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margaret (Craighall, South Africa)
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Qumran and Jerusalem: Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the History of Judaism (Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls & Related Literature)
Qumran and Jerusalem: Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the History of Judaism (Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls & Related Literature)
by Lawrence H. Schiffman
Edition: Paperback
Price: 25.58

4.0 out of 5 stars Impressive Study, 21 Nov 2010
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This book is very thoroughly researched, as is everything written by Lawrence H Schiffman. He studies the content of the Qumran manuscripts from the perspective of the symbolic and religious significance of Jerusalem, and does so not only as an overview, but goes into the minutest detail. Knowledge of Hebrew would be helpful, although not necessary, and the reader will finish this book very much more informed about the contents of the various individual scrolls. Probably more for the academic than the hobbyist, but an interesting and worthwhile read nevertheless.


Sutherland's Law [DVD] [2008]
Sutherland's Law [DVD] [2008]
Dvd ~ Gareth Thomas
Offered by amazing-tv-dvds
Price: 8.95

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fine Series, 10 Oct 2010
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Unlike the other reviewers, I have no knowledge of the Highlands nor did I see the series when first broadcast. I chose to purchase this series because I was trying to find work of a certain genre, and this seemed to be what I was looking for.

It is charming. The characters are basically kind people, although each has his or her stubborn streak. All of them at one or other time defy the norms either of conventional behaviour, or of modern justice or simply do what is not expected of them, but it is always for the good of humanity and in the interests of those they are trying to help.

Standing head and shoulders (literally and figuratively) over all is the star of the series - the Procurator Fiscal, played by Iain Cuthbertson, a commanding presence. He is irritable, impatient, fatherly, logical, kindly, and always one step ahead of everyone else. The role is ably balanced by his junior assistant, played by Gareth Thomas who represents education and youthful enthusiasm and a welcome bit of light is found by the secretary played by Maev Alexander whose colourful 70s clothing gives a brightness against the rather sombre Scottish situation played out against almost uniformly grey weather.

This is by and large a pleasant series. It is well put together, evocative of a world different from one's own, but still one whose characters we would like to get to know better. However there are also some really dark moments. "The Prodigal," which features Rachael Kempson has an unexpected ending which borders on horror. This and other such moments in other episodes give it that pungency which makes for a little more depth than just a thought-provoking court-room drama played out in a little-known corner of the world. I loved it, and wish there were more episodes available, but it might be a little slow for some, and certainly, the greyness of the surroundings creates the need for a conscious effort not to allow it to affect one's expectations. This is Highland weather, and those of sunnier climates have to remember that, and not regard it as a mood-inducing metaphor.


DOROTHY L. SAYERS: HER LIFE AND SOUL.
DOROTHY L. SAYERS: HER LIFE AND SOUL.
by Barbara. Reynolds
Edition: Paperback

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Biography of a close friend, 8 Oct 2010
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Dr Barbara Reynolds was a very close friend of the late Dorothy L Sayers, and was thus in a position to write knowingly about her. This biography combines all the thoroughness of a first-rate academic with the deep fondness for a great friend.

Dorothy as a schoolgirl and an undergraduate shows us an intelligent, confident, but also at times a vulnerable young woman who was also among one of the remarkable women who took on university studies in an age when women were not educated. Her coping with the various men in her life, including her son, born out of wedlock in an age where such things were unthinkable, and a damaged and ultimately inadequate husband, her popular amateur sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey, her considerable but accessible theological output and her monumental translation of Dante's Divine Comedy are all described fully and with in-depth understanding.

Throughout this book we are shown a woman who maintains her good humour, her great enthusiasm for life, her extreme intelligence, her total and absolute responsibility for those closest to her and her professionalism which contributed to her considerable literary output. However we also see a woman maturing from an enthusiastic schoolgirl to one whose life's experiences have matured her and have informed her work and enabled her to contribute more than just entertainment to her public.

This book gives great insight, and allows one to feel that Dr Reynolds has allowed us to become one of Dorothy Sayers' friends too. This is not a once-off read, but an account to be re-read periodically as different aspects of the subject's life and work become more familiar to us.


William Walton - At The Haunted End Of The Day [DVD] [2008]
William Walton - At The Haunted End Of The Day [DVD] [2008]
Dvd ~ Tony Palmer
Price: 12.60

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A life story told with warmth and wistfulness, 14 Aug 2010
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Certain pieces of William Walton are well known and instantly recognised - "Crown Imperial," the music from Henry V, "Facade" to name a few. Tony Palmer's film serves to put them into context and the music becomes an expression of where the composer what at a particular time of his life. Having seen this account of Walton's life is thus a good foundation towards exploring his music in greater depth.

Strong points are how the story is told by the composer himself with its odd flashes of humour, total honesty about his own feelings and an inside view of the music and how it came to be written. A not insignificant part of the final scenes told by his vivacious and understanding wife give a fully rounded picture of the man and we warm to him even more.

If there is any criticism, it is that the final half hour or so tended to wander around a little bit. The narrative told against seemingly random scenes of the Waltons' home on Ischia appear at times to lose focus. Perhaps I need to see it all again. It is certainly worth playing many times.


Plastic Man - The Complete Series [DVD] [1999]
Plastic Man - The Complete Series [DVD] [1999]
Dvd ~ Sorcha Cusack
Price: 7.35

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Yes, all right, I suppose so., 26 July 2010
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I Found this movie rather unsatisfying. The role of the doctor, (John Thaw) and his wife (Sorcha Cusack) and the mistress, (Frances Barber) were all extremely well played and but were rather two-dimensional as people, and the in the end, the mess made and the lives of all three negatively affected was the way such stories go. So why was it so "been there, done that?" Even the sub-plot, the dropped-out son and the street couple didn't have much credibility.

Perhaps they were so married to their respective roles that the humanity was compromised. Doctor, psychiatrist, housewife were defining roles, and at the end, we have a fallen-from-grace doctor, an sacrificial-lamb psychiatrist and injured housewife, but all the ins and outs of the story don't seem to have changed them much. This film runs more on symbolism than personal growth, and as such it lacked warmth and humanity. But it was a good story of a particular type, well told and superbly acted.


O Thou Transcendent - The Life Of Ralph Vaughan Williams [DVD]
O Thou Transcendent - The Life Of Ralph Vaughan Williams [DVD]
Dvd ~ Tony Palmer
Price: 13.99

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Transcendant, 26 July 2010
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This account of the life of Ralph Vaughan Williams is presented with such depth that the viewer becomes part of the narrative in an odd way. At the end of it, I felt that I had been THERE, and I had been eavesdropping on the life of a composer whose music I have loved for years. Tony Palmer does more than contradict the 'cuddly teddy-bear' image of the folk-song collector, he brings to life a person through that person's music, and you feel that someone has put into words what you have known for a long time - that the composer was a very close friend, and through this DVD we are priviledged to share real intimacy with the life of that composer.

I loved this, and it stayed with me for a day or two after I watched it. I shall never listen to RVW's music in quite the same way again.


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