Log24

Friday, February 20, 2004

Friday February 20, 2004

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 12:00 AM

The Da Vinci Code
and
Symbology at Harvard

The protagonist of the recent bestseller The Da Vinci Code is Robert Langdon, "a professor of Religious Symbology at Harvard University."  A prominent part in the novel is played by the well-known Catholic organization Opus Dei.  Less well known (indeed, like Langdon, nonexistent) is the academic discipline of "symbology."  (For related disciplines that do exist, click here.) What might a course in this subject at Harvard be like?

Harvard Crimson, April 10, 2003:

While Opus Dei members said that they do not refer to their practices of recruitment as "fishing," the Work’s founder does describe the process of what he calls "winning new apostles" with an aquatic metaphor.

Point #978 of The Way invokes a passage in the New Testament in which Jesus tells Peter that he will make him a "fisher of men." The point reads:

" ‘Follow me, and I will make you into fishers of men.’ Not without reason does our Lord use these words: men—like fish—have to be caught by the head. What evangelical depth there is in the ‘intellectual apostolate!’ ”

IMAGE- Escher, 'Fishes and Scales'

IMAGE- Cullinane, 'Invariance'

Exercise for Symbology 101:

Describe the symmetry
in each of the pictures above.
Show that the second picture
retains its underlying structural
symmetry under a group of
322,560 transformations.

Having reviewed yesterday's notes
on Gombrich, Gadamer, and Panofsky,
discuss the astrological meaning of
the above symbols in light of
today's date, February 20.

Extra credit:

Relate the above astrological
symbolism to the four-diamond
symbol in Jung's Aion.

Happy metaphors!

Robert Langdon

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