Re: RM Hare built the bridge on the river Kwai

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It is always a bit of a shock to find out that analytic philosophers have had interesting lives. You'd think they just spent their years sitting in their office thinking up counter examples.

Also I always assume that since they are in the same business as I am, they have had roughly similar lives. They grade papers, buy groceries, talk trash in forums full of other academics. Nothing exciting. It is especially galling when someone finds the time to write several important books *and* have an interesting life.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 1:44 PM
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The good news, Rob, is that The Language of Morals, which is an awesome book, was written after he'd been around for a while, which gives me some hope. Not much, of course, but some.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 1:48 PM
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RM Hare is awesome. I remember reading something of his in college and thinking "not only is this guy much smarter than the person he's responding to, but actually cares about the argument more than seeming smart." A rare thing in philosopher types. And that whole WWII generation just lucked the fuck out with their great war. We need to gin up something grand.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 1:53 PM
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Seeing it in RSS, I thought there was a 10% chance w-lfs-n had written this post rather than Labs. I should've known better than to imagine w-lfs-n acknowledging that others might not find the post interesting.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 1:54 PM
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We need to gin up something grand.

Let's invade Iran!


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 1:54 PM
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You'd think they just spent their years sitting in their office thinking up counter examples.

The marble would look nice, but it's probably hard to maintain and expensive... tile is just ridiculous ... hmm.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 1:54 PM
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We need to gin up something grand.

Ogged endorses McCain!


Posted by: felix | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 1:55 PM
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Evariste Galois was a notoirious radical during the July Revolution, a friend of Alexandre Dumas, and wrote one of the great works of 19th century mathematics the night before he went off to die in a duel over a broken love affair. He was twenty fucking years old, the shit.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 1:55 PM
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I should've known better than to imagine w-lfs-n acknowledging that others might not find the post interesting.

Say what?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 1:57 PM
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Wow, I didn't realize that Galois was quite such an absurdly romantic figure.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 2:05 PM
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Drunk w-lfs-n is a different person.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 2:07 PM
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I didn't realize that Galois was quite such an absurdly romantic figure

Oh, people just overrate those cigarettes because they're French and John Lennon smoked them.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 2:08 PM
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In other unexpected WWII atrocity news, Charles Durning was a survivor of the Malmedy massacre.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 2:17 PM
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Leray invented spectral sequences while in a concentration camp. It shows.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 2:23 PM
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10: Oooh, RTFS. Snark told me that story, are you saying he didn't tell you?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 2:25 PM
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Quel scandale!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 2:27 PM
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It's odd when one finds out these sort of things about academics. The (pretty fucking famous for a) classicist/anthropologist Jean-Pierre Vernant came to Chicago several years ago and I had to do something or other with his CV. I was pretty impressed when I came across something like this (ganked from Wikipedia):

A member of the Young Communists (Jeunes Communistes), Vernant joined the French Resistance during World War II and was a member of Libération-sud (founded by Emmanuel d'Astier). He later commanded the French Interior Forces (FFI) in Haute-Garonne under the pseudonym of "Colonel Berthier." He was a Companion of the Liberation.

A resistance fighter! Avec pseudonyme!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 2:33 PM
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The Colonel Bogey March! You know how sometimes you forget even the most memorable and long-loved songs? My dad used to whistle this song on family vacations in the station wagon...because family vacations in the station wagon were like a death march.

Anyway, last week I started to hum it, and suddenly couldn't remember the melody, or even what it was called. That entire memory just disappeared down a rabbit hole. It's been gently gnawing at me since. Then, just now when I opened unfogged, it all came back! Thanks Fontana Labs!


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 2:33 PM
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Charles Durning's filmography since turning 50 is worth a look. Not only is he possibly the only man to have portrayed Stephen Douglas, Casey Stengel and Pope John XXIII, but his characters run the entire gamut of authority figures, including "Senator Henry Colton", "Senator Samuel Chapman", "Congressman Davenport", "Father Madden", "Father Hubley", "Father O'Reilly", "Father Ted Nabors", "Monsignor Thomas Burke", "Reverend Gerald Hutchens", "Justice Henry Hoskins", "Judge Harlan Radovich", "Councilman Max Ernst", "Mayor George Bailey", "Commissioner Russell Oswald", "Police Chief Gil McGowan", "President David Stevens", "Coach Johnson", "The Captain", and "The Warden". Plus, as stated earlier, the Pope, and the governors in both O Brother Where Art Thou and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

Most impressively, he has portrayed a grumpy Santa Claus in a whopping four unrelated TV movies as well as Elmo Saves Christmas.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 2:35 PM
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what i recalled, a japanese tv program about WWII japanese concentration camps and POVs
or may be it was not a program specifically dedicated to that, an interview or what i forgot
so the elderly japanese was recalling that they fed POVs gobo and were accused of inhumane treatment of POVs feeding them wood chips
when in fact gobo is considered to be the healthiest food with a lot of useful ingredients and may be thanks to the gobo diet many POVs survived etc
and i remember i was thinking how facts can be so widely differently interpreted


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 2:37 PM
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What's gobo?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 2:38 PM
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http://japanesefood.about.com/od/vegetable/r/kinpiragobo.htm

gobo - burdock root they say


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 2:40 PM
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21: apparently a kind of burdock.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 2:42 PM
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It's crazier than burdock!


Posted by: B.A. Baracus | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 2:43 PM
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Called "bardana" in the Mediterranean, but not eaten much any more.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 2:43 PM
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21: A really awesome vegetarian restaurant in NYC, owned by the sons of the people who own Zen Palate.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 2:44 PM
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I recently saw "The Bridge on the River Kwai" and found it a bit disappointing.

You're babbling. You're not making any sense. You're hysterical.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 3:03 PM
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One would think the French, especially, would be pretty chuffed to have a notable artist who actually killed Nazis during the Big One to their credit, but apparently they've lost track of him. I blame Mitterand society.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 3:08 PM
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I just had gobo yesterday for lunch! It was leftovers from dinner at my parents' house. Delicious!


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 3:08 PM
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Doesn't Apostropher have some leftover gobo on his blog?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 3:10 PM
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Quite a few analytic philosophers led interesting lives. Or at least the old ones did. Bernard Williams flew fighter planes.

One of my professors as an undergrad was a spy. Or certainly he hinted heavily in that direction in the one conversation we had about his war service.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 3:14 PM
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The literary critic Ian Watt was also a POW on the Burma Railway. He wrote a good essay about it (and the film) in his last collection of papers, Essays on Conrad. It's available on Google books.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 3:26 PM
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31: A number of now-elderly British and American classicists worked as code breakers of one sort or another. Back when the test was "Are you good at crosswords?" rather than "Are you good at math?"
One professor I know, when she was 20 or so, was taught Thai by the US government for sig-int reasons.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 3:41 PM
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33: oudemia, Ze/ph Ste/wart did that in Japan. (His bio is still up on their website even though he died in December.)

A graduate of Yale with highest honors in Classics, he subsequently served in the Army for several years, working at first on the decoding of Japanese messages and later in military intelligence and diplomatic liaison. Early in his career at Har/vard he was a Junior Fellow of the Society of Fell/ows. In my book he gets bonus points for being one of the last American professors at a top university not to have a Ph.d.

Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 6:22 PM
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In my book he gets bonus points for being one of the last American professors at a top university not to have a Ph.d.

Ah, another chance to link to this guy.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 6:28 PM
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I meant to cut the blockquote off earlier. Damn.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 6:30 PM
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Oh, sure, you get all dreamy about the steely-eyed warrior poet leading men into battle for the French Resistance, but there's no love for Wallace Stevens, the hard-drinking two-fisted surety bonds expert from the Hartford?


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 6:31 PM
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34: Aha! One of his former students (one of my former professors) told me about him. He was pretty keen, since they broke all the Japanese codes approximately 4 minutes after the war started.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 6:32 PM
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37: I always liked the (surely apocryphal?) quote from Steven's funeral. One of the Hartford insurance dudes is leaving the service and turns to another and says, "Wally wrote poetry?"


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 6:34 PM
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34: I suspect he is unlikely to be googling his own name.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 6:35 PM
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40: Ouija maybe. But the floating glass thingy would so not be tricked by those slashes.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 6:38 PM
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Lazy Internet Research Question: Does anyone know where I might be able to find decent articles on issues related to internet crime and/or intellectual property violations. I know that that is overly broad, but I'm trying to help the guy I visit in prison. He has to write a paper for his sociology class on Social Problems (that's rfeally what it's called), and the prison library doesn't have stuff that's all that up to date. Plus, it seems to be open only in the day time when he's usually working.

The guy is very interested in computers and has a subscription to PC magazine. My other team member is looking for stuff like the Dateline pieces on internet predators, but I think I'd be happier if I could get him to write on something unrelated to pedophiles. He hasn't narrowed his topic down at all, so I'd like to find something general to start with.

|>


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 6:42 PM
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Wallace Stevens, the hard-drinking two-fisted surety bonds expert from the Hartford

With Charles Ives and Franz Kafka, one of the great artistic minds of the insurance industry in the 20th century.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 6:46 PM
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42: The RIAA's crusade against college students? Start with recordingindustryvspeople.blogspot.com and follow links from there.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 6:51 PM
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In my book he gets bonus points for being one of the last American professors at a top university not to have a Ph.d.

Saul Kripke doesn't have a Ph.D. Neither does Peter Brown.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 7:02 PM
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45: I did not know that about Peter Brown! He's not really a classicist, but if we count him (and why not!), we can claim a P. Brown, White, and Green!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 7:04 PM
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Neither does Peter Brown.

! I had no idea.

He's not really a classicist, but if we count him (and why not!)

Yes, what does late antiquity belong to? I've long wondered. It seems like it flutters in and out of classics, medieval studies, and period-independent disciplines like religious studies or what have you.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 7:07 PM
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Yes, what does late antiquity belong to?

By all accounts, it belongs pretty much to Peter Brown.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 7:10 PM
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42 - Larry Lessig's blog?


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 7:11 PM
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With Charles Ives and Franz Kafka, one of the great artistic minds of the insurance industry in the 20th century.

Benjamin Lee Whorf is another member of the 20th Century Insurance Intelligentsia, though not so much on the artistic side.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 7:18 PM
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I think that Larry Lessig has changed his focus.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 7:29 PM
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50: Huh. Whorf worked downstairs from Stevens. I had no idea.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 7:30 PM
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Benjamin Lee Whorf, Wallace Stevens, and Charles Ives walked into a bar.
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.....................

"Franz Kafka!", said the bartender.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 7:33 PM
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51: Bruce Schneier's blog.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 7:36 PM
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Gonerill, philosophers seem to be a special case, and people trained at Oxbridge are a subset of this. Stewart went to an American college and never got a Ph.d.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 7:47 PM
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You know who seems to follow the internet and the law? One of the Volokh Conspiracy. Dunno which one.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 7:52 PM
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One of the Volokh Conspiracy

You're thinking of Orin Kerr, who is also, fortunately, the least awful of the VC posters by a wide margin.


Posted by: felix | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 7:55 PM
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By all accounts, it belongs pretty much to Peter Brown.

Threads converge: I just looked up Brown and realized that his Body and Society is sitting, unread, on my shelf.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 7:58 PM
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Gonerill, philosophers seem to be a special case, and people trained at Oxbridge are a subset of this.

People trained at Oxbridge are a subset of philosophers?

OK, /w-lfs-n, I know what you mean. However, I don't see why philosophers are a special case here.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 8:21 PM
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However, I don't see why philosophers are a special case here.

Isn't a B.Phil some sort of super-degree that goes well beyond a normal bachelor's?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 8:24 PM
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Isn't a B.Phil some sort of super-degree that goes well beyond a normal bachelor's?

A B.Phil is not an undergraduate degree. It's more like an M.A. -- partly taught, with a short thesis.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 8:27 PM
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But it's not a D.Phil or Ph.D.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 8:27 PM
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I have much, much love for Peter Brown. His Augustine bio and The World of Late Antiquity are two of the first books that made me want to be a classicist medievalist late-antiquitist. (It isn't his fault that I totally failed at all of those ambitions.) OTOH, Peter Green's Alexander to Actium is pretty bitchin', too, and a few years back he took VDH to the woodshed in the NYRB over Who Killed Plato?.

I did not know that Hare was involved in the construction of the Burma Railway. I'm looking now at my undergraduate copy of Moral Thinking. I see that I highlighted passages in green, but, sadly, there isn't any embarrassing marginalia for me to share.

Other things I didn't know: I didn't know that Jean Bottéro died this past December. Shit, he was 93.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 8:44 PM
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A B.Phil is not an undergraduate degree. It's more like an M.A. -- partly taught, with a short thesis.

That's what I meant.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 10:01 PM
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Other things I didn't know: I didn't know that Jean Bottéro died this past December. Shit, he was 93.

Damn. Who will write Assyriological cookbooks now?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-13-08 10:03 PM
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re: 61

Yes, it's basically like other universities M.Phil, but it's bastard hard* and takes 2 years. It also has [or used to have] a failure rate crazily out of line with most other 2 year masters degrees. A 25% failure rate wouldn't be particularly unusual, some years.

A reasonable number of the older philosophy bods in the UK only have the B.P/hil.

* I worked out I wrote about 170,000 words when I did mine.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-14-08 12:20 AM
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Which is about what you'd write for an Oxford BA, over three years, according to my BOTEC.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 02-14-08 3:02 AM
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re: 67

Possibly, yeah. Certainly, it'd be unusual to write less than one essay a week for the 3 years, and not uncommon to write two or three. So yeah, that sounds about the same. Done in about half the time for the B.Phil, though.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-14-08 3:10 AM
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re: 68

By contrast, when I did my MA in Glasgow [which is a 4 year undergraduate degree] we probably wrote somewhere between four and six essays in a ten week term. Which is somewhat easier than the Oxford buggers who might be doing more like 20 in the same time period.

Not directly comparable, as the essays at Glasgow would be assessed pieces of work, though.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-14-08 3:17 AM
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Yes, what does late antiquity belong to?

By all accounts, it belongs pretty much to Peter Brown.

Bryan Ward Perkins would strongly dispute this.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 02-14-08 4:09 AM
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I always get the Chadwicks confused, but one of them did a lot of stuff on Augustine. The other one was an historian of the Oxford Movement.

Many of the people who study late antiquity are studying church stuff, in which case the field is patristics.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-14-08 7:58 AM
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