Field-Names: An abbreviated corpus glossary complete with medieval picture

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In case anyone is looking for it, the (very trimmed down) glossary specific to my thesis on medieval field-names in the English Midlands is right here.  I’ve included a picture that may or may not be of any help/interest, but I haven’t yet converted every OE (Old English) character that needs converting.  That’ll be tomorrow’s project.

Calendar page for July: Farm workers scything.

A glossary of p.n./f.n. elements from the corpus
æ þ ð ā ē ō ū ȳ Æ Þ Ð ī

æcer OE, amount of land tillable by a yoke of oxen in one day; ‘a plot of arable or cultivated land, a measure of land (an acre) which a yoke of oxen could plough in a day’;

ald OE (Angl), eald (kt, WSax), adj., ‘old’.

beonet OE ‘bent grass’

beorg, burh, berg (Barroacr’) OE ‘a hill, a mound’

blæc (blacan wk. obl.) OE adj., ‘black, dark-coloured, dark’

bōth ODan, ‘a booth, a temporary shelter’

botm, *boðm OE, ‘a bottom, a valley bottom’

brād (brādan wk. obl.) OE adj. ‘broad, spacious’

brēc OE (Angl, Kt), braēc (WSax), brēche ME, ‘breaking, breach, land broken up for cultivation’

brēr OE (Angl) ‘briar’

 

brōc OE, ‘a brook, a stream’

brōm OE ‘broom’

būr OE ‘a cottage, a dwelling’

burna OE, ‘a spring, a stream’

butte ME, ‘a strip of land abutting on a boundary’, also ‘a short strip or ridge at right angles to other ridges, a short strip ploughed in the angle where two furlongs meet’

cald OE (Angl), ceald (Kt, WSax), kaldr ON, cald, cold ME, adj., ‘cold’

clæg OE ‘clay, clayey soil’

clif (clifu, cliefu, cleofu nom.pl.) OE, klif ON, ‘a cliff, a bank’

cnoll OE ‘a hill-top, the summit of a large hill’, later ‘a knoll, a hillock’, freq. in f.ns.

cot neut. (cote dat.sg., cotu nom.pl.), cote fem. (cotan dat.sg., nom.pl.) (cotum dat.pl.) OE, ‘a cottage, a hut, a shelter, a den’

cress/cresse OE ‘cress’ v. caerse

croft OE ‘a small enclosed field’, dial. croft ‘a small enclosure of arable or pasture land’ and in the NCy often ‘such an enclosure near a house’

cros OIr, kross ON, cros late OE, ME, ‘a cross, the Cross’

crumb OE ‘crooked, twisted, bent’ (esp. in a river or stream); cramb OE ‘land in the bend of a river’

crymel OE, ‘a small piece (of land or water)’, ‘something crumbled’, possibly also in the later sense of ModE crumble ‘fine debris’.

dēop OE, djupr ON, adj., ‘deep’, especially with words for ‘valley’, ‘water’, and ‘ford’.

dīc OE, ‘a ditch’, was used in OE chiefly of ‘an excavated trench’

docce (doccan obl., doccena gen.pl.) OE, ‘dock, a dock’

dryge OE adj., ‘dry, dried up’

ecg OE, ‘an edge’, most often in p.ns. of ‘the sharp edge at the top of a hill, esp. an escarpment’

ende OE, aende (ESax), endi ON, ‘end, the end of something, the end of an estate, a district or quarter of a village or town’

eng ON, ‘meadow, pasture’

feld OE, ‘open country’ (see full entry EPNE)

flat, flot ON, ‘a piece of flat level ground’

fox OE, ‘a fox’

furlang, forlong OE, ‘the length of a furrow, a furlong, a piece of land the length of a furrow’

geard OE, ‘a fence, an enclosure, a yard, a courtyard’

græfe OE, ‘a grove, copse, thicket’

gráf, gráfa, gráfe OE, ‘a grove, copse’,

grēne (grénan wk. obl.), groenn ON, adj., ‘green, young, growing’

hæc(c) OE (Angl, WSax), hec(c) (Kt, Merc), ‘a hatch, a grating, a half-gate, a gate’

(ge)hæg OE, (ge)heg (Kt, Merc), hay ME, ‘a fence, an enclosure’

halh (hale dat.sg., halas, healas nom.pl., halum, healum dat.pl.) OE (Angl), healh (heale dat.sg.) (Kt, WSax), ‘a nook, a corner of land, a water-meadow’./ ‘a secluded hollow in a hill-side’ or ‘a small steep valley on the side of a larger one’, but most commonly ‘a remote narrow valley’

hālig (halgan wk.obl.) OE adj., ‘holy, sacred, dedicated to sacred use’

hall OE (Angl), heall (Kt, WSax), ‘a hall, a large residence, a manor house, a place for legal and other public business and in later dial. ‘a farm-house’

hangende OE pres.part., ‘hanging’

hēafod OE, ‘a head’, ‘the upper end or top of something, a hill, an eminence, the end of a ridge’, esp. when combined with topographical els. denoting ‘hill’ and the like; ‘a headland, a spit of land round which a river flows’

hēah OE ‘high’; ‘high, in lofty position’, ‘tall, long’, cliffs, banks, posts, etc.; ‘chief, important’ 2. ‘a high place, a height’

hlæfdige OE, levedi, lavedi, ladi ME, ‘lady, a nun, Our Lady’; in f.ns. it is used of land dedicated to the Virgin.

hlāw, hlaew OE, ‘a mound, a hill’; common literary contexts meaning ‘an artificial mound, a burial mound, a mound in which treasure is hidden’, also ‘hill, a conical hill resembling a tumulus’

hol holh, OE, hol ON, ‘a hole, a hollow’

holegn OE, ‘holly’

hors OE, ‘a horse’

hungor OE, ‘hunger, famine, usually as a term of reproach in allusion to ‘barren ground’

hwæ-te OE ‘wheat’

hwit OE adj., ‘white’

hyll OE, ‘a hill, a natural eminence or elevated piece of ground’

hyrst OE (Angl, WSax), herst (Kt), ‘a hillock, a copse’. The attested meanings of hyrst are: ‘ a hillock, a bank’, ‘ a copse, a wood, a wooded eminence’ and in ME ‘a sandbank’

intak ON, ‘a piece of land taken in or enclosed’

kjarr ON, ‘brushwood’

(ge)lād OE, ‘a water-course, a passage over a river or stream’
læ-s OE, ‘pasture, meadow-land’

land, lond OE, land ON, ‘land’. This el. has in p.ns. a variety of meanings of which the principal ones are: ‘a part of the earth’s surface (as distinct from water), earth, soil, dry land’; a tract of land of considerable extent’ as in county or regional names; ‘an estate or smaller tract of land’, which is no doubt the common one in p.ns.; ‘a strip of arable land in a common-field’

(lane, lone) lanu OE, ‘a lane, a narrow road’

lang (langan wk. obl.) OE adj., langr ON adj., ‘long’, in p.ns. usually means ‘extending over a great distance’

lēah OE masc., lēah OE fem. ‘a wood, a clearing in a wood’

leme ME, ‘an artificial water-course’

hlot OE, allotment, ‘a lot, a share, an allotment’; ‘a piece of land assigned by lot’

lȳtel, lytel, litel OE adj., litill ON adj., ‘little, small’

mæ-d (maedwe obl.sg., maedwa nom.pl., maedwum dat.pl.) OE (WSax), mēd (Angl, Kt), ‘a meadow’, orginally ‘a piece of meadowland kept for mowing’

mersc, merisc OE, ‘watery land, a marsh’

micel OE adj., ‘big, great’

middel (midlan wk.obl) OE adj., ‘middle’, midlest OE adj. sup ‘middlemost’

munuc OE, monke ME, ‘a monk’

myln, mylen OE (Angl, WSax), meln (Kt), ‘a mill’

park Ofr, ME, ‘an enclosed tract of land for beasts of the chase’

persone OFr, ME, ‘a parson, a beneficed cleric’

pie-2 OFr, ME, ‘a magpie’

pil-āte OE, ‘pill-oats’ cf. ME pilcorn.

pingel ME, ‘a small enclosure’

pise (pisan), pisu, peosu OE, ‘pease, peas’

ruh OE adj., ‘rough’

rydding OE, ‘a clearing’

OE, *sa (EAngl), sáer ON, ‘a sea a lake’.

scēap OE (WSax), scēp (Angl, Kt, late WSax), ‘a sheep’

sīc OE, ‘a small stream, esp. one in a flat marshland;, sik ON, ‘a ditch, a trench’; cf. dial. sike, sitch. In p.ns. sic was often used of a stream that formed a boundary and so came to denote ‘a field, a piece of meadow along a stream’

smið ON, ‘a smith, a worker in metal’

solum, dat. pl. of sol ‘dirty place’, OE ‘mud, slough, a wallowing place’

spring, spryng OE, ‘a spring, a well, the source of a stream’

stān OE, ‘a stone, stone, rock’, has a variety of applications in p.ns. Its common meanings include: ‘rock, stone’ in allusion to the character of the ground, esp. when used as a first el. (almost with the adj. function ‘stony, rocky’

stede, styde OE, ‘a place, a site, a locality’.

stigel, -ol OE, ‘a stile, a place devised for climbing over a fence’, probably also on topographical grounds ‘a steep ascent’

stubbing*, OE adj., ‘a place where trees have been stubbed, a clearing’

swin OE, svin ON, ‘a swine, a pig’

topp OE, ‘top, the top of a bank or hill’

toft, topt (ON); archaeology of ancient building site

torr OE, ‘a rock, a rocky outcrop, a rocky peak’

tūn OE, ‘an enclosure, a farmstead, an estate, a village’, tún ON, ‘an enclosure, a farmstead’

þorn OE, ON, ‘a thorn-tree, the hawthorn’; cf. also blaec-, lús-.

wælla, waelle OE, (Merc) ‘a well, a spring’, also seen as wall, walle v. wella.

wall OE (Angl), weall (Kt, WSax), ‘a wall’

weg OE, ‘a way, a path, a road’, but not usually an urban road; it denotes a great variety of tracks, from one used by animals to a great Roman road like the Fosse Way or the ancient British track of Icknield Way.

wilig OE (Angl), welig (WSax), ‘a willow’.

wulf (wulfes gen.sg., wulfa gen.pl.) OE, ‘a wolf’

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A Reflection on the Women who are ever-present throughout my day(s)

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This post was written on International Women’s Day and posted on the 3rd of April. (Just to note.)

I do not have a regular calendar above my desk because we do not live near a Half Price Books.  Half Price Books hands out the most amazing author-and-book-themed calendars at the end of every year, free, if you spend $25 at their store which,  for us, is really no challenge whatsoever. But since we don’t live near a HPB, I don’t have one this year.  So I didn’t know that today was International Women’s Day until John mentioned it in passing on our drive home from Milwaukee.

Milwaukee.  City of breweries.  Butt of many a dumb-Midwesterner joke.  Setting for the appallingly awful ‘That 70’s Show’ and, in actuality, not a terrible place at all.  In fact, for a city, it’s all right.  It bears a great resemblance to Portland in the mid-to-late ’90s and was home, for quite a few years, to the redoubtable Golda Meir.  Golda Meir.! Who knew?!  Apparently, a lot of people, but indeed, not I: at least, not until we moved to Wisconsin.

Though in point of fact, moving to Wisconsin did not provide me this information, but having a Masters thesis to complete and an inherent need, therefore, for an academic library did the trick. In September I signed on as a Patron of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Library so that I could use their stacks to my heart’s (and degree’s) content.  Enter Golda Meir.  The library is named after the formidable first (and only) woman prime minister of Israel and it is only one of many reminders, on International Women’s Day, of the inundation of my day by equally formidable, though perhaps less well-known, women in my life.

Here’s one:
This morning, as I do every morning, I looked out the front windows at the house across the street.  It is the home of Anna and Chuck, who have welcomed us so unreservedly into this, our new neighborhood.  Anna, who had never laid eyes on us before, appeared at our back door with wine, cheese, and a lot of enthusiasm the day after we pulled up in our big yellow Penske truck.  This woman is, to me, as necessary to life as Golda Meir.  Maybe more so.  I do not look out across North 16th Street and see Golda Meir, but something better: a yellow-and-stone house where a friend lives: a woman who has refreshed the hearts of the saints.

So it isn’t just the big-time women who ought to be honored on these International days but the women who make us better citizens of our neighborhoods, better neighbors which is, after all, part of Christ’s commission: Love the Lord your God with all your heard, soul, mind and love your neighbor just as well.

Storing this here for later

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Creative People sometimes Make no Sense

If I add this article (click photo and link above) to my bookmarks then it will, quite literally, become one of the hundreds of bookmarks I have added over the years.  I am a book-marker and no bones about it: I love to save a good thing for later.  Be it a compelling website, an inspiring or informative article, a list of the top 50 (or even 500) books/authors/typefaces, I really like the idea of holding on to them and tucking them away for a less inspired, less-informed period of life.

Not to be outdone by the interwebs, I do this with real stuff, too, like storing cards my mom sent me whilst I was in college (or just living in Seattle) alongside the neat-o bulletins from the Episcopal church and the  bar napkin with the finely-crafted logo on which my husband wrote an anniversary haiku.  Okay, the latter example is sentimental for a whole lot of other reasons, but the bulletins and concert tickets and Valentine’s cards are of a piece.

And so, to marry form and function, content and style, I post this entry alongside a list of paradoxes often exhibited by the creative individual (among whom I count myself one).  It’s a coarsely-curated list but it’s more than tolerable as a guide for understanding the oddities of those who aren’t linear or, if linear, inconsistently so.

What we may have left undone

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Forgiveness is the perfume the trampled flower casts back upon the foot that crushed it.

-Attributed to Shakespeare, Mark Twain, and a variety of clueless blog writers

For many years this quote, several poems, an oil-pastel portrait of our Scottish terrier, and a string of daisies adorned our upstairs bathroom.  These gems, the first of which appeared circa 1986, were drawn directly onto the original 1963 yellow-and-white wallpaper by my sister and myself as a protest against the paper’s perceived ugliness.  The bathroom has long since been updated and stripped of its character-filled wall adornments but this particular quote–provided, I believe, by my friend Jill–is one of the few that remains for me, to this day, a source of humility and something worthy of my consideration.

We have all done selfish things, naughty things, things we wish we hadn’t done and hope will disappear, but few of us have learned the solidarity of forgiveness that must needs follow these behaviors.  We have all lost our tempers, we have lied and stretched the truth to fit our needs, we have ‘left things undone’, so to speak, and we have very often shirked what little responsibility we have truly been given on this earth.

Most of us, if not each of us, barring the psychopath or the deranged, has felt remorse, sudden and uncomfortable, creep up on us as we shoulder the guilt of an unwise action. That sense of righteousness or pride that led us to our un-right action is, if we are fortunate, followed quickly by a flash of despair over what we have done.  We wish it were not so and, instead of begging forgiveness, often we follow the lie or the theft or unkindness with yet another round of the same.  We long to ask forgiveness but our pride prevents us: we do not know where to begin because we think we are still the flower when really, we are the foot.

And because we have deceived others, we know what it is to sit at the receiving end of such unpleasantness and even cruelty.  We have been stood up, we have been dumped, we have been lied to or stolen from or hurt by someone–likely many someones.  We have been broken into, in one way or another, and we have not always acted in accord.  That is, we have indeed acted in accord–but not like the flower.  For when a foot, shod or bare, tramples a flower, breaks its stalk, and removes its petals the flower does not and cannot trample back.  The wild exception is the blackberry cane, but even then the fruit it bears is sweet, purple and forgiving.  No, the flower bends and is sometimes broken, but it often will, when carefully and curiously examined, cast upon us a fragrance.  This is what is meant by in accord.

So often the inclination of our heart is not to release anything akin to perfume when the boot comes down upon us.  Instead our first response is to weep angry thoughts and sharpen hardened words and to be, in a sense, the blackberry vine sans fruits.  We dagger our feelings into each other and into ourselves because we have been wounded and we want to wound in return.  When hurt by someone’s selfishness, unkindness, lack of thought, or lack of understanding we weep, and we also harden.  Soon we are behaving unkindly ourselves and crushing the beautiful blooms around us, simply because we reacted like a blackberry vine and not a flower.  If forgiveness is the perfume then peace must be the fruit.  And it is for these fruits that we work and are known, as the disciples of the Christ who called us be in the tiresome, troubling world, but not of it; to be, as it were, the flower and not the foot.

Good Works in Green Bay

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In this video you will see Katie Stockman advocating for the creative powers, stories and beauty of women everywhere–but particularly these refugee women in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

It’s never a bad idea to share the good works of another person.  By Good Works I mean the work of another person that promotes Goodness, one component of the trivium–Truth, Beauty and Goodness–that points to God.  (The other two components have been and indeed will continue to be discussed on this here weblog.)

My neighbor’s daughter is part of the Good Work featured in this video and I am so proud to say that I know her and that my life somehow intersects hers, for Christ calls us to surround ourselves with others who do His work and to learn from one another how to discover and use the Gifts He has so generously given us.  Not everyone can be an organizer or a motivator or an advocate, but neither can everyone be a lawyer, a teacher, a lineman, a chef. And so when we see others using their gifts, not afraid or held back by fear, challenges or social constraints, we must thank God, both for the gift and the recipient of that gift.

 

Ash Wednesday

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Remember that thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return.

For Ash Wednesday I am letting Professor Alison Milbank speak for me in this University of Nottingham Department of Theology and Religion Sacred Calendars video.

This series, Sacred Calendars, sets to explain the church year, the liturgical calendar to people who, like me, did not grow up in a liturgical tradition.  But it does not assume total ignorance, and that, I believe, is its mark of success.

Let us be penitent; let us rend our hearts and not our garments, and let us sing litanies, long prayers to God, and wear the ashes.  On this Ash Wednesday may our petitions for clean hearts and right spirits be made in humility and in genuine love and may our understanding of the ash on our foreheads remind us of the dust from whence we came.

 

Shrove Tuesday

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Today, for Shrove Tuesday, I post to the site a video that, in many ways, isn’t phenomenal.  It has had 107 views, and a dozen of those are likely the person or organization that uploaded it.  It has one ‘like’ (mine) and for some seemingly-insensitive reason, one ‘dislike’ (why does that option exist?).  It is a video I found through rather phenomenal circumstances, however, and that is what merits its presence here.

I found this piece after spending the weekend in Rochester, Minnesota, at the annual L’Abri conference, where I met a man named Joe Holbus who attends the church featured in the video.  He and I got to talking, as people do at conferences, and it turns out his church, Trinity Presbyterian, works closely with the Crow Creek Tribe and Reservation to restore and preserve their graveyard.  When I went searching for more information on the leader of this project, Wes Peterson, I found–as one must–there to be more to the story and a strong need for understanding and silence as we hear the stories another culture tells us about its own, precious humanity.

Should you decide to watch it, I recommend sticking to it through all 22 minutes, even though at times it is slow and even repetitive.  Good narrative repeats itself and is rarely–perhaps never–summed up quickly.  It is a Christian video, that is, it possesses and shares the message of Christ which is to Love one another.

Truth is stranger

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I’ve just finished reading a fantastic article from the TLS about a little-known Russian author who (more than likely) forged an account of the ‘lost years’ of Jesus’ life.  While this sounds utterly sacrilegious–and in a way, is–it is also an attempt at an exoneration of the Jews’ part in Jesus’ crucifixion–by a converted Jew.

The man who wrote this account, Russian-born Nicolas Notovich, had been living in Paris for many years and had encountered great discrimination and seen great evil done, both by and to the Jews.  The author of the article, Marcel Theroux, writes with great clarity and turns a side-note of history into a very compelling read. Thus, I spent about 20 minutes this morning utterly engaged in another world and viewpoint on humanity.

https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/public/the-post-truth-gospel/

 

 

Better than Vogue

From a blog I follow called THE FRENCH YAM.  Here’s their YouTube page. Unfortunately, the link to their blog page is banned by our inane service provider (one of the corporate giants whose name contains two letters, one repeated twice), and so by copy-and-pasting here I do not mean to pass of its content as my own, simply to provide a glimpse into French Yam Territory.

Voici.

~~~~~~~~

Many of us enjoy seeing the latest trends off the runway – oversized coats, statement accessories, etc. We all secretly dream of having a closet full of designer labels and couture gowns.

Hélas ? The realities of being human get in the way.

To stay fashionable without the headache, one needs to cultivate a sense of personal style.

What is personal style ?

Personal style is your best uniform designed to always make you look chic regardless of the trends. In a way it is like your personal brand except that you are not particularly interested in any buyers.

To develop personal style you need to follow these steps:

#1 Define your best face

Stand in the mirror and identify your 3 best features from the neck up. Is it your hair, eyes, lips, skin, neck, etc ?

Yes, you can have more than 3 but the point is not to overwhelm people with your beauty but to cultivate style – now focus.

Once you’ve identified these 3 features, you will want to highlight them. This means that everyday, these are the 3 features that will stand out when people see you. These will be your calling card.

Of course, the secret trick to all of this is balance. When highlighting your triple threat areas, decide which one will play lead and which two will play supporting roles.

This harmony is called your best face.

For example, my best 3 features are: hair, eyes and lips.

To define my best face every morning, i start first with grooming my statement hair. Once my hair is complete, i move to my 2 supporting features: eyes and lips.

And on days where my hair is cast to a supporting role, I can choose between the other two characters depending on the look (re: mood) of the day.

Melanie-Laurent.jpg

Melanie Laurent serves her best face: Hair, Eyes & Lips

#2 Accept your body and dress accordingly

Stop dieting right now and accept that this is who you are… Seriously, stop !

Yes, we can all agree that our stomach, hips or thighs could be one way or the other. But for that we would probably need to stop actually enjoying life, which ultimately defeats the purpose of the entire exercise.

So instead of watching the scale, let us work with what mother nature has provided: 5 Gorgeous Body Types for us all to play with. Each one of these shapes celebrates the human form in its own unique way. Identify your shape from the one below and start dressing accordingly.

Dress For Body Type

Classic Body Types (l-r): Hourglass, Apple, Rectangle, Pear and the V.

Keep in mind that each shape will need to adhere to its own rules in order to bring out its unique aesthetic. This is the true beauty of being human. No one shape is better than the other.

#3  Assemble the package

Now that you have identified your best face and how to dress for your body. It is time to package it all together into your unique personal style.

Remember, this is not about anyone else but you.

Once you understand what works for face & body, ONLY shop for items that continue to enhance your uniqueness.

If the latest trend does not flatter you, ignore it like it doesn’t even exist. When friends rave about fashions that you can’t wear, frown as if you are bored by the conversation.

Inversely, when the trends turn in your favour. By all means, spin around like an over excited puppy looking forward to a walk. And of course, when your friends make a face, smile quietly on the inside and keep it moving !

Et voilà, you have now cultivated your unique personal style.

French model Jeanne Damas demonstrates why staying true to your personal style is ultimately more interesting than following any fashion trend.

https://videopress.com/embed/FhmJXGL7?hd=0&autoPlay=0&permalink=0&loop=0

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https://videopress.com/embed/FhmJXGL7?hd=0&autoPlay=0&permalink=0&loop=0

Many of us enjoy seeing the latest trends off the runway – oversized coats, statement accessories, etc. We all secretly dream of having a closet full of designer labels and couture gowns. Hélas ? The realities of being human get in the way. To stay fashionable without the headache, one needs to cultivate a sense […]

via How To Stay Fashionable Without Becoming a Victim ? — THE FRENCH YAM

Born on Christmas, 1642

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“Isaac Newton said he had seen farther by standing on the shoulders of giants, but he did not believe it. He was born into a world of darkness, obscurity, and magic; led a strangely pure and obsessive life, lacking parents, lovers, and friends; quarreled bitterly with great men who crossed his path; veered at least once to the brink of madness; cloaked his work in secrecy; and yet discovered more of the essential core of human knowledge than anyone before or after. He was chief architect of the modern world. He answered the ancient philosophical riddles of light and motion, and he effectively discovered gravity.  He showed how to predict the courses of heavenly bodies and so established our place in the cosmos.  He made knowledge a thing of substance: quantitative and exact.  He established principles, and they are called his laws.”

These are the opening lines of James Gleick’s Isaac Newton and they are words I wish I had written, for they convey, at least to me, a real sense of the human Isaac, the man and also genius who stood not merely above the world, he also struggled within it.

But here is another version of Isaac, from the Twitter feed of Neil deGrasse Tyson Christmas 2014:

On this day long ago, a child was born who, by age 30, would transform the world. Happy Birthday Isaac Newton b. Dec 25, 1642

It has, of course, been re-Tweeted over the past years. In fact, in this Facebook note deGrasse Tyson himself remarks on the magnitude of this phenomenon.  And yet, if Tyson’s intention was to truly honor Sir Isaac, who was indeed born on Christmas (according to Julian the calendar kept by England at the time) and whose anuus mirabilis or years of wonder, did occur prior to his 30th birthday, then why does it ring so differently in tone to Glieck’s opening lines?  I grant that this is a Tweet, an easily and often intentionally misconstrued bit of writing, not something more full or complete such as not a tome, manifesto or credo.  Gleick’s contains more words and is not constructed in Tweet-ese, but to compress it would look something like this:

Inventor of calculus, Newtonian laws, born into darkness and obscurity on Christmas 1642: Happy Birthday Sir Isaac!

Or something similar. Tyson’s, on the other hand, initially conjures or implies–certainly by design?–the birth of Christ, only to effectively mock that birth in the final line.

But Tyson makes no secret of his disbelief in God and because of this disbelief, has no one else to recommend on Christmas but Isaac Newton.  Scientific giant that he was, Newton is not, nor ever will be, able to offer salvation, forgiveness of sins, or eternal life.  Newton did, however, and to a great extent still does, grant us scope for the imagination, confidence in experimentation and discovery, and not least the persistent struggle or effort that a life of worthwhile work cannot hope to disregard.

Newton himself never divorced his discoveries or ideas from his understanding of and reverence for God, and even though he dabbled in the darker arts of alchemy and failed to fully comprehend or accept the Trinity (ironic he attended Trinity College Cambridge), at no point did Newton disavow God and hand over Creation to something impersonal, entirely scientific, or cold.  Despite all of Tyson’s love for Newton (and he has some good love), the comparison Tyson draws in his Tweet cannot be made beyond those he mentions, for it remains true that Newton is dead, buried at Westminster Abbey (interesting link here), a feature he may share with scores of poets and statesmen, but not with Christ.