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Raymond C. Hodgkinson (uk)
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Lionel Asbo: State of England
Lionel Asbo: State of England
by Martin Amis
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Asbo, no change, 30 Aug. 2012
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Lionel Asbo is an oik and although he wins the lottery he remains essentially the same in and out of prison. He wins a lot of money and the floodgates of wealth open, but the style and behaviour of the past rear the ugly heads. He is just able to indulge his vendettas on a grander scale using fear and prostitution to meet his own ends. Nobody seems able to escape his malign influence. Not even Desmond and Dawn with their university degrees, parental skills and careers.
Before reading it I had hoped for some kind of insight into the underclass, some sort of grid reference beyond the expected drunkenness, aimless violence and pornography. After all Martin Amis has deigned to write a novel about it and I thought he might throw up some redeeming half light, some forgotten truths perhaps. But he is able to evade that responsibility, that particular challenge, by letting Asbo win the lottery. From then on the task of the novellist is easier, the theme of mispent wealth overtakes and smothers the theme of coping and managing in a misbegotten and downtrodden place like Diston Town.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 17, 2012 9:05 PM BST


The Evolution of the Gospel: New Translation of the First Gospel, with Commentary and Introductory Essay
The Evolution of the Gospel: New Translation of the First Gospel, with Commentary and Introductory Essay
by J Enoch Powell
Edition: Hardcover

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Matthew the first gospel, 21 July 2011
I have read this book a few times now and I am very thankful for the insights I have imbibed. Enoch Powell's stance in his political career of thinking through problems from first principles and producing a persuasive solution is fully in evident in the pages of this book, although in a completely different sphere of intelectual effort. Here are apparent the skills of an astute, painstaking, and masterful textual critic and a superb analyser of the distortions and additions of later interpolators and re-writers.
I have been influenced most I think by the way the author emhasises the importance of taking into account the allegorical intentions of Jesus's actions and parables.The Centurion's son is healed at a distance by a word and this illustrates the healing power of missionary work in lands and places at a distance from the presence of Jesus. The woman with a flux is healed without the knowledge of the Lord. His healing power operates without his consciousness, all that is needed is belief in the Lord'd divinity. Healing first of all takes place when belief in pagan gods is replaced with acceptance of Jesus as the Son of God. The faith that moves mountains rejects the the formulations of the old mosaic Law as symbolised by the temple mount in Jerusalem. Designations such as 'the poor' and 'children' are really code words that represent converts new in the faith and contrast with the 'rich' who claim prestige and credit for the exercise of the old Jewish practices. The wise virgins stay up to meet the bridegroom with their lamps. Such lamps represent lights of faith that shine in new lands and the oil with which they burn is the number of new recruits they have brought to the faith.
Jesus began his mission amongst the fishermen of Gallilee, the gentiles whom God wished to bring into the fold of faith. It was the main reason why Jesus found grievous fault with the Jewish hierachy, they kept their sacred roles and gifts to themselves. They had not spread their knowledge of the righteousness of the God of Israel. Previous prophets had made known the desirability and justice of converting the gentiles and extending faith but had been been rebuffed and suffered gruesome ends at the hands of the authorities. Jesus made advances to John the Baptist and his Essene supporters. The main difference was that Jesus's disciples had a meal and ate sacred bread, with which way they fed the four and five thousand. The converts who were addressed in the sermon on the mount were former Jews who faced threats and torture from their Jewish relations. Jesus's disciples were trained with the future destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in mind. Pontius Pilate was given a role in the crucifixtion of Christ but the original ending would have represented the Jews as performing the deed, no doubt by stoning. A major rewriting of the first Christian narrative took place to make an accommodation with certain Jewish converts, and there is a battle in the gospel we now have in the view of Jesus as The Son of David or The Son of God. A picture emerges of a fragile faith that had to be subtle and flexible to survive, but a faith that had divine support, one that retained a narrative in a gospel about its founder, his birth, his life and passion; it is a commentary which underlined his words and actions and pointed to a mission to the gentiles across the Mediterranean Sea. It has been sufficient in its intrinsic acceptablity to fire the belief and actions of countless Christians through the ages.


Wrestling with the Angel
Wrestling with the Angel
by Enoch Powell
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The meaning of Christianity, 31 Oct. 2010
This first came out in 1977 and I well remember back then being delighted at the way many difficult questions of a religious nature were tackled. Questions about the origin of evil and the notion of immortality receive a thoroughly convincing and inspired handling. Was it not God that planted the tree of the knowlege of good and evil? Therefore knowlege of evil and good must be of the nature of God himself, and the solution to the problem of evil in the universe is why God became man, why Jesus was crucified and his body offered in the bread. It is the crucified body of Christ offered in the bread which is the bridge from this world to the next, it is the answer to the disciples who were mystified when Christ's body was no longer in the tomb. Luke's gospel gives an account of the stranger who appeared to two disciples on the road to Emmaus and he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.
In a remarkable interview Enoch Powell debates with Bryan Magee and argues that the the words of Jesus aim at the repentance of mankind and an acceptance of forgiveness, a realisation that our destiny is not determined by worldly aims, by such things as agricultural production and debt relief. Bryan Magee however takes a more literal approach and maintains a Christians role should be helping the poor and under privileged in the Third World or developing countries and readers of the bible should be fulfilling the gospel by rolling up their sleeves and getting stuck in to charitable endeavours of a substantial character.
One of the main characteristics of this book however is mainly displayed in the chapter entitled 'the archaeology of Matthew'. The words of the gospel are carefully read and examined and Matthews position as the first of the gopels is maintained and he is shown to be used selectively by Luke. The discrepancy in the appearance of John the Baptist at the river Jordan to baptise Jesus and then his later imprisonment and lack of knowlege about Jesus is shown to be an editor's attempt to get Jesus' mission played out in a period that begins before the Baptist's death, because Jesus had to die at the hands of Pontius Pilate before 36 A.D. That is at least 40 years before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.


Death-Devoted Heart: Sex and the Sacred in Wagner's Tristan and Isolde
Death-Devoted Heart: Sex and the Sacred in Wagner's Tristan and Isolde
by Roger Scruton
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £27.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Death, but the aftermath ?, 6 Nov. 2009
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Tristan and Isolde love each other and that is all that matters, they don't care about anything else, the world its trappings their positions are little more than figments of their imagination. What they do is to be applauded says the author Roger Scruton. In each other's personality, in their physical carnal prescence they envelop each other, and they find in this love and physicality the answer to doubts about existence, doubts about immortality and doubts presumably about the judgement of morality. To Mr Scruton love is not a divine essence, a precursor of heavenly felicity, but a gazing in the eyes of one another and living for the moment. This love he implies is not an infatuation with tragic consequences for everyone else involved but the result of two human beings treating the other as a complete vulnerable and lovable personality. Nothing else has a claim, the world exists for Tristan and Isolde and their love. It's as though life is a mistake but redeemed through such a love. No room for sentimentality, no room for regrets, no room for responsibility. How the world and any religion can survive is left for the reader to ponder.


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