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Book reviews for "Blamires,_Harry" sorted by average review score:

On Christian truth
Published in Unknown Binding by Servant Books ()
Author: Harry Blamires
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On Christian Truth
I studied "Apologetics (defense of the faith)" as part of my coursework for a Masters degree in Christian Ministry and Renewal in the mid 1980s. This was one of three texts used in the course, and was an outstanding work. Harry Blamires, we were informed, would often do public square appearances where he would welcome open dialogue about Catholic apologetics. This piqued our interest in what he had to say, and this book said it well. It was neatly organized, and used a common sense approach to make his points, and not lofty, hard-to-digest theological text. He obviously tried to capture how he would speak to those he engaged in discussion! The book contains such issues as: does God exist, the role of the Church, the role of Mary, and more. A few years ago, a neighbor's son, who was a student at the University of Georgia, had to do a book report on defending the existence of God, and asked me if I had a book he could use. I loaned him this text, and he used Harry Blamires' arguments to the max -- and "Aced" the report! For other similar texts, you might read: "Catholic and Christian," by Dr. Alan Schreck, and "Theology for Beginners," by Frank Sheed.

The New Bloomsday Book: A Guide Through Ulysses
Published in Hardcover by Routledge (September, 1996)
Author: Harry Blamires
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Just the right amount of information
Sure. You can read ULYSSES without a guide, but why? There's so much that even Joyce himself couldn't catch if he hadn't written the book. There are many forward references. I'm reminded of an advertisement Bloom finds in one of the early chapters. The address is encoded with all sorts of information that Joyce hasn't yet disclosed. Blamires explains a lot of this for you. Well, who's to say what "a lot" is when talking of ULYSSES. OK, he explains some of it.

As noted in another review, one of the satisfying things about THE NEW BLOOMSDAY BOOK is that it doesn't give away all the fun stuff. Which leads me to my recommendation on how to use it. For the first half of the book, I read the episode and then read Blamires. This, I think, is the usual way.

Then I tried to read Blamires first. What a difference. My fear, and maybe yours, is that reading Blamires first will be a spoiler. Well, when you a finish an episode and don't know what has happened there's really nothing to spoil. I recommend reading Blamires first. Armed with the knowledge of what to look for you can discover the ingenious ways Joyce tells the story.

Again, Blamires just gives you the essentials. There will still be plenty of thrills if you read the episode after reading Blamires.

Next to Grifford's work, a great aide
A line-by-line running narrative to the text. Great for those chapters (Oxen in the Sun) for when you haven't a clue as to even the storyline.

Joyce's Choice
Harry Blamires lucrative trade in minors sold by poor families and forced to read James Joyce's Ulysses. Benin Social and Women's Affairs Minister Ramatou Baba-Moussa told Reuters that she believed there were 180 children reading Ulysses, which had been taught in Benin classrooms three weeks ago.

The Christian Mind: How Should a Christian Think
Published in Audio Cassette by Blackstone Audiobooks (January, 1996)
Authors: Harry Blamires and Nadia May
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He's baaaack!
After tackling Ulysses, Blamires returns to release his pungent chemical warfare upon the world. There was no child labor involved in this particular book, and bravo for that! but I did hear that animals *were* harmed in the making of this polemic. Somebody get PETA on the phone! Harry's been a bad boy again!

to read, or do origami... that is the question.
Here is a book which I can unreservedly recommend to anyone who is currently thinking about how they should think. Of course, Blamires (pronounced "the choirs") is addressing himself mainly to the Christian reader, but ALL readers can benefit from this exclusively Christian author who is honest enough to begin his book with the words... "There is no longer a Christian mind." If you have ever wondered why Christian "thought" seems increasingly irrelevant, read this book and find out many of the reasons why your hunch is PERHAPS justified. I started to fold back the top corner of pages that I found especially illuminating, until I realized that I might as well just fold up the entire book. (see title of this review).

The author's call for the recovery of the authentic Christian mind is not a call for the abolition of, nor even the belittling of, the secular mind. It is a call for the critical understanding of the difference between the two. This difference forms the fundamental premise of the book, which is thus: "To think secularly is to think within a frame of reference bounded by the limits of our life here on earth: it is to keep one's calculations rooted in this-worldly criteria. To think christianly is to accept all things with the mind as related, directly or indirectly, to man's eternal destiny as the redeemed and chosen child of God."

I especially appreciated the fact that Blamires posits a form of critical thinking that is predominantly POSITIVE. He legitamizes the need for examination of world views (in literature for instance) which the Christian may disagree with or even abhor, but laments the lack of current Christian dialogue regarding these views. There are issues in the human situation which may touch us pre-eminently "as a Christian" but the tragedy is that too often the only way we can pursue these currents of thought is by "more reading of non-Christian literature written by skeptics, and by discussion of it within the intellectual frame of reference which these skeptics have manufactured." This is sad and regettable, because the eternal perspective of the Christian mind is meant to challenge secular thinking, not be undermined by it. But how will it challenge, if it refuses to think? Be assured that the secular mindset will not hesitate to fill such a void. Indeed, from the first sentence onward, Blamires shows that we are living in a time when such temporal thinking prevails. Even so, the book has much POSITIVE to say to those who choose (at some point) to understand the nature of Christian truth as being objective, authoritative, unshakable, and God-given.

Must read for closet Christians
I was introduced to Blamires from his work on James Joyce's Ulysses. I figured anyone that could bring the clarity he did to Joyce's work is worth reading. I was not disappointed.

Blamires work is a self-examination. Throughout the book, I found myself saying; "That's me." I remember a reporter asking Mother Theresa why she bothered with people that are only going to be dead in a few hours. Without a blink, she answered, "They will live for eternity."

Blamires does not attack the secular mind (not in this work, anyway) he just shows how Christians have been conditioned to think secularly, to their lost.

Blamires work is clear and extremely well written. The reader will quickly see the influence of C.S. Lewis.

The Post Christian Mind: Exposing Its Destructive Agenda
Published in Paperback by Vine Books (May, 1999)
Authors: Harry Blamires and J. I. Packer
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Singularly Unimpressive
I know that if Blamires were to read this, he would want to accuse me of having a "post-Christian" mind, but I finished this book with a sense of discomfort and was not convinced that he wrote a book that was effective in analyzing our Western culture. Its not that I don't sympathize greatly with his points; indeed, the attack on the concept of family, the moral decay of society, etc. are discouraging at best and even frightening.

Nonetheless, Blamires style, instead of coming off as a "wise uncle" as J.I. Packer says, he sounds like a grumpy old man. Amidst some adequate attacks on the post-christain mind, Blamires fondly recalls the Victorian era, mourns the lack of using the King James Bible and the awful "pop-music" that pervades worship in the church today. To him, these are "given by God to English speaking people". Indeed, I am often frustrated by the desire to "modernize" music merely for the sake of attracting youth. But his simplification of what is happening here is far from accurate. This is by no means the sole reason why, for example, some music is made to sound more modern. Did he ever consider that the hymns he loves so dearly (again, as do I) were derived from "popular" tunes of the day? Moreover, some were based on the tunes of bar-songs, but given religious music! Moreover, those who started the writing of the King James Bible at the time were doing something very new and avant garde, precisely for the point of appealing to people who could not read the originals or Latin. As a Reformer, does he no know that his beliefs come from a host of "rebellious" thinkers who turned the theological world upside-down? Again, this is not to say that change for its own purpose is worthwhile; at the same time, change in itself is not always based on some "post-Christian plot" that Blamires so often makes it seem in this writing.

Aside from his anecdotal meandering and lack of point (I did not understand his point in the "Compassion" chapter, for example) the final issue I have with this book is that it is profoundly centred on morality without hardly mentioning the name of Christ! Moreover, few biblical passages are referred to; instead, it comes off sounding like a yearning for "the old times" or, as Blamires refers to it so often, "the times of our grandparents." Let us not forget that, for many of us, the times of our grandparents were the times of the First and/or Second World Wars. Things are not as clear as Blamires contends. Indeed, Tash is not Aslan, but Queen Victoria was no Aslan either.

The Emperor Has No Clothes!
Blamires' concluding words tell the whole story, "The sea of faith is being contaminated by the great oil slick of media innuendo, insult and misrepresentation. A vast campaign is needed to clean up the mess." Just like beach contamination requires an organized army of volunteers to clean up. Christians need an army of voices who will say, "The emperor has no clothes!"

The world believes it's clothed in the splendor of human achievement and progress. We need to speak up and point out how our culture stands naked and ought to feel ashamed. Blamires points out just how far the post-Christian mind has gone.

Particularly poignant are some of the later chapters on 'Freedom of Expression,''Back-to-Nature,' and 'Denigration of Christians.' When Blamires reveals the mindset of critics who laud the hedonistic lifestyle of Oscar Wilde, and decry Gerard Manley Hopkins' foray into the Jesuits, he provides a stark picture of post-Christian values.

J.I. Packer, in the forward, likens Blamire's book to Chesterton's writing. Certain aspects do make the work seem like a later-day _Orthodoxy_, but Blamires lacks the biting sarcasm and the interesting quips that Chesterton pulled off in his critique of Western Civilization at the turn of the previous century. Still, his examples and stories weave a compelling contrast between post-Christian thought and the Christian mind that hold the reader's attention and make for a quick read.

The single weakness appeared to be his chapter on 'Economic Freedom.' He began to dig into issues behind commercialism, but did not continue to dig and left the reader at the surface level wishing he had scratched his thinking down a few more levels through the scrabble and into the stratigraphy below. Michael Novak tackles these economic issues at a deeper level whereas Blamires seems to have overlooked some obvious possibilities. He pretty much resigned us to being slaves to Madison Avenue but failed to consider that we can take a page out of the Amish book and ignore modern media altogether. He did not offer the consideration that Christians buy generic, unadvertised products or form cooperatives and manufacture and sell products that he decries as inflating costs through mindless, post-Christian advertising. He also ignores the possibility of increasing consequences for theft at the end of this chapter.

Despite the one chapter, the book is well worth acquiring and contemplating. You cannot go wrong by an expenditure of time on this work. If anything, it may be the deciding factor in mustering the courage to stand up and tell others, "The emperor has no clothes!"

Thnkstarter for Post-Christian Words
Blamires attacks the word abuse which our Post-modern culture uses as a main weapon to deconstruct and decompose the Judeo-Christian world of the past.

Using the family, rights, morality, values, new over old, etc., he masterfully brings our attention and focus back to where it should be: not idly passing over quickly words. Slow down, stop and ponder what is being said.

This book aids in helping us do this. His views on advertising and insurance in the "economic freedom" section are naive. Advertising can not be charged as he tries with adding to the cost of items, rather it keeps products and service costs down. Consider a Christian congregation as but one small example: say that on the average, each member contributes $500/per year, and the average life membership is ten years. Thus, the average contributions the congregation receives per member is 10 years X $500, or $5,000. So, let's say that for one year the congregation spends $2,500 on advertising, and they know for fact that as a result of that effort, one new member was received, who subsequently brought four of the family members into active membership as well that year. Thus, the $2,500 brought in revenue of (using averages) 5 members X $500/year X 10 years, or total average contributions of $25,000. All of this, $25,000 for an expenditure of $2,500. And any marketing executive will tell you the exposure value is there too, and some of it will stretch out for years. Thus, to say simply that each members of the congregation had to pay for $2,500 using some forumula of Number of members divided by Advertising Budget, is non-sense.

Apply this to consumer/industrial markets, and you will find that advertising brings customers/producers together, thus spreading some significant costs over larger customer base, thus reducting cost per unit. Take away advertising, cost per unit will go up. It's supply and demand, which Blamires doesn't seem to consider at all.

His insurance argument about robbers increasing theft is bogus. I would assume insurance industry experts could easily refute his argument, since the drug crisis causes much theft, not the fact that insurance coverage allows thieves some peace of mind that their victims will be covered.

Otherwise, I enjoyed this read and found ample advice. On this same theme of abuse of words, see on pro-life "Who Broke the Baby?" and more profound survey of post-modern mindset, the excellent primer: Postmodern Times by Gene Veith.

Cassell Guide to Common Errors in English
Published in Hardcover by Cassell Academic (May, 1998)
Author: Harry Blamires
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Another reviewer refers to this book's "facts". Facts??? Whose "facts" would those be? The facts according to WHOM? (Phew, narrowly escaped a grammatical error, there). There may indeed be some fascinating and interesting bits of information peppered throughout the book, but the overall thrust leaves me with no doubt that Blamires's (I put the extra "s" in there to appease those of the "proper English" ilk) understanding of language is seriously deficient.

The assumption underlying Blamires' nitpicking guide to supposed "errors" is that language ought to follow a pre-existing set of rules and conventions in order to be "correct". The result is that Blamires can claim that all kinds of sentence constructions and word-usages are "wrong", even if only a handful of speakers of everyday English follow the "rules". An example of this pretentious and nonsensical approach to language is found on the very first page, on which Blamires castigates those who use "able" and "ability" in reference to non-humans. What??? Does the fact that just about any native speaker of English uses "able" and "ability" in this way have no bearing on it? If the answer is "no", what then does have a bearing on it? Some magical platonic principle of language use?

Most of Blamires' (hee-hee, snuck that misuse of the apostrophe in there) examples seem to rely on an appeal to some unwritten rule of which most English-speakers are evidently ignorant. This being the case, what ancient unwritten (and unprovable) rule could possibly be more important than the facts of everyday, common usage? Blamires is clearly living in cloud-cuckoo land. Whatever language he is trying to defend, it is clearly not the English language with which any of us are familiar.

Well presented facts
This is the enthusiasts book that exposes common errors in current English usage, and shows how to avoid them. Containing a host of grammatical blunders (some obvious, some less so) and examples that highlight the problems.

My favorite (being my own pet hate, and the one that even top writers fail to understand) is the use of which, or that... The grasscutter which is in the garage is the better one... OR The grasscutter that is in the garage is the better one.

In fact the two sentences have two different menings... The grasscutter, which is in the garage, is the better one:: simply tells you where the grasscutter is.

The grasscutter that is in the garage is the better one:: differentiates between this particular grasscutter and another one (which may, for example, be in the back yard).

Okay, so that was just one of many, but Cassell Guide to Common Errors in English is a great guide to all manner of pitfalls, and Harry Blamires (who also wrote "The Queen's English") makes an excellent guide.

Christian Mind: How Should Christians Think
Published in Paperback by Servant Publications (June, 1980)
Authors: Harry Blamires and Harry Blamires
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Cold War in Hell
Published in Paperback by Thomas Nelson (October, 1984)
Author: Harry Blamires
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Correcting Your English - the Essential Companion to Written English
Published in Paperback by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (April, 1996)
Author: Harry Blamires
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The Devil's Hunting Grounds
Published in Paperback by Thomas Nelson (October, 1984)
Author: Harry Blamires
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A Guide to Twentieth Century Literature in English
Published in Hardcover by Routledge Kegan & Paul (December, 1983)
Author: Harry Blamires
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