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Round-Up of the Week: Technological Theology, Divine Deception, Ruinous Rhythm, Bold Biography, Roving Rimbaud, Linguistic Landscape

The Oxonian Review presents the Weekly Round-Up, featuring articles the editorial staff have found interesting, illuminating, or otherwise noteworthy.

1. “Yuval Noah Harari and Daniel Kahneman: ‘Death Is Optional“, Edge: As we teeter on the edge of an unprecedented technological breakthrough, which will see brains communicating directly with computers, we need to start thinking beyond the limits of our own organic imaginations. If it is true that it is this kind of technology which offers our best chance at immortality, then perhaps the world’s religious capital will soon be Silicon Valley.

2. “Dallas G Denery II: ‘Can God Lie?’“, Aeon: Is God a fibber? Well, theologians from St Augustine would argue not, as every lie is a sin. But is he a deceiver? Theologians up to the seventeenth century were far happier with that idea. And the Bible seems to prove it. However, come the great revolutions in natural sciences, everything changed, and scientists needed to recast God as the great truth-teller.

3. “Oliver Rudland: ‘The Loss of Faith Made Music Mute’“, Standpoint: With the twin declines in Christianity and nationalism, classical music has all but collapsed. This controversial article dismisses Modernism as a failed experiment and believes that our cultural salvation lies in a renewed sense of patriotic pride and Judaeo-Christian values.

4. “Stuart Kelly: ‘Enter John Aubrey’“, Times Literary Supplement: This review of Ruth Scurr’s biography of seventeenth century philosopher John Aubrey celebrates the work as a radical intervention in the often stale world of life writing. The biography of a biographer doubles as an experimental reworking of the form. Kelly paints a picture of a truly gripping read.

5. “Rachel B Doyle: ‘Where Rimbaud Found Peace in Ethiopia’“, The New York Times: After giving up poetry at twenty-one, Rimbaud’s most evocative writing consisted of extraordinary letters written to his mother from Harar, a stunningly beautiful and ancient city in Ethiopia. This evocative account charts how Rimbaud found a unique peace in this place so far from his home in France.

6. “Horatio Clare: ‘Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane’“, The Telegraph: Macfarlane, Cambridge fellow and devoted lover of the natural world, has compiled a substantial selection of words and phrases with which to greet the landscape with a new kind of specificity. How charming it is that the steam rising from a wet moor under bright sun is known as “summer geese.” As Macfarlane writes, “Language is fundamental to the possibility of re-wonderment, for language does not just register experience, it produces it.”

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