down, all those sites were lost except for those that were specifically backed up. (Shout out at this point to Archive Team.¹)

Will some digital anthropologist find the ruins of the Midnight one day?

¹ https://wiki.archiveteam.org/

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~gerwitz wrote (thread):

Baader Meinhof strikes again. I just learned of Origen via _The Book of Dead Philosphers_. Which, characteristically, describes him with little insight into his thinking.

What makes him a favorite of yours?

~inquiry wrote (thread):

Hopefully they come across the non-Inquiry stuff first lest they and their curious shovel turn away for having concluded "landfill" prematurely....

Ack, just sort of self-deprecatively kidding. Rough couple days for my wife suddenly needing an appendectomy, so a mostly sleepless wait in the vicinity of the ER until surgery the next morning, then loopy recovering, then home, and now the temporal (and other) realities of healing per its own "I'm the boss, here, impatient human mofos!" schedule.

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