Read-a-long post 1

A group of friends and I have decided to tackle Foucault’s Pendulum together.  We have a target of reading the first 100 pages (roughly the first sixteen chapters) before meeting to talk about it over a couple bottles of wine.

This is where I will keep my notes, so I can come back to them when I inevitably forget everything clever or meaningful when I’m on the spot.

Foucault’s Pendulum, by Umberto Eco is one of those books that I’ve tried to read many times.  I feel good that this time, with friends beside me, I will actually get it done.

Part One – Keter

Chapter One – “When the light of the infinite”

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First mystery: What was the Hebrew passage at the opening of the chapter?

A google image search suggests it is a passage of the Zohar,

a group of books including commentary on the mystical aspects of the Torah … scriptural interpretations as well as material on mysticism, mythical cosmogony, and mystical psychology. The Zohar contains discussions of the nature of God, the origin and structure of the universe, the nature of souls, redemption, the relationship of Ego to Darkness and “true self” to “The Light of God”, and the relationship between the “universal energy” and man.

Were these words from chapter 1, “Tune had begun. Its great pendulum, whose beats are the ages, commenced to vibrate. The era of creation or manifestation had at last arrived.”

Seems reasonable to guess yes, since the entire first chapter seemed to be a meditation on the pendulum hanging in a museum.

Words/terms looked up:

  • panta rei – “Everything flows” from the philosophy of Heraclitius.  Rhei is Greek for stream, which makes me associate this now with Netflix.
  • astigmatic circumference – distorted, misshapen, not round
  • Jacopo Belbo – not a historical figure, simply a character in this book
  • choir, nave, priory – all church related vocabulary. Architectural terms, or in the case of a priory, an entire structure.
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