Focus—there’s an app for that

For various reasons, focus can be difficult in a whole host of contexts—at work, at home, or during recreation. One contemporary culprit that can all too easily hamper efforts to “lose” oneself in the “play” of the real world are the digital devices and media with which some of us are constantly surrounded. As a helpful set of “training wheels” to foster better focus amid such distractions, enter Freedom.

 

For a quick overview of how to configure and begin using Freedom, see the clip below.

 

For additional discussion of the significance of focus and concentration, and (especially Internet-enabled) humans’ susceptibility to distraction, see Better attention than a goldfish, Eliminating distractions, Hyatt’s interview with Newport, Productivity assessment, Skills to cultivate for better work, Staying focused, Tips for better focus.

Reviving closed tabs in Logos

As of v. 7.8, Logos Bible Software supports reopening closed tabs both via panel menus and keyboard shortcuts (PC: Ctrl + Shift + T, Mac: Cmd + Shift + T). Conveniently at least for PC users—and I suspect also for Mac (?), the keyboard shortcut is the same one that will revive tabs in major browsers like Google Chrome.

For additional details and a walk through of how to access this feature through the panel menu see the LogosTalk blog.

Staying focused

Over at the Evernote blog, Valerie Bisharat has some helpful reflections on “how to avoid focus-stealing traps.” One particularly interesting study that Bisharat cites is

from the University of Texas at Austin [and] suggests that having our cell phones within reach – even if they’re powered off– reduces cognitive capacity, or ability to concentrate.

The cognitive pull of our devices is something that can be difficult to recognize, present with us as they often are. But the possibly deleterious effects on concentration that derive from having too much access to novel stimuli is certainly something that bears careful consideration.

For the balance of Bisharat’s comments, see her original post on the Evernote blog. On the same theme, see also Michael Hyatt’s interview with Cal Newport, author of Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World (Grand Central, 2016).

Middleton on Psalm 51

Over on his blog, Richard Middleton abstracts his essay “A Psalm against David? A Canonical Reading of Psalm 51 as a Critique of David’s Inadequate Repentance in 2 Samuel 12” from Explorations in Interdisciplinary Reading: Theological, Exegetical, and Reception-historical Perspectives (Pickwick, 2017).

For additional discussion of the volume, see Castleman, Lockett, and Presley, eds., “Explorations in interdisciplinary reading” and “Explorations in interdisciplinary reading” is out.

Jordanian lead codices report

The Centre for the Study of the Jordanian Lead Books has released a 1100+-page report on the codices that is openly available on the Centre’s website.

For additional links related to the codices, see PaleoJudaica and Donnerstag Digest (March 31, 2011)A Selective Summary of Fields, “The Dead Sea Scrolls Today”On the Web (August 24, 2011)On the Web (August 30, 2011)On the Web (September 1, 2011), and On the Web (September 6, 2011).

Burkett on Aristotle’s “Rhetoric”

John Burkett headshotTexas Christian University’s open, online thesis repository contains John Burkett’s treatment of Book III of Aristotle’s Retoric. The project is a commentary-style work on that book that strives to complete the project that William Grimaldi began with Books I and II. According to the abstract,

This new commentary on Aristotle’s Rhetoric III serves the purpose which the text held at the Classical Lyceum: elucidating Aristotle’s theory of style (lexis) and arrangement (taxis) for scholars, teachers, and practitioners of rhetoric. This commentary provides a much needed update because the last commentary, written by Cambridge classicist E. M. Cope in 1877, is now understood as a misinterpretation that reads Aristotle Platonically, takes seriously only rational appeals, assumes a mimetic theory of language that depreciates style, and misdefines central concepts like the enthymeme and common topics. Providing a new interpretation, this commentary may be summarized by three adjectives: Grimaldian, rhetorical, and accessible. First, this Grimaldian commentary applies the new rhetoric philosophy of William M. A. Grimaldi, S.J., which he explicates in Studies in the Philosophy of Aristotle’s Rhetoric (1972) and in his two-volume Commentary (1980-1988), wherein Grimaldi develops an integrated and contextual interpretation of the Rhetoric. Second, this rhetorical commentary observes the rhetoric in the Rhetoric since Aristotle typically practices what he teaches: writing with enthymemes, defining by metaphor, clarifying by antithesis, and arranging units by thesis, analysis, and synthesis. This commentary observes how Aristotle applies his three rhetorical appeals (êthos, pathos, logos), his theories of propriety (prepon), exotic (xenos), and virtue (aretê) in style, and the systems of Greek imagery, all of which develop a unified and interactive theory of invention, style, and arrangement. Attention is given to Aristotle’s creative theory of metaphor, being a tropos (turn) and a topos (place) of invention, functioning as a stylistic syllogism for creating knowledge with quick, pleasant learning. Arrangement also functions creatively with localized topical procedures for responding to the particular needs of each part of a composition. Third, this accessible commentary features text, translation, comments, and glossary for readers who may not be familiar with Aristotle’s idiom but who have an interest in his rhetorical theory and technical terms. Finally, incorporating recent scholarship, this commentary provides insights from classical rhetoric and new rhetoric, showing their interrelationship and how contemporary research in rhetoric builds on and helps to elucidate Aristotle’s expansive rhetoric as a general theory of language.

For the project’s full text, see TCU’s repository. On a personal note, I had the privilege of working for John while he was working on this project. Discussions with him about some of the more problematic approaches to Aristotle’s Retoric that are noted above proved quite enriching, helpful, and informative, and I’m delighted to see that his project is openly available for interested readers’ consumption.

“Explorations in interdisciplinary reading” is out

Recently released under Wipf and Stock’s Pickwick imprint is Explorations in Interdisciplinary Reading: Theological, Exegetical, and Reception-historical Perspectives, edited by Robbie Castleman, Darian Lockett, and Stephen Presley. The volume includes essays assembled from the Institute for Biblical Research’s recently concluded study group on Biblical Theology, Hermeneutics, and Theological Disciplines. A key among the essays in the volume is the interplay between Scripture as situated in its own historical contexts and its continuing reception as a canonical whole.

The volume’s ten essays are:

  • Andrew J. Schmutzer, “The Suffering of God: Love in Willing Vulnerability”
  • J. Richard Middleton, “A Psalm against David? A Canonical Reading of Psalm 51 as a Critique of David’s Inadequate Repentance in 2 Samuel 12”
  • J. David Stark, “Rewriting Torah Obedience in Romans for the Church”
  • Darian Lockett, “‘Necessary but not Suffcient’: The Role of History in the Interpretation of James as Christian Scripture”
  • D. Jeffrey Bingham, “Against Historicism: The Rule of Faith, Scripture, and Baptismal Historiography in Second-Century Lyons”
  • Stephen O. Presley, “From Catechesis to Exegesis: The Hermeneutical
    Shaping of Catechetical Formation in Irenaeus of Lyons”
  • Lissa M. Wray Beal, “Land Entry and Possession in Origen’s Homilies on Joshua: Deep Reading for the Christian Life”
  • Craig Blaising, “Integrating Systematic and Biblical Theology: Creation as a Test Case”
  • Susan I. Bubbers, “A Guiding Principle and Question-based Strategy for Integrating Biblical Systematic and Practical Disciplines”
  • Gregory S. MaGee, “Biblical Theology in the Service of Ecumenism: Eschatology as a Case Study”

For more information or to order the volume, please see its product pages on Wipf and Stock’s website, Amazon, or other booksellers.

Rhetorical “small change”

In his 1963 essay on the “Phenomenological Movement.” H.-G. Gadamer discusses at length Edmund Husserl’s influence in founding the school. In so doing, he recounts an interesting habit of Husserl’s that

In his teaching, whenever he encountered the grand assertions and arguments typical of beginning philosophers, he used to say, “Not always the big bills, gentlemen; small change, small change!” (133)

Gadamer does not wholly underwrite Husserl’s program, but he does helpfully observe that—perhaps as much for theology as for philosophy:

This kind of work produced a peculiar fascination. It had the effect of a purgation, a return to honesty, a liberation from the opaqueness of the opinions, slogans, and battle cries that circulated. (133)

For the balance of Gadamer’s reflections in this essay, see its printing in Philosophical Hermeneutics, ed. and trans. David E. Linge (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1976), 130–81.

Logos web app

Last month, Faithlife released a substantial web app for free to all Logos 7 users at https://app.logos.com/. But, users are advised that

at this point notes and highlights from the web app will not show up in the desktop app and vice versa. We’re working on creating this cross-platform syncing, but meanwhile you’re data, notes, and highlights are completely safe. Just keep in mind that as we make the transition to a new note system, you won’t be able to access your notes across all platforms.

For more about the new web app, see the original post on the LogosTalk blog.