Anothony Esolen on the Books We Discover but Fear to Read
A page from an old primer: “See the kings of Judah. They are little boys. They play tag among the idols. The Temple is large, and has many idols. See them flirt with the whores (horz). The ladies knead their dough. They make cakes for the queen of heaven. Children, gather the wood! Women, shake the bells! Men, kindle the fire!”
What insights into a culture can an old textbook provide. No dreary life was that, beribboned and smoking with food, in the shadow of sultry Ashtaroth and bedroom Baalim. Yet one lad, King Josiah, only eight when he began his reign in Judah, turned his devotion to the Lord.
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Anthony Esolen is a professor at Magdalen College of the Liberal Arts in Warner, New Hampshire, and the author of many books, including Real Music: A Guide to the Timeless Hymns of the Church (Tan, with a CD), Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture (Regnery), and The Hundredfold: Songs for the Lord (Ignatius). He has also translated Dante’s Divine Comedy (Random House). He and his wife Debra publish a web magazine, Word and Song (anthonyesolen.substack.com), on poetry, hymnody, language, classic films, and music. He is a senior editor of Touchstone.
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