Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Pick Your Poison 1 (Final)

Thanks to all of you who played. I had fun, I hope you did too.

The Question:
The subject line of my original e-mail, "Out of the Cave," refers to three persons.
A. Who are the three?
B. How does the reference apply to each person?

The Hints:
1. The three people are approximately equally distributed in time over a span of ~950 years.

2. The first and third persons (chronologically) have works that can be purchased on

3. The third person is the first truly Western counterpart to St. Anthony of the Desert (aka St. Anthony the Great to our Orthodox friends).

4. The cave reference is very literal for the second and third persons.

The Rules:
You may use UNLIMITED entries. One point will be awarded for each of the correct answers to A and to B, for a total of six points. First one to six points takes first placee. Second one to six points takes the runner-up, etc. If no one gets six points by the deadline, then the person with the most points wins, with the time of receipt being the tie-breaker; person with the second-most points is the runner-up, with the time of receipt being the tie-breaker, etc. If one person obtains six points, then the contest will remain open until a second person reaches six points, or the deadline passes, whichever comes first, with the person with the second-most points being the runner-up. I will respond to each entry (privately) and notify you which parts are correct and which are incorrect. I might even give private clues to those who respond. Therefore, guessing is encouraged.

The Answers (with the winner's references):
1. Plato’s Allegory of the Cave from The Republic:
"… humans are ignorant, trapped in the depths and not even aware of their own limited perspective. The rare individual escapes the limitations of that cave and, through a long, tortuous intellectual journey, discovers a higher realm, a true reality, with a final, almost mystical awareness of Goodness as the origin of everything that exists. Such a person is then the best equipped to govern in society, having a knowledge of what is ultimately most worthwhile in life and not just a knowledge of techniques; but that person will be frequently misunderstood by those ordinary folks back in the cave who haven't shared in the intellectual insight."

2. Jesus Christ was born in a cave:
About 150 we find St. Justin Martyr referring (Dial., lxxviii) to the Savior's birth as having taken place in a cave near the village of Bethlehem; such cave stables are not rare in Palestine. (Cf. Massie in Hast., Dict. of the Bible, III, 234; Expository Times, May, 1903, 384; Bonaccorsi, "Il Natale", Rome, 1903, 16-20.) The tradition of the birth in a cave was widely accepted, as we see from Origen's words about a century later: "In Bethlehem the cave is pointed out where He was born, and the manger in the cave where He was wrapped in swaddling clothes, and the rumor is in those places and among foreigners of the Faith that indeed Jesus was born in this cave". (Contra Celsum, I, li.)

3. St. Benedict lived in a cave:
All alone he set out for a more solitary place. Upon arriving at a wild and rocky place known as Subiaco Benedict met a monk named Romanus. With the help of Romanus he spent the next three years as a hermit living in a cave. A practice then among those seeking Christian perfection was to look for a holy spiritual guide to instruct them in the ways of holiness, what we might today call a "spiritual father." As news spread about a holy hermit living in a cave disciples flocked to Subiaco. Soon under Benedict's guidance several small monasteries sprang up. Eventually Benedict again set out for a solitary place. He found it on top of Monte Cassino where he built two chapels. But soon disciples were gathering around him again. This time Benedict put them all under the same roof and the enormous and famous monastery on Monte Cassino began to take shape.

Don't like the answers? You can make up your own game and enjoy the power rush.

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