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This blog has been silent most of the summer, largely due to my having been on a long road trip up into northern Ontario, then to California to give some papers on emergent order, followed by teaching a workshop in New Mexico. Then I moved into a new place and visited Maine, my favorite part of the east. Not much time even to see friends in the area, let alone blog.
I did manage to read Tom Harpur’s The Pagan Christ, which is a good read until you check whether he can be backed up. He can’t. I was worried at the lack of documentation, and when I went to Amazon to see what some of the people he did cite had written, I found his key authority had no standing in Egyptology, a field central to harpur’s claims. Further, he had written and self-published an astonishing number of books, which I take as a serious danger sign given the difficulty of doing rigorous research in the humanities. As far as I have been able to determine to date, Harpur’s book is very unreliable.
There also seem to be some excellent rebuttals.
I should have found another summer read, or finished Yochai Benkler’s The Wealth of Networks. This is an important book by a leading expert on the web, emergent order, and intellectaul property now teachint Law at Yale. Benkler has made his book available to all who wish to download it from a website. I haven’t finished it yet, the summer was too fragmented and I was distracted by the damn Harpur volume, but Wealth is marvelous so far, as well as being rooted in solid research.