Politics Magazine

Lord Have Mercer

Posted on the 02 May 2014 by Steveawiggins @stawiggins

Samuel Alfred Browne Mercer was an Assyriologist who failed to establish an academic legacy.  I quickly learned, when consulting his The Tell El-Amarna Tablets that his work was considered inferior, and that it would not have been published, had it not been for his wealthy wife.  Not a very ringing endorsement for a guy who wrote a grammar of Assyrian.  It was a little odd, then, when in the library at Nashotah House when Mr. Tolan was clearing out shelf space, that he asked me if I would like a copy of Mercer’s autobiography.  The library had two and, well, needed more shelf space.  I thanked him for the slim volume and took it home to read.  The little book is self-published, and it had been typed with a sans serif font, something rare for a published volume in those days.  It had been annotated by hand, I presume by the author.  And it told a most interesting story.
Mercer, I was to learn, had been a student at Nashotah House.  Now, in my days at the seminary the internet had not yet made it that far into the backwoods of Wisconsin.  We eventually did get a dial-up connection and we thought we were so twenty-first century.  In any case, Nashotah House, when it finally established a website, did nothing so vainglorious as to list noted alumni or faculty.  The only two I ever heard praised were Gustaf Unonius and Michael Ramsey, the former for being the first graduate, and the latter as an adjunct instructor (and, incidentally, the Archbishop of Canterbury).  Samuel A. B. Mercer, as he styled himself, would not likely have raised even a unibrow.  He had written a couple of books on a learned topic, but had failed to impress.  Reading his life story was somewhat intimate, however.  He tells of riding on the top of a train in Russia to get from city to city with little money, and of visiting Ethiopia where, it seems, he was convinced the Ark of the Covenant might just be.  Had I not studied Akkadian and read about Assyriology, I might not have ever come across his name.  We were, however, touching at an odd juncture.
Not even rating a Wikipedia article, Mercer disappears into obscurity after his informal accounting of his life.  He apparently had a wealthy wife (home life is not the focus of his brief story), and a lasting desire to spend time in Kush.  Although it has been years since I’ve read his story, I recall that he did have a life of adventure and a little intrigue.  Maybe we were spiritual kin after all, for we each tried and failed to make an impression on an ivory tower world where those who tarry too long at Nashotah are deemed among the least important of academics.  After all, even the relatively comprehensive list of institutions of higher education on the University of Texas website (and Texas and Nashotah have a lasting connection) fails to mention the seminary.  Its little library, nevertheless, does hold evidence of a lost life-story or two.


You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Shilo Sanders- Son Of Deion Sanders Thanks Courts For Allowing Him To Live With...

    Shilo Sanders- Deion Sanders Thanks Courts Allowing Live With Pilar

    ChristianNews Shilo Sanders, the son of NFL Hall of Famer,  Deion Sanders took to twitter to “thank” the courts for allowing him to live with his mother, Pilar... Read more

    The 04 August 2017 by   Firstladyb
  • “I Feel Great”

    Feel Great”

    Jakub went to his doctor's office believing that he had a back injury, but returned with a chocking diagnosis instead. He had type 2 diabetes - in spite of... Read more

    The 04 August 2017 by   Dietdoctor
  • July Allotment Recap (2/2)

    July Allotment Recap (2/2)

    Sunday afternoon saw us return bravely to 24a even though there were more thundery showers foretold by the weatherman. I will admit that I guffawed at the... Read more

    The 04 August 2017 by   Chrryblossomtat2
  • Culinary Delicacies in Croatia- What to Eat and Drink in Croatia

    Culinary Delicacies Croatia- What Drink Croatia

    In my earlier post, we spoke about how Croatia is a stunning European destination, let us now see what are the culinary delicacies in Croatia or what you can... Read more

    The 04 August 2017 by   Kash Pals
  • #Golf Training Aids Spotlight: The Delta Putt

    #Golf Training Aids Spotlight: Delta Putt

    Do you consider yourself to be a strong putter or do you feel you could improve your make percentage on the green? Most amateurs could use help with the flat... Read more

    The 04 August 2017 by   Golfforbeginners
  • Three Incredible Hikes in Southern Iceland3 Min Read

    Three Incredible Hikes Southern Iceland3 Read

    Nature takes center stage in Iceland, where there's a stunning view around every bend: massive glaciers, expansive lava fields, powerful waterfalls, black sand... Read more

    The 04 August 2017 by   Healthytravelblog
  • What I Wore: Daytime Pajamas

    What Wore: Daytime Pajamas

    Pajama top: ELOQUII (14) | Pajama pants: ELOQUII (14) | Shoes: ASOS (similar) | Earrings: J. Crew ( same in different colors, similar concept in same color) |... Read more

    The 04 August 2017 by   Wardrobeoxygen

Paperblog Hot Topics