Reflections as a World Music Ensemble Director – Part 2

Picking up from where I left off last time, there are many more memorable events and songs from the last two years. One of my favorite moments is when I somehow got members of the Silk Road Ensemble (an ensemble founded by Yo Yo Ma which specializes in playing music from along the Silk Road and … Continue reading “Reflections as a World Music Ensemble Director – Part 2”

Reflections as a World Music Ensemble Director

Some of you might have noticed in my homepage that I list myself as music director of the Dudley World Music Ensemble at Harvard. Well, in about a week, I’ll be leading my final concert in that role before stepping down and handing the reins to the brilliant Eric Puma. (For more details of this … Continue reading “Reflections as a World Music Ensemble Director”

Reading Walton’s Views on Genesis, Part 4: Reworking Inerrancy

The third and final book of John Walton’s Lost World trilogy, The Lost World of Scripture (LWS), expands its scope from reading the first few chapters of Genesis to the whole Bible. Written together with New Testament (NT) specialist D. Brett Sandy, the book sets forth a more enlightened understanding of what biblical inerrancy should mean. There are … Continue reading “Reading Walton’s Views on Genesis, Part 4: Reworking Inerrancy”

What Does Day-To-Day Work Have To Do With God?

(Originally written for YMI of Our Daily Bread Ministries. I have talked about the scientific aspects ACME experiment several times in this blog. This piece gives a few glimpses into the personal and especially spiritual side of the life of a graduate student on the experiment. It explains why I feel working on ACME to be … Continue reading “What Does Day-To-Day Work Have To Do With God?”

Gibbon, Part 15: The Fall of Constantinople and the End of the Roman Empire

We have finally arrived at the last stage of the history of the Roman Empire: the ultimate fall of the capital of the Byzantine empire, from which the Byzantine royalty was never to rise up again. It has taken me over two months (from June to now) to come to this point. Reading Gibbon is … Continue reading “Gibbon, Part 15: The Fall of Constantinople and the End of the Roman Empire”

Gibbon, Part 14: The Last Centuries of the Roman Empire

As we saw in the previous post, the events of the Fourth Crusade could have completely annihilated the Byzantine empire, if not for the efforts of Theodore Lascaris. Through the lucky bravery of this man, who was not even a member of the ruling Comneni by blood, the complete elimnation of the declining empire was delayed for another … Continue reading “Gibbon, Part 14: The Last Centuries of the Roman Empire”

Gibbon, Part 13: The Crusades and the Division of the Byzantine Empire

At the end of the 10th century, when Pope Urban launched the first Crusade (1095), the Byzantine Empire had stood firm for centuries. Despite its declining territories, armies, and influence, the Empire still had brief periods of resurgence (such as that under the Comneni) and Constantinople’s immense opulence, wealth, and luxury glittered unopposed among all the … Continue reading “Gibbon, Part 13: The Crusades and the Division of the Byzantine Empire”

Gibbon, Part 12: The Other Nations

In the first 10 chapters of Volume III, Gibbon addresses the rise and progress of other nations across Europe, Asia, and Africa during the second half of the first millenium. I will mostly skip the rise of the Bulgarians, Turks, and the fate of the Paulician heretics, as their stories are not that interesting to … Continue reading “Gibbon, Part 12: The Other Nations”

Gibbon, Part 11: The Byzantine Empire for the Next 600 Years

Heraclius reigned from 610 to 641. By this time, the Roman Empire was more aptly called (as it is by modern historians) as the Byzantine empire, only owning small slivers of Italy and with its court mainly speaking Greek instead of Latin. After the greatness of Justinian and the thrilling victories of Heraclius, the Eastern Empire … Continue reading “Gibbon, Part 11: The Byzantine Empire for the Next 600 Years”

Gibbon, Part 10: Justinian’s Successors and Heraclius’ Victory

Justin II Justinian, who was childless, was succeeded by his favorite nephew Justin. Justin II began his reign with optimistic speeches promising to correct the mistakes of Justinian and revive the office of the consul. Shortly after, the new emperor received a embassy of the Avars, who had been erstwhile allies of Justinian, although their relationship … Continue reading “Gibbon, Part 10: Justinian’s Successors and Heraclius’ Victory”