May Quick Takes

A combination of factors leads me to write this Quick Takes article: 1) it’s been a long time since I’ve written anything here; 2) I’m rather ill; and 3) because I am rather ill, my ability to focus has gone down the tubes.  Some of these points deserve their own article.  At any rate, let me begin.





Arslan Senki reminded me of the curious fact that non-believers often try to paint God like Allah.  What brings up the comparison?  The high priest of the Lusitanian religion decides to torture the captured Lord Shapur to death and remarks how unbelievers deserve this.  Then, Lord Shapur gamely defies the high priest by saying that he hopes to see him burning in hell with his evil god.  I am forcibly reminded of a scene from Muhammad’s life, where he kills all the pagan Arabs he captures after a battle–the last pleading for his life for the sake of his only daughter–and then burns the bodies of the slain.  Muhammad then remarks that the smoke of burning heretics is pleasing to Allah.

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This is not how God really is!  But, how much easier is it to offend God when one imagines Him to be cruel and merciless?  How much easier to contemn the idea of God when God appears so unchristian?  One can see how an atheist feels superior to God when he has such a wrongheaded view of the divine!  When one realizes how loving and merciful God is in truth, the remembrance of sins instead makes one feel lower than an insect.  Rather than wish to exact vengeance on us, God is more concerned with how much sin harms us than how sin offends His majesty.


I hit upon another gem in Space Pirate Captain Harlock.  Here’s a show where it is easy to pick out Christian themes–the first article on which you shall see on Wednesday.  However, unlike Ashita no Joe, I’m not entirely sure its author derives from a Christian background.  Crosses appear quite frequently, and Harlock can be surprisingly meek.  (Remember Our Lord’s words: “Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.”)  Also, the final line of the opening song is very reminiscent of the Gospel: “Inochi wo sutete, ore wa ikiru” or “Throwing away my life, I live.”  One is easily reminded of Luke 17:33: “Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.”  However, a priest once told us that this is one of the lines of the Gospels which are easier for a citizen of the Far East to understand than for a Westerner.  Perhaps, the author of Captain Harlock is a Buddhist or Taoist who found certain of his principles bolstered by reading Scripture?  It’s possible!

Christ and St. John


Reading Philo is very interesting.  I have not touched ancient Philosophy unfiltered by a modern author for too long.  Philo’s very familiar with Pythagoras, Plato, and various Pre-Socratics, whose ideas he uses to help illuminate passages from Scripture.  As the medievals said, philosophia ancilla theologiae–“Philosophy is the handmaid of theology.”  As a further bonus, one finds awesome parallels between Philo’s thought and the Gospel of John.  St. John the Evangelist was obviously a first rate intellectual.



My watch list at present is going all over the place.  You can look at it here: Medieval Otaku/Canute’s watch list.  I really need to add Knights of Sidonia to that list soon.


Found some fun videos on YouTube.  Take a look at them.


This is something one doesn’t hear about every day.  The actor Michael Enright had enough of hearing about all the atrocities committed by ISIS and decided to join Kurdish forces to fight them!  Just when I thought that actors lacked guts these days.


Yomiko Readman, everyone’s favorite bookworm



Umm…I just purchased the Barnes & Nobles editions of the complete works of Shakespeare and complete Sherlock Holmes.  Barnes & Nobles is having a sale whereby one buys one edition and gets the second one half off.  A very good deal.  Now, I’m completely out of ideas and should go to bed.  Pray for me and other sick persons you know.  God bless!

20 comments on “May Quick Takes

  1. Jo-Shu says:

    I read a bunch of Philo for school last year, and yes, there are definitely connections between him and the Gospel of John (like the logos). You have a neat blog, you know that? Where else can you find anime and Philo on the same page?


    • Thank you very much! My interests go all over the place, which does help.

      Philo’s idea of the logos is perhaps the greatest link between him and St. John. In Philo’s Allegorical Interpretations, he also remarks that there exists a general virtue, which he calls goodness and is symbolized by the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden. This virtue of goodness allows for one to gain the cardinal virtues. I think that St. John borrows this idea from Philo and refines it in his understanding of charity. That’s the most interesting new connection I’ve found at the moment. Hopefully, I’ll be able to elucidate this idea more when I write an article on those writings. 🙂


  2. This reminds me, I should get myself one of these complete works of Shakespeare’s sets too. Get well soon!

    PS: nice videos


    • Thanks! I especially loved watching the Albion Knecht do it’s work. (A rather ironic name since the grosse messer is a peasant weapon.) And, the only problems with the Shakespeare edition is that it’s not annotated and the text is rather small. Those things don’t bother me, but I know that I’ll be looking words up every few pages.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. David A says:

    I hope you’ll get better soon.

    About that Arslan scene, I was reading a bit about it. The show seems to be based in Persian history. Are these armors and uniforms depicted in the screenshots accurate?

    These characters worship the gnostic Demiurge with a name they used. They gave that name and designation to God in the Old Testament (they rejected the OT and attributed it to a lesser deity), but their deity was the Monad, Aion Teleos, not the Demiurge, from what I’ve read about the topic. So, these characters mentioning their deity with that name… hmmm, there are some options. The author was pulling names from that time period or subsequent centuries, or, he was implying that monotheists from that time and place were worshipping a lesser deity.


    • I have little idea what armor the Persians wore. I know that Herodotus claimed that the Spartans at the Battle of Plataea held off superior numbers of Persians because the Persians fought unarmored. I myself doubt that they had no forms of armor, but this suggests that they used leather and linen armor at the time (479 BC). Chainmail was invented by the Celts sometime in the next century and eventually filtered down to the Mediterranean world. So, the presence of chainmail in these pictures is likely ahistorical, while the lamellar (overlapping plates) are more likely. All the same, I admire how they were able to animate chainmail into the show using an almost Gankutsuou-esque technique. 🙂

      That’s pretty interesting what you wrote on the topic of the (Lusitanian?) deity. I know that there was not the same understanding of monotheism in the ancient world. The Hebrews gradually moved from the idea that their God was the greatest god (Henotheism) to the only God (Monotheism). The Persian Zoroaster made the shocking discovery (at least to the people of his time) that there was only one God and the rest were demons. Interestingly, I don’t remember any of the Parsians calling upon Ahura Mazda, which would be the deity of the Persian religion.


      • David A says:

        Then, is possible that these images were intended to evoke popular conceptions about the Middle Ages and Inquisitions.

        Henotheism? how much from that is revisionism, and how much is fact?

        The Zoroastrist pantheon included other deities as Angels, like Mithras (I think that deity is mentioned in the show). Also, he proposed two gods, one good, and other evil. According to some variations, there is another one above these two.

        But from what I know, the gnostic Demiurge wasn’t worshipped as a supreme deity with that name.


      • It might be intended to invoke ideas about the Middle Ages. Can’t say for sure at the moment.

        Henotheism, from reading the OT myself and reading scholars’ opinions, seems to be a fact. Revelation is always progressive. In the Psalms, one sees a movement from God being the greatest of the gods through the other gods being utterly useless to God being the only God.

        And you’re right. The Zoroastrian pantheon is rather dualistic, except that its mythology does (at least, according to descriptions I have read) posit the ultimate victory of the Good God. But, the account of Zoroaster as Wikipedia gives it (I’m not much of an authority on this religion 🙂 ) does make him seem like a monotheist. I’ll have to do some more reading on the topic one day.


  4. David A says:

    Maybe in next episodes more could be shown to understand the intent of the author with the Lusitanians and their deity.

    I think that other gods could be references to angels and demons. I’ve read something about the topic, but I don’t trust some directions Biblical study has taken after the 50’s – 60’s.

    Zoroastrism, gnosticism, and misteric cults are some of the topics I used to study a lot years ago- These religions shared some deities and concepts, and the pagan competitors to Christianism mixed these in new cults.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. MIB says:

    I gave up on Arslan Senki after about three or four epsiodes. I just couldn’t get into it and nothing was sticking. 😦

    Get well soon! 🙂


    • Arslan Senki keeps me interested because of the warring cultures and the battles. If one’s looking for complex characters or plot, I can see why many more shows would be preferable to Arslan Senki. Not to say that the characters are poorly written, just rather simple and straightforward.

      Thanks! I’m just about over this illness.


      • MIB says:

        It wasn’t so much about complex characters, it was that there were to many of them! Plus with so much going on and the focus literally leaping from one situation to another I got lost as to who was what and where and why.

        If this was something I could marathon I’d probably get it but on a weekly basis, and with so many other shows on the go this was just a blur to me. :-\


      • Yeah, this is a much better show for marathon watching. I must confess that I only remember about three or four of the characters’ names at the moment. But, the action is cool, and I can’t wait to see what stratagems the eccentric artist devises to win Arslan back his kingdom.


  6. jubilare says:

    I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been ill! I hope you are recovered, or quickly recovering.


  7. […] Medieval Otaku sees a parallel between how the Christian God is depicted like Allah by non-Christians and a scene in Arslan Senki and wonders if the creator of Space Pirate Captain Harlock has some knowledge of scripture. [Medieval Otaku] […]


  8. David A says:

    Haven’t watched Arslan Senki yet.

    The more I read about it, the more I think that they were referencing OT Jews and Chrsitians with the Lusitanian people. If that is true, then it was very tasteless to have that name for their Deity.


    • The Lusitanians wear the Orthodox Patriarchal cross on their surcoats. They remind me of Northern Abolitionists prior to the American Civil War, and if the author intended to reference that group’s attitude, she does so very well. Basically, the Lusitanians are complete villains, and the similarities between their religion and ours limit themselves to the cross symbol and their monotheism.


      • David A says:

        That detail, plus the name of the deity, -insinuation of following a fake deity-. It would have been better if they had another type of visual design, and another name for the deity, maybe lifted from the persian pantheon or something.


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