DAY 10

December 3rd, 2012 § 0 comments











The Trinity                                                           St Jacob’s Church, Nablus

These pictures are simply here to recall Nablus to me; snd to any of you who know it. If there’s a point, it’s that the church (pictured) is supposed to be on the site of ‘Jacob’s Well’; and the Orthodox priest who I met there three years ago had spent many years restoring it – and decorating it with the icons which any Orthodox church ought to have. Including a very good copy (I took a photo, but it was no good) of the Andrei Rublev trinity, which I’ve reproduced on the left. If you remember, the trinity are identified with the three angels who visited Abraham, and are in some sense responsible for the whole mess – promising him land, innumerable descendants, and so on.

So, if you’re lucky enough to go to Nablus, the scene of the film Paradise Now, do check out the martyr posters, the monuments, the buildings which were destroyed in the IDF siege of April-May 2002, and (if he’s still there) the terrific baklava seller just before the Huwara checkpoint. But don’t miss the church, the well (yes, it’s still there, just as Jacob and Jesus left it if you believe what you’re told), and the paintings.

Changing the subject for once, my researches drew to my attention an antique (2008) Catholic blog to the effect that you can hack an Oyster card. This is of interest to us math/capitalism people (hi there), since the works of the Oyster is something called an RFID tag which (to cut a long story short) carries encrypted information e.g. how much credit there is on the card; and transmits it by radio to the reader.

The maths involved seems rather simple, i.e. huge equations, rather than elliptic curves over finite fields which most people favour – I’ll get onto these and their uses later if I can find out enough, and if there’s a sufficient demand. So a reasonably motivated math undergraduate should be able to to follow the link to the original paper above, and find her own hack for the Oyster. And it’s less dangerous than making your own crystal meth as chemists do.

Back to Abraham and the Trinity, though: here’s a poem I didn’t know:

Abraham by Edwin Muir (Date?)
The rivulet-loving wanderer Abraham
Through waterless wastes tracing his fields of pasture
Led his Chaldean herds and fattening flocks
With the meandering art of wavering water
That seeks and finds, yet does not know its way.
He came, rested and prospered, and went on,
Scattering behind him little pastoral kingdoms,
And over each one its own particular sky,
Not the great rounded sky through which he journeyed,
That went with him but when he rested changed.
His mind was full of names
Learned from strange peoples speaking alien tongues,
And all that was theirs one day he would inherit.
He died content and full of years, though still
The Promise had not come, and left his bones,
Far from his father’s house, in alien Canaan.

Staying with the power of the old imagery – I’d thought of attaching Desmond Dekker’s ‘Israelite’, but perhaps more poignant is the Melodians’ wonderful ‘Rivers of Babylon‘ from The Harder they Come.

Getting much too nostalgic. A last reminder, from Brecht: ‘Don’t start from the good old things, but the bad new ones.’

It’s my hope at least to look at the good old things in a bad new light.









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