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Indian Patristics: Rather Huge News

Regular visitors know that I am just a few shades shy of an obsession with the ancient traditions of St. Thomas’s apostolate in India. I hope to complete a book on the subject this year, and I may contribute to a documentary film. For years, Rick Hivner and Merging Currents fed my obsession by providing the subcontinent’s best religious and historical scholarship and astonishingly low prices. Then, on November 30, 2006, Rick took Merging Currents offline. Now he tells me that, after more than two years, Asian Trading Corporation in Bangalore finally has the website functioning again, with all the old book stock and helpful descriptions. I’m sharpening my credit card.

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Mike Dubruiel, Rest in Peace

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Michael Dubruiel, who was an editor of mine and always a great encouragement. It was he who thought up the idea for Living the Mysteries: A Guide for Unfinished Christians, a patristic collection I edited with Scott Hahn, and The How-To Book of Catholic Devotions: Everything You Need to Know but No One Ever Taught You, which I wrote with Regis Flaherty.

Mike was author of (inter alia) The How-To Book of the Mass: Everything You Need to Know but No One Ever Taught You, the book I most often hand out to non-Catholics who want to understand Catholic worship.

Mike was married to blogger-author Amy Welborn. Their children are very young. Please pray, too, for their consolation. He was fifty years young.

I’m in a state of shock.

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This weekend …

Why Hope?

Please Join Us For a Presentation Of:

Is It Possible To Live This Way? Vol. 2 Hope
By Fr. Luigi Giussani

Presented by:
Father Peter Cameron, Editor-in-Chief of Magnificat
Michael Aquilina, author and EWTN Host

Saturday February 7, 2009 at 7:00 pm

Catholic Philopatrian Institute, 19 Philadelphia, Pa.

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I hope everyone enjoyed the game last night — and those of you who wear pacemakers have had the contraptions recalibrated.

Ich bin ein Pittsburgher, having moved here in 1986. But even when I was growing up on the east side of the state (Eagles territory), I was a Steelers fan. Since I never grew, my Franco Harris jersey fit me till it was threadbare.

I considered concocting an ironic post gleaned from Tertullian’s polemic on The Games. But I concluded that it would be unfair, today, to restart our conversation over whether the guy was a heretic.

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Available Wednesday?

Homeschooling guru Maureen Wittmann is hosting a webinar titled “How to Teach History with Real Books,” this Wednesday, February 4, at 7:30 p.m. Central Time (she’s in Michigan, so she uses these quaint conventions). The webinar’s description is great: “how to teach history with living literature.”

Do you have fond memories of your high school history textbook? Of memorizing dates in grade school? Of endless history lectures in college? If not, then toss the textbooks and join us for an uplifting and fun talk on how to teach history with living literature. Bring to your children a love for learning.

Maureen will bring lots of books with her for show and tell. You’ll leave this online seminar loaded with book titles, fresh ideas, and practical tips. You won’t want to miss it!

Maureen is the author of For the Love of Literature and other good books.

Among the works of “living literature” she’ll discuss are books by Yours Truly.

Register now!

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Dragon Feat

It’s clear — from the mail I get, and from the click-through to Amazon — that a lot of people out there are looking for good fiction about early Christianity. I find it only mildly irritating that books by both Michael Curtis Ford and Father Michael Giesler have outsold my own books over the last month, from my own blog.

You are apparently a great part of that elusive market for patristifiction. (I follow after Father Z, who coined the term patristiblogging.)

But what about matristifiction, you ask? What about the Mothers of the Church?

As if on cue, I received a copy of Andrea Lorenzo Molinari’s Climbing the Dragon’s Ladder: The Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicitas. It’s a fictional interpretation of the passion, written by a scholar who fell head over heels for the saint and needed to know “the rest of the story,” even if that meant writing it himself. If anachronism’s bug you, breathe easy here. This guy has the scholarly chops. He’s the author of The Acts of Peter and the Twelve Apostles: Allegory, Ascent, and Ministry in the Wake of the Decian Persecution, published by the SBL, and Romans and Christians AD 64: An Intergenerational Catechetical Experience of Martyrdom and Persecution in the Early Church. He teaches New Testament and early Church history at Barry University, and he’s president of the Blessed Edmund Rice School for Pastoral Ministry. The book includes a fulsome foreword from no less a scholar than Joyce Salisbury, who wrote, some years ago, a well regarded study of Perpetua and Felicity.

I’ll post more as I read more. So far (as you might suspect) I’ve been mostly hanging around the tavern owned by the narrator’s family.

But I’ll violate no secrets. Here I say only that Dr. Molinari proposes an intriguing — and dramatically satisfying — answer to the perpetually vexing question: So what about Perpetua’s husband?

The book is lavishly illustrated in the style of the graphic novels my kids love to read. So it is surpassing cool. It’s a perfect style for combat with superhuman dream-gladiators and demonic dragons. Check it out: Climbing the Dragon’s Ladder: The Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicitas.