The Question (ID Number 711)...
...and the response:ISHMAEL draws on a lifetime of reading on all the subjects you mention. You might say that, starting in about 1960, I adopted the life of a cultural detective. One clue led to another across all conceivable disciplinary lines. This hasn't changed. Recent reading includes a study of African divination systems, an anthropological history of preindustrial Europe, a study of feral children, a study of war in prehistory, and a study of the Gnostic tradition in Central Asia. Here are some of the books lined up on my waiting-to-be-read shelf: A study of feeding strategy (Behavioral Ecology); a study of borderline personality disorder; a history of blasphemy; a study of the "secret knowledge" of medieval and early modern times; a study of the development (and aberrations) of personal identity in early eighteenth century England; a study of how saints become canonized in the Roman Catholic Church. How did I develop the arguments? Painstakingly. Slowly. Atom by atom. In an almost evolutionary way, by a process not unlike natural selection; every bit of it was challenged by every test I was capable of devising. (This is one reason why so many teachers find it acceptable for use in their classrooms.) It all seems very obvious--once it's said. It certainly wasn't obvious when I started.
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