The Rare Book Room

Did you know John Chrysostom was an early Church Father of Constantinople? Did you know he was called Chrysostom because he was such a good speaker?

Just try saying Chrysostom. “Chrys-os-tom.” Don’t you feel like a great speaker? Chrysostom essentially means golden-mouthed. It is a combination of two Greek words.

I learned this awhile back when I visited Powell’s Rare Book Room in Portland. I had picked up a theology book from the 1800s and came to this knowledge about Mr. Golden-Mouth himself. Just now I learned you can come to that same knowledge by looking at Wikipedia. But that takes all the fun out of it. What’s the story now? I was curious, so I clicked on Wikipedia. Wow. Amazing.

So let’s go back to the Rare Book Room for a minute. While I was there, I saw a set of books worth $350,000. It’s the complete volume set of Lewis and Clark’s expedition (along with the friendly Sacagawea of course). The Rare Book Room also had a book that was printed in 1480 (Josephus’ The Jewish War), but I missed it. I had picked up a book from the 1700s instead. I was trying to read it, but it was in Latin, so I didn’t make it very far. Then, I picked up a book from the 1800s. It was about education. I skim-read a chapter and at the end, I found a nugget. It said, “Happy is the man who can preserve activity without the excitement of ambition.”

Wise words.

Published by omerdylanredden

I write.

4 thoughts on “The Rare Book Room

  1. i so need to get down to the rose city to check out Powell’s. it will happen. i’ve only heard wonderfully, good things about the establishment. 🙂

  2. When that man dies his death will have the significance of a falling leaf in autumn. On that note who is happy when working a dead-end job to pay the bills? Maybe I just don’t understand the quote.

    1. I’ll briefly explain how I interpreted the quote. The author seemed to be saying that activity is a good thing, even noble. After all, we were designed to do work. But many times, ambition gets in the way. Our ambition can corrupt good activity. Why? Because ambition is never satisfied. Basically our work or activity is no longer enjoyable because now we need more recognition, more affirmation, more compensation, more praise. Ambition means we need MORE.

      Does that help?

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