When Your Chickens Eat Your Potatoes
April 5, 2017

“Aegis-bearing Zeus has a design for each occasion, and mortals find this hard to comprehend.” Hesiod, Works and Days Last Saturday I was just able to finish planting my potatoes before dark. It was so satisfying. While my father and I always planted potatoes by burying them under several inches of soil, […]

Wednesday Quotes
Time to Plow Again
May 18, 2016

“Remember the time has come to plow again.” Hesiod, Works and Days Something deep within us stirs. We feel that spring should be more than just different weather outside. Sure it changes how we dress; and now we have to mow the lawn. Baseball season returns, and flowers bloom. Yet we sense […]

Wednesday Quotes
Peace, The Nurse of Children
September 23, 2015

“But those who… follow justice… live in a city that blossoms, a city that prospers. Then youth-nurturing peace comes over the land…” Hesiod, Works and Days Peace. The very word speaks to a longing in the human heart. Given how much we all desire it, it is strange how little true peace is […]

Wednesday Quotes
The Festivity of the Just
September 16, 2015

“Men whose justice is straight know neither hunger nor ruin, but amid feasts enjoy the yield of their labors.” Hesiod, Works and Days Festivity. The word brings longing to the heart; we find ourselves wondering where it can be found. In describing a flourishing society Hesiod points especially to the festivity of […]

Wednesday Quotes
When Children Resemble Their Fathers
September 9, 2015

“Fleecy sheep are weighed down with wool, and women bear children who resemble their fathers.”  Hesiod, Works and Days In describing “a city that prospers,” Hesiod points to something rather unexpected: that “women bear children who resemble their fathers.” We find ourselves wondering what he means. Won’t children always resemble their fathers […]

Wednesday Quotes
When Scoundrels are Honored
September 2, 2015

“The man who keeps his oath, or is just and good, will not be favored, but the evildoers and scoundrels will be honored…” Hesiod, Works and Days Whom do we as a people honor? Aristotle once asserted that a nation will produce the kind of men that it honors. There is much […]

Wednesday Quotes
When Hospitality Vanishes
August 26, 2015

“…and there will be no affection between guest and host.” Hesiod, Works and Days Ancient Greek literature reveals a striking practice of hospitality. We would do well to consider what is implied in this practice. When a host welcomes someone—sometimes even a stranger, he lays bare the most intimate space of his […]

Wednesday Quotes
When Shame Vanishes
August 19, 2015

“… shame will vanish.” Hesiod, Works and Days Hesiod gives a remarkable description of a degenerate culture by pointing to several of its hallmark characteristics. This one is particularly chilling. “Shame” for the Greeks refers to a crucial human passion: one that recoils from what is wicked or indecent. The feeling of shame is rooted […]

Wednesday Quotes
Bad Neighbors are Pests
August 12, 2015

“Bad neighbors are pests, good ones a blessing. A good neighbor is a boon to him who has one. If your neighbor is honest, your ox is safe.” Hesiod, Works and Days We would do well to think in terms of neighbors: who they are, and how to be one. There are […]

Wednesday Quotes
Working, For a Living
July 8, 2015

“The gods keep livelihood hidden from men. Otherwise a day’s labor could bring man enough to last a whole year with no more work.” Hesiod, Works and Days In both biblical and ancient Greek accounts, work is something of an enigma. Having an aspect of punishment, it is nevertheless a blessing and a […]