Equality and fashion

In 1767, one N. Foster wrote, “In England the several ranks of men slide into each other almost imperceptibly, and a spirit of equality runs through every part of their constitution. Hence arises a strong emulation in all the several stations and conditions to vie with each other; and the . . . . Continue Reading »

Consumer revolution

In the 1982 symposium, The Birh of a Consumer Society , Neil McKendrick identifies some of the chief features of the demand-side of the social and economic of the 18th century. What did it mean for England to become a “consumer society”? 1. More people than ever could acquire material . . . . Continue Reading »

Mimetic adverts

Samuel Johnson recognized the character of avertising quite early. he noted in 1761 that “advertisements are now so numerous that they are very negligently perused, and it is therefore become necessary to gain attention by magnificence of promises and by eloquence sometimes sublime and . . . . Continue Reading »

Early advertising

Seen in the advertising section of many 18th-century English newspapers: “a fine young breast of milk willing to enter a gentleman’s household.” Presumably attached to a wet nurse. And an advertisement for a bed that “at the head . . . in the full centre front, appears . . . . Continue Reading »

Novels and social reform

Many early novelists aimed at social reform. Were they successful? According to a 1870 reviewer of J.E. Austen-Leigh’s Memoir of Jane Austen , they were: “it is the increase of knowledge among the wealthier classes which has stimulated their sympathies for the the poorer, and, in the . . . . Continue Reading »

Sermon Notes, Easter Sunday

INTRODUCTION Twice in Acts, an apostle uses Psalm 16 as a proof text for the resurrection of Jesus (Acts 2:25-28; 13:35). Psalm 16 is an Easter Psalm. THE TEXT “Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in You. I said to the LORD, ‘You are my Lord; I have no good besides You.’ As for . . . . Continue Reading »

Eucharistic meditation, Palm Sunday

Matthew 26:30: And after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Jesus and His disciples ended the last supper with a hymn. What did they sing? The texts in the gospels don’t tell us, but we can surmise from Jewish tradition that they sang the hymn that all Jews sang at their . . . . Continue Reading »

Baptismal exhortation, Palm Sunday

I read from Psalm 118:17: I will not die, but live, and tell of the works of the LORD. The LORD has disciplined me severely, but He has not given me over to death. From the time of Augustine, Christians have read the Psalms as the words of Christ. In the original context, the “I” of the . . . . Continue Reading »

Exhortation, Palm Sunday

The crowds greet Jesus as He arrives in Jerusalem singing from Psalm 118: “Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.” That’s also one of the phrases we commonly use in our liturgy. Many versions of the Sanctus, the “Holy, holy, holy,” conclude with these . . . . Continue Reading »

Converted Jerusalem Revisited

A number of readers have been skeptical about my earlier post on converted Jerusalem. Several have noted that Rodney Stark’s population statistics for Jerusalem don’t fit well with information we get from Josephus, who claims that the population of Jerusalem was much larger than 20,000. . . . . Continue Reading »