Volume > Issue > Entering the Modern Areopagus

Entering the Modern Areopagus


By James Noel Ward | October 2023
James Noel Ward is Assistant Professor of Finance at the American University of Paris. Raised in The Episcopal Church USA, he was received into the Catholic Church and confirmed during the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday, March 20, 2008, at the Cathedral of the Resurrection in the Diocèse d’Evry by Bishop Michel Dubost, C.I.M.

Scrolls long ago were discarded in favor of codices. Scrolls themselves had replaced baked clay tablets. The codex to printed book has had a good, long run, but new media beckon. At Mass, I still use a printed missal; only embarrassment keeps me from using my smartphone with digital missal, alternate readings, and scrollable French, English, and Latin text. An app with 80 Bible translations is at my fingertips. St. Paul, in his sermon in the Areopagus, instructs us to preach where those who are searching seek answers: “Now all the Athenians and the strangers sojourning there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell or to hear some new thing” (Acts 17:21). We, too, must heed the imperative of the Great Commission, however comfortable our old methods and media have become. We must go to the Areopagus.

NOR readers cannot be faulted for not swimming in alternate waters and cyberspaces low and high where souls are seeking answers, for the NOR is a thought journal, not a debate forum. The noise of the Kultursmog of the Internet often overwhelms the signal, and caution is prudent. We must, however, turn our attention to where the harvest may prove bountiful. And that place increasingly, and perhaps permanently, is in the forums, threads, and disjointed chaos of social media and its deformed progeny. It behooves us to recall that the early Church was built by the presence of the Apostles and their teachings, and though the texts and oral testimony that circulated widely in their wake were inspired, false and error-filled teachings abounded, too. Diligent correction was an early calling of all the faithful. Dogmatic definitions, canon law, and the canon of Scripture were hard fought to preserve. Apologists in online forums and modern media defend against the same winds today.

Which brings us to the curious case of Bronze Age Pervert (BAP, for short), of unfortunate name, or “handle,” in his world. Author of the self-published Bronze Age Mindset (2018), BAP is present in 4Chan discussion threads and on YouTube, and he produces weekly subscription-only podcasts with approximately 6,500 paying clients (I am among them). He was banned from Twitter but reinstated in December 2022, and he now has over 100,000 followers. A Google search turns up scores of articles addressing or discussing his work, all written in palatable forms. But BAP’s own subjects and rhetoric are for adults only.

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