Recent links of note:
“So, Who Were the Khazars?”
Dan Shapira, Tablet
“There is no God but Allah, and Musa (Moses) is His messenger.” Sound odd? These words were inscribed on a coin minted in the 830s in the Khazar Khaganate, a tribal confederation of Turkic peoples north of the Caucasus who converted to Judaism sometime in the eighth century. From the medieval accounts of Arabic travelers to the Serbian writer Milorad Pavić’s bestselling novel Dictionary of the Khazars (1988), the Khazar legend has been long in the making. Yet this coin is just one piece of a sparse and misleading trail that the Khazars left behind when they vanished in the twelfth century. Professor Dan Shapira gathers these pieces together in an article for Tablet.
“How to Flip a Church”
Miriam Dobson, London Review of Books
From 1909 to 1915, the photographer Sergei Prokudin-Gorsky was commissioned by the Czar to document the many lands and peoples of the Russian Empire. What resulted was a remarkable body of photographs in nearly true color, thanks to then-cutting-edge technology. Perhaps the most valuable sites documented were the Orthodox churches and monasteries of the Russian heartland. Under the Soviets just a few years later, hundreds of these buildings were dynamited, turned into gymnasiums, or appropriated as “museums of atheism,” among other cruel fates. As I discovered in the Russian north, some were even transported by army helicopter to a museum site hundreds of miles away.
Miriam Dobson reviews a new book by William Brumfield on Prokudin-Gorsky, which presents side-by-side comparisons of these churches one hundred years on.
“Music for a While #41: Well-tempered and Catalan.”
Jay Nordlinger, The New Criterion’s music critic, talks music—but, more important, plays music.
“The Empire State,” by Timothy Jacobson. On New York’s grandest claim.