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Thursday, November 17, 2011


To paraphrase, "So much to write, so little time".  There are so many topics I am sure I won't get to them all unless I take the next few weeks.  And that is my plan.

First some updates.  There was a performance of an opera in Geneva played from October 28 to November 5, 2011.  

This is new opera written by composer Shauna Beesley and librettist Jean-Claude Humbert. Le procès de Michel Servet, or The Trial of Michael Servetus, is one of many performances in Europe during this 500th anniversary of Michael Servetus's birth.

I am still trying to get facts on another important development in Geneva. It seems that the Geneva Consistory, the city council, has approved the placement of a statue memorializing Servetus near the place where he died at the stake. At the time a memorial monolith was placed near the Champel hill, 1908, Servetus supporters wanted to place a statue. The Consistory refused and the monolith was placed in an inconspicuous location and brush and weeds allowed to grow up around it. The statue was accepted by the nearby French town of Annemasse, where it was later removed and melted down by the Nazi occupation troops. It was recast from the original mold in the 1960s and is still in Annemasse. A duplicate statue will be or has been placed in Geneva. More as I get through the language barrier and confirm the facts. Oh, and it seems that they did clean up the brush and weeds around the monolith.

I have been reading some books I didn't get to before writing The Passion of the Heretic and re-reading some that I had read. I'd like to write about each of them and how they affect my thoughts and vision for the script. There is a Broadcast Education Association conference and there is a deadline for submissions of scripts. I want to include some of my thoughts over the last few months in my submission.

First book I read is by Jerome Friedman titled Michael Servetus: A case Study in Total Heresy (1978). It is a fairly dense study of Servetus's theology from the Errors of the Trinity to The Restitution of Christianity. Every time I tried to read it I couldn't get past the first chapter, or was it the introduction. With determination I finally survived the whole book. I have a better understanding of his Christology and new ideas on why he and Calvin clashed so forcefully. That will have to wait until a new post.

The book I am reading now is The Restoration of Christianity: An English Translation of Christianismi Restitutio, 1553, by Michael Servetus (1511-1553) translated by Christopher A. Hoffman and Marian Hillar.  This one is, perhaps, more dense than Friedman's, because it is the actual work of Michael Servetus himself.  I have only begun this one and there are three volumes.  It is exciting that I finally feel grounded in the man and his ideas enough that I can attempt to grapple with his seminal book.  So far I am impressed with the Foreword by Ángel Alcalá.  Ángel has a wonderful way of explaining both the story of Servetus and, especially, his importance in the age  old struggle for freedom of conscience.  The few pages by Servetus I have read track very well with Friedman's book.

The final area I would like to mention is the relevance of Servetus's times to ours.  I am listening to a documentary about copyright laws and how they are becoming international and limiting the ability of persons to fair use of intellectual property.  How could Servetus have formed his ideas if he could not have used the ideas of the church fathers, and even the Bible?  I'm also hearing news reports of  NY police burning 5000 books from the Occupy Wall Street library.  In America.  In 2011.  Really?  Really?  And I thought shooting rubber bullets at non-violent  protesters was going too far.

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