Of St. Moses – Old Testament Lawgiver, Prophet and Prof. Camille Paglia – Feminist, Provocateuse

I have a very begrudging respect for Camille Paglia. I disagree with most of what she holds, but I admire her writing and her bluntness. I’m especially fond of how she calls out the cheerleaders of stupid brands of feminism (most of them).

More about Paglia and Moses in a bit.

Today, 4 September, is the feast of St. Moses, lawgiver and prophet in the Old Testament.

Many people do not realize that may Old Testament figures are considered by Holy Mother Church to be saints. Many of them are listed in editions of the Roman Martyrology, both pre-Conciliar and post.

Here is today’s entry for Moses.

1. Commemoratio sancti Moysis, prophetae, quem Deus elegit, ut populum in Aegypto oppressum liberaret et in terram promissionis adduceret; cui etiam in monte Sina sese revelavit dicens: “Ego sum qui sum”, atque legem proposuit, quae vitam populi electi regeret.  Ille servus Dei in monte Nebo terrae Moab coram terra promissionis plenus dierum obiit.

Anyone want to take a crack at What The Martyrology Really Says?

Enjoy some Mystic Monk Coffee, or refresh your depleted supply, and get out that dictionary if necessary.

Also, a question/request to readers:

Have any of you ever seen a stained-glass window of Moses at the cleft in the rock in Exodus 33?

I would like a good photo.

Back to Camille Paglia.  Really, there is a connection.

A few days ago in the Wall Street Journal, there was a piece about how idiot students (most of them) at the university where she teaches want her outsed.  Camille, you see, is not politically correct, or “woke” enough, or something.  And since the idiot students (most of them) are now entitled to be offended by everything they don’t understand (most of it), therefore Paglia has to lose her job.  See the line of thought?  It’s rather like how Madame Defarge at Fishwrap wants Chad Pecknold to be fired every time Chad writes something.

Back to the WSJ piece.  Here’s the horrifying link with Moses.


By contrast to her flaming public persona, Ms. Paglia is positively conventional in the classroom. “As I constantly stress,” she says, “my base identity is as a hard-working, no-nonsense schoolmarm—like the teaching nuns of global Roman Catholicism.” Despite her avowed atheism, she confesses to keeping a Mass card of St. Teresa of Ávila in her den at home. [I often wonder how much of an atheist she really is.]

This fall semester, she will teach two classes, “Art of Song Lyric” and “Style in Art.” She asks me to “stress that I do not teach ‘my’ ideas in the classroom.” Instead, she teaches “broad-ranging” courses and considers herself responsible for her students’ “general education—in which there are huge and lamentable gaps, thanks to the tragic decline of public education in this country.”

She recalls a “horrifying” example from her classroom a few years ago. She was teaching “Go Down, Moses, ” the famous Negro spiritual. “The whole thing is about antiquity,” she says, “but obviously it has contemporary political references.” She passed out the lyrics and played the music, “and it suddenly hit me with horror—none of them recognized the name ‘Moses.’ And I thought: Oh my God, when Moses is erased from the West, what is left of Western civilization?

Judging by last semester’s protests against Ms. Paglia, today’s college students seem better versed in the polemics of gender identity than in Judeo-Christian history.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Benedict Joseph says:

    We lost a diamond when we lost Camille Paglia. Or, as you said, did we? She lifts my heart whenever I hear her speak. She is a light in the darkness. God reward her.

  2. teomatteo says:

    Paglia. Philadelphia. Chaput. Pray for both. In the same sentence. Preferably.

  3. Ellen says:

    I absolutely LOVE Camille Paglia. I don’t agree with her on a lot of things, but she is honest, intelligent and fearless. If only we could clone her, higher education would be much better off.

  4. LeeGilbert says:

    There is a rivetting, incredible 1:43 hr conversation between Camille Paglia and Jordan Peterson at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-hIVnmUdXM&t=3014s which all should see before going off to college. Not that they, or anybody, will understand most of it, but it’s that fifteen minutes of blinding truth about the higher education scene that is so illuminating and which may help save both their minds and several hundred thousand dollars.

  5. Jacques says:

    In french the word “provocateuse” is a barbarism.
    The correct word is “provocatrice”.

  6. The Astronomer says:

    I bet Paglia’s students can identify “St.” Ocasio-Cortez of the Holy Socialists…

  7. praequestus says:

    I too share a “begrudging respect” Prof. Paglia. This is but one example:

    “What poisoned the debate over educational reform, however, was that so many of the proposals for multicultural change were explicitly political, using a leftist frame of reference that polarized the campuses. Shortcuts were resorted to to get quick results in democratizing the curriculum: the number of texts by dead white European males was reduced to make room for those by women or people of color, sometimes without due regard for whether the substitute texts, which were often contemporary, had the same cultural weight or substance as what they replaced.”

    The Mighty River of Classics: Tradition and Innovation in Modern Education C Paglia – Arion: A Journal of Humanities and the Classics, 2001 – JSTOR at 96.


  8. veritas vincit says:

    Camille Paglia is that rarest of rare birds — an honest liberal. She starts from many flawed premises and lives with a woman in a lesbian relationship, but she cares about truth and has no patience with political correctness. I often learn something reading her opinion pieces.

    I too wonder about an “atheist” who has a St. Teresa of Ávila Mass card. Did she really leave the Catholic Church in which she was raised? Hmmm.

    Also, kudos to the University of the Arts administration for backing her up against the mob.

  9. Pius Admirabilis says:

    Commemoratio sancti Moysis, prophetae, quem Deus elegit, ut populum in Aegypto oppressum liberaret et in terram promissionis adduceret; cui etiam in monte Sina sese revelavit dicens: “Ego sum qui sum”, atque legem proposuit, quae vitam populi electi regeret. Ille servus Dei in monte Nebo terrae Moab coram terra promissionis plenus dierum obiit.

    Commemoration of Saint Moses, Prophet, whom God elected to liberate the people who were oppressed in Egypt, and to lead them into the Promised Land; to whom He also revealed Himself, saying: “I am who I am” (JHWH), and there He also gave the Law which was to rule the life of the Chosen People. This servant of God died on Mount Nebo in the land of Moab before the Promised Land as his days were fulfilled.

  10. GregB says:

    Colleges have become the quasi-mandatory gateways for access to good paying jobs. If a person is only going to college to get their meal ticket punched, how intellectually engaged are they going to be? How many of them are going to have any real interest in true scholarship? The chokehold that colleges have on the future employment prospects of their students makes them natural centers for PC indoctrination.

  11. bobk says:

    Camille is easily my favorite lesbian atheist writer. It should be noted carefully she is delightfully bold in stating an important thing : Biology exists and it isn’t changed when you want it to be. There are males and females. Period. If a person decides they aren’t what they are it doesn’t make it so. That alone makes her a rebel in 2019. The “trans” gibberish gets stomped by her and it is great to hear her do it.

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