Past Postings

Previous William Thomas Sherman Info Page postings, quotes, observations, etc.


[ch. 4]
The argument which Celsus employs against us and the Jews will be turned against himself thus: My good sir, does the God who is over all things know what takes place among men, or does He not know? Now if you admit the existence of a God and of providence, as your treatise indicates, He must of necessity know. And if He does know, why does He not make (men) better? Is it obligatory, then, on us to defend God's procedure in not making men better, although He knows their state, but not equally binding on you, who do not distinctly show by your treatise that you are an Epicurean, but pretend to recognise a providence, to explain why God, although knowing all that takes place among men, does not make them better, nor by divine power liberate all men from evil? We are not ashamed, however, to say that God is constantly sending (instructors) in order to make men better; for there are to be found among men reasons given by God which exhort them to enter on a better life. But there are many diversities among those who serve God, and they are few in number who are perfect and pure ambassadors of the truth, and who produce a complete reformation, as did Moses and the prophets. But above all these, great was the reformation effected by Jesus, who desired to heal not only those who lived in one corner of the world, but as far as in Him lay, men in every country, for He came as the Saviour of all men.
~ Origen (c. 184-c. 253), Contra Celsus, Book IV


This you have to see (I mean really.)

Note especially how the sheriff prefers the law NOT be enforced in order to preserve the peace. (This series aired 1957-1963.)

["Have Gun - Will Travel - Season 2 - Episode 1"]


The stories told in traditional stage tragedies invariably, if not always, concern an individual (and or individuals) whose downfall and ruin is specifically plotted and connived at by a sophisticated and cunning "god" or devil, and who acts as the former's self-appointed nemesis (say, perhaps, out of envy.) In that sense every Orestes, Oedipus, or Hamlet has his Iago; whether or not the Iago is ever mentioned or on stage; and whether or not the given Hamlet (or whoever), by his frailties, misjudgments and foibles, unwittingly assists his would be destroyer.

Would Hamlet been a good ruler or husband had his father lived and he succeeded him? Probably not. The fact is that while burdened with very unfortunate circumstances not of his own making, he had hardly a clue as to what he was or should be doing with his life. What were his life priorities? What did he care about? Evidently not much of anything. In his treatment of Ophelia, he showed himself to be needlessly callous and irresponsible. And who was the greater fool, Yorick departed or himself preaching the ill-advisedness of humor to a skull? Even so, whether he was to seek and obtain justice, or alternatively ignore the need to do so, whatever he did he had to do it alone. Was then he lost and his cause hopeless from the outset? If so, then perhaps his story is a waste of our time.


Except perhaps in the time of David and Solomon, God's chosen people were always a subject race. Presumably this was something intended.


Victory requires momentum. Once Napoleon lost it in 1812, his hope for something like lasting victory was forever quashed and for this reason Waterloo was an otherwise needless and foregone conclusion.


printing press ==> renaissance, reformation


[ch. 81]
And do not suppose that it is not in keeping with the Christian religion for me to have accepted, against Celsus, the opinions of those philosophers who have treated of the immortality or after-duration of the soul; for, holding certain views in common with them, we shall more conveniently establish our position, that the future life of blessedness shall be for those only who have accepted the religion which is according to Jesus, and that devotion towards the Creator of all things which is pure and sincere, and unmingled with any created thing whatever. And let him who likes show what “better things” we persuade men to despise, and let him compare the blessed end with God in Christ—that is, the word, and the wisdom, and all virtue—which, according to our view, shall be bestowed, by the gift of God, on those who have lived a pure and blameless life, and who have felt a single and undivided love for the God of all things, with that end which is to follow according to the teaching of each philosophic sect, whether it be Greek or Barbarian, or according to the professions of religious mysteries; and let him prove that the end which is predicted by any of the others is superior to that which we promise, and consequently that that is true, and ours not befitting the gift of God, nor those who have lived a good life; or let him prove that these words were not spoken by the divine Spirit, who filled the souls of the holy prophets. And let him who likes show that those words which are acknowledged among all men to be human, are superior to those which are proved to be divine, and uttered by inspiration. And what are the “better” things from which we teach those who receive them that it would be better to abstain? For if it be not arrogant so to speak, it is self-evident that nothing can be denied which is better than to entrust oneself to the God of all, and yield oneself up to the doctrine which raises us above all created things, and brings us, through the animate and living word— which is also living wisdom and the Son of God— to God who is over all. However, as the third book of our answers to the treatise of Celsus has extended to a sufficient length, we shall here bring our present remarks to a close, and in what is to follow shall meet what Celsus has subsequently written.
~ Origen (c. 184-c. 253), Contra Celsus, Book III


[ch. 69]
...For, apart from the aid of the word, and that too the word of perfection, it is impossible for a man to become free from sin.

[ch. 70]
...Whereas if any one among existing things is able to commit wickedness from being inclined to wickedness by nature, it does so from not having in its nature the ability not to do evil.
~ Origen (c. 184-c. 253), Contra Celsus, Book III


Why, what a coincidence! (i.e., as it turns out.)

I initially learned about and was curious to see "Night Life of the Gods" (1935) because Thelma Todd's ex-husband has a small role in it. Then further upon watching, I discovered several other things of unusual interest. One of the first of these was that the film has what struck me as several "goomeristic" qualities; such as for example:

1. The bad jokes and ongoing, vapid and mostly vain attempts at cute dialogue and humor.
2. "Faith, Hope, and Charity" are ridiculed and rejected as a tiresome singing trio (a la something like the Andrews Sisters, but pre-1940 of course.)
3. The main character, an eccentric scientist, has the power to turn people into stone. This is useful for getting them to buzz off or shut up as he needs them to -- very much like how Samantha Stevens does her little twitch of the nose to do something similar on "Bewitched."*

The film is worthwhile as an attempt at something creatively different, and deserves credit in that regard, but otherwise it is a failure except as a period curiosity.

After so viewing, I looked further into its original author Thorne Smith (1892-1934), pictured above. It turns out he was also the creator of the "Topper" ghost-comedy series and the 1942 movie "I Married a Witch," with Fredric March and Veronica Lake in the primary roles; which latter film is reportedly understood to be the inspiration for "Bewitched." Here's a clip in case for such as might be interested:

["I Married A Witch, Starring Susan Hayward,Part 6, FINAL"]

Was all this, in its way, part of the start of what became so common and matter of course later (and to this day)?

* Later Note. I spotted this specific association BEFORE learning about Thorne Smith.