Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Still in development: The Tree of Virtues

Yes, due to some complications, I am still not ready to release The Tree of Virtues, the next installment of the Saga. There's one small puzzle yet confronting me, but I hope to get past it soon.

Among other things you may be wondering what that title is about. It comes from an amazing diagram called "The Tree of Virtues" which appears in a large old book called Cursus Theologicus of Salamanca. It is a very complex diagram, very tech, which organizes all the various branches of human learning and endeavor into one system - yes, a TREE. (I have no time to lecture on the relation to computer science; that ought to be evident, but if it isn't I perhaps I will post on it another time.)

Here is a snapshot of this amazing diagram...

(Courtesy of A. Poole, of Loome Theological Booksellers.

Meanwhile, you can entertain yourself with this curious collage of artwork, which will NOT be included in the final book:

The big trombonist is no other than Bo Reynolds, the world-famous musician. He's jamming with Chuck Weller, a good friend of Steve Brown. Steve is greeting another world-famous person, the great mathematician Erich Weitzmann, known to some as "the Hermite of the 21st Century". And if you do not know who Hermite was, see here. He's the one who proved that "e" is transcendental. And if you are wondering what that odd little contraption in the lower left is, you will find out when you read the book. Strangely, it happens to fall squarely between Bo and Erich, but it has another purpose.

Update: as of Oct. 18, it is available, and the next installment is nearing completion!


  1. I am trying to figure how to leave you comments... Previous ones never went through.

    I very much enjoy your series. They do remind me of the Hardy Boy books (the old ones) which I very much enjoyed!

    Keep up the good work, and I look forward to the next installment!

  2. I just got my copies of your books, and am enjoying all the new material! Very fun, thought-provoking, and good for "the refreshment of the spirit."

    Re: Tree of virtues, I think I found one today in St. Cyprian's treatise on the unity of the Catholic Church. He is talking about how the Church is like one tree with many branches, and I think there's sort of a pun on "robur" meaning oak and strength both. (Nobody seems to translate it that way, so maybe I'm wrong; but it's in section 5 of "De Catholicae Ecclesiae Unitate" if you want to look.)

    Thank you again!

  3. Thanks, Banshee! I am glad you are enjoying the Saga.

    Yes, this tree comes up elsewhere, though I cannot give other citations just now. Eventually SOMEONE will commission an updated one which will contain all the new fields which have sprung up in the last 300-500 years... for all those too will give glory to God. It's our job to make sure that happens.

    And as I pointed out, the Ambrosian uses an updated version for the cover of their course catalog, which is annotated so you can actually see where the courses you are taking fit into the Tree... they are very serious about such things there. And once I get finished with the main sequence of the Saga, I hope to produce a handful of short stories to give some more details about that great school. Newman took a different approach in his University Sketches, but there's nothing wrong with using a piece of fiction to explain complex ideas. (Jesus used that technique often.)