The Biblioblog Reference Library

[«] Posts by the Author "Peter Leithart"(#882)

March 20 2018, 5AM

Richard Spady’s eye-opening piece in First Things examines the consequences that follow when economics becomes an ideology, that is, when economics “will­fully projects its own first principles on its subject matter and actively seeks, perha... [American economy] [Economics] [ideology]


Notes on Comedy of Errors from Marjorie Garber and A.D. Nuttall. 1) Garber points out that the play begins with a legal threat, a death sentence hanging over Egeon of Syracuse because of his visit to Ephesus. This is the crux of the problem in many of the... [comedy] [literature] [Shakespeare]

March 19, 4AM

In a long footnote to an article on Rahner’s theology of divinization (p. 277, fn 43), Francis Caponi quotes Rahner saying “If the ordination [to a supernatural end] cannot be detached from the nature, the fulfillment of the ordination, from God’s ... [Theology - Creation]

March 16, 4AM

The Song of Song depicts a Bridegroom who is passionate toward his bride. Does that Bridegroom portray Yahweh in His love for Israel? Drawing on Jewish tradition, Nicholas of Lyra interpreted the Song as Israel’s Song concerning Yahweh.[1] If that is ac... [Bible - OT - Song of Songs]

March 15, 4AM

The Song of Songs was among the most popular books for commentary in the Latin middle ages. Despite important variations in style and conclusions among these commentaries, the commentary tradition was largely allegorical. The Song of Songs was viewed as a... [Bible - OT - Song of Songs]
Proverbs 31:10-12 describe the strong woman’s worth and value to her husband in general terms, but the section from verses 13-22 (the “dalet” through the “mem” sections) provides a detailed account of her dealings. The activities described in th... [Bible - OT - Proverbs]

March 14, 4AM

Proverbs begins with the king instructing his son the prince to choose wisely between the women who vie for his attention. His father warns him about Lady Folly and urges him to seek out Lady Wisdom. In the final chapter, we find that the prince has chose... [Bible - OT - Proverbs]

March 13, 5AM

In his 2005 Christmas encyclical, Deus caritas est, Benedict XVI explains why love has to be understood as both eros and agape , as ascending and descending love. He notes early on that the Bible rarely uses the word eros , arguing that “the tendency to... [Bible - OT - Song of Songs] [theology]


Proverbs concludes with the portrait of the “excellent wife” (31:10). The portrait reaches back to the beginning of Proverbs and the portrait of wisdom. Like Lady Wisdom, the excellent wife’s value is far above jewels (v. 10; cf. 3:15; 8:11). Like L... [Bible - OT - Proverbs]

March 12, 4AM

Today, many Reformed theologians are advocates of “classical theism.” A few hints from Richard Muller’s volume on the Trinity raise the question of whether the Reformed tradition fits neatly into what passes as classical theism today. A ... [Person] [Reformed theology] [Trinity]

March 9, 7AM

In a discussion of God’s transcendence, Jeremy Begbie (Redeeming Transcendence in the Arts) observes that some accounts of transcendence leave the impression “that language is something by its very nature that God would long to escape, that so... [Language] [theology]
Kendal Soulen (The Divine Names and the Holy Trinity, 97) summarizes Barth’s treatment of the implicit Trinitarianism of the Old Testament: “the Old testament testifies to Yahweh in three distinct ways. ‘Yahweh’ refers ‘a fir... [Bible - OT] [Karl Barth] [Trinity]
In an insightful piece on “wokeness as myth,” Alan Jacobs points to a brief blog post in which Timothy Burke describes Trump as a “desecration”: “Trump is the Piss Christ of liberals and leftists. His every breath is a bb-gu... [Trump] [university]
Fergus Kerr, explicating Thomas’s understanding of divine simplicity, acknowledges that “The doctrine of divine simpleness seems to make God so utterly different from anything created – so ‘totally otherwise’ – that any... [Aquinas] [Divine Simplicity]


In his “Person” in Christian Tradition, Stephen Hipp notes that the “originality” of Cappadocian Trinitarian theology “lies in using the word hypostasis to designate the person in distinction from the substance. The distincti... [Cappadocians] [Trinity]
William Hasker (Metaphysics and the Tri-Personal God) cites Carl Mosser’s objection to social Trinitarianism’s claim that the three Persons are “distinct centers of willing”: “If the divine persons cannot differ because they ... [Trinitarianism] [Trinity]


Shannon Hayes is a different kind of feminist, a feminist who has not only broken from the patriarchy but from she views as a global capitalist system that buttresses the patriarchy. She is a Radical Homemaker. She explains that “Radical Homemakers are ... [feminism]
William Mann has argued that when medievals identify God with His attributes, they identify Him with “property instances,” specific individuals in a relationship of instantiation with the universals that they instantiate. Jeffrey Brower (̶... [Divine Simplicity]
Robert Tombs (The English and Their History) observes that many intellectuals have pondered the character of nations for the past two centuries, asking “whether nations are ancient or modern phenomena; whether they have some organic existence as cul... [English History] [Nation-State] [nationalism]

March 8, 5AM

Andrew Robinson (God and the World of Signs) cannot prove that C.S. Peirce drew inspiration for his semiotic pattern of Firstness, Secondness, and Thirdness from Trinitarian theology. But Robinson is struck by the parallels between Peircean semiotics and ... [C. S. Peirce] [Semiotics] [Trinitarianism] [Trinity]


John Stuart Mill hoped (in Jason Brennan’s summary) “that getting people involved in politics would make them smarter, more concerned about the common good, better educated, and nobler. He hoped getting a factory worker to think about politics... [American Politics] [democracy]

March 7, 4AM

Several essays in the book, Believer’s Baptism, observe the inconsistencies in paedobaptist defenses of infant baptism. In the introduction, editors Thomas Schreiner and Shawn D. Wright focus on the issue of apostasy. If the warning passages in, say, H... [baptism]

March 6, 5AM

Gatherings of the ancient Athenian citizen assembly began with the sacrifice of a pig and the sprinkling of blood to consecrate a sacred space. When a Roman emperor wanted to discover the future, he sacrificed an animal and dispatched a specialist to read... [liberalism] [martyrdom]


A few passages from premodern allegorical readings of the Song of Songs. The first set comes from the Jewish commentator Shlomo Yitzchaki, known as Rashi; the second from Nicholas of Lyra. Of “Solomon” in the Song, Rashi writes: “Every ... [Bible - OT - Song of Songs]

March 5, 4AM

The Chronicler recounts Joash’s reign over several chapters, from 2 Chronicles 22:10 through the end of chapter 24. The text is chiastically structured: A. Conspiracy to coronate Joash, 22:20-23:11 B. Death of Athaliah, 23:12-15 C. Covenant renewal,... [Bible - OT - Chronicles]

March 2, 7AM

John Walton insists that Genesis doesn’t “attempt to address cosmology in modern terms or address modern questions. The Israelites received no revelation to update their ‘scientific’ understanding of the cosmos.” Then too: &#... [Bible - OT - Genesis] [Creation]
In Policing America’s Empire, Alfred McCoy spells out the analogies between America’s intervention in the Philippines at the beginning of the 20th century and our invasion of Iraq at the end. He thinks the comparison is most illuminating when ... [American Foreign Policy] [American Military]
In a 1975 article in the wonderfully-named journal Palimpsest, Richard H. Thomas traced the movement “from porch to patio,” showing how the change in domestic architecture both reflected and reinforced changes in social structure. The porch, he points... [architecture] [home] [Suburbs]


Alfred McCoy has had a lively life. While still in grad school, he testified before Congress about his discoveries of CIA alliances with drug lords in Southeast Asia. He’s been subjected to surveillance and had his phone tapped. And along the way he... [American Foreign Policy]
D. Valdez (German Philhellenism) discerned two forms of interest in Hellenism among German intellectuals of the 18th and 19th centuries: “The first, weighted toward the earlier, Homeric, and more archaic period of Greek life, celebrated a raw, tumul... [classics] [Germany]
Stephen Jay Gould offered famously offered a solution to the religion v. science conflict: Consign each to its separate corner; they belong to separate domains; they don’t conflict because they don’t overlap. Problem solved. Not so fast, says ... [science] [Science and Theology]


In the opening essay to Reflexive Modernization, Ulrich Beck defines the phrase in the book’s title as “the possibility of a creative (self-)destruction for an entire epoch.” This creative destruction is not the product of a crisis but t... [modernity]
Like his book on the sacraments, Henry de Candole’s brief study of the Eucharist, The Church’s Offering, shows that liturgical renewal is inevitably also a renewal of ecclesiology. De Candole distinguishes between private prayers and the publi... [Ecclesiology] [liturgy]
In After God, Tristram Engelhardt notes that autonomy is not merely a source of authority in secular culture, but “a cardinal directing value or goal.” In today’s world, one is “obliged freely to choose in conformity with very part... [Medicine]

March 1, 5AM

Just before Luke records Jesus’ visit to the home of Simon the Pharisee (Luke 7:36-50), he records Jesus teaching about the responses of the Jewish leaders to His ministry and the ministry of John (7:30-35). They don’t catch the tune of the ti... [Bible - NT - Luke]


The following essay was first published at Lent is a time of renunciation and fasting, spiritual striving, self-examination, contrition, and penitence. It seems a grim and black season of self-accusation. But that’s all superficial. Len... [Lent] [Shakespeare]

February 28, 4AM

Even after the disciples have seen Jesus calm the storm and walk on the sea, even after they have eaten miracle bread, they don’t understand. They don’t know what we know – that Jesus is Son of God. The problem isn’t a lack of evidence. They have ... [Bible - NT - Mark]

February 27, 5AM

What is tragedy? Some might think that it’s an easy question to answer. Crack open the nearest copy of Aristotle’s Poetics, and there you have it. It’s not so easy. What Chaucer meant by tragedy is not what Aristotle met, and in the modern age Hegel... [Shakespeare] [tragedy]


Jesus bursts onto the scene in Mark as a strong man, conquering enemy after enemy. After His baptism, the Spirit drives Him into the wilderness, where He overcomes the devil and survives wild beasts. He enters the synagogue at Capernaum to teach on a Sabb... [Bible - NT - Mark]

February 26, 4AM

The following excerpt is taken from the first volume of my Matthew commentary, recently published by Athanasius Press. Jesus summoned the Twelve to Him and gave them authority and power (Matthew 10). He sent them out to the lost sheep of the house of Isra... [Bible - NT - Matthew]

February 23, 7AM

John Hedley Brooke (Science and Religion, 44-45) summarizes the argument of JW Draper’s 1875 History of the Conflict between Religion and Science: “The history of science, he wrote, is a narrative of the conflict of two contending powers, the ... [Roman Catholicism] [science]
In an essay in Sin, Death, and the Devil, Stanley Hauerwas describes our “sinsick” condition, drawing from Thomas for help. Thomas links sin and sickness in a way that, Hauerwas says, strikes moderns as “bizarre”: “‘Sickness’ for us . . . is... [Medicine]
Everyone knows that Genesis 1 claims that God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh. William Brown (Seven Pillars of Creation) shows that the sevens are everywhere in the creation account: “The account of Genesis 1 is carefully str... [Bible - OT - Genesis]


“Modernity,” writes Jason A. Josephson-Storm, “is first and foremost the sign of a rupture . . . a device for positing significant historical breaks” (The Myth of Disenchantment, 7). By designating something as “modern,”... [Disenchantment] [modernity]
Galileo Goes To Jail, a 2009 collection of essays edited by Ronald Numbers, examines 25 myths of science and religion. The essays aren’t defenses of religion by any means; they instead aim at complicating the received scientific triumphalism and set... [science]
The late Billy Graham from a 1959 issue of Christianity Today. 1959!! One of the pet words of this age is “tolerance.” It is a good word, but we have tried to stretch it over too great an area of life. We have applied it too often where it doe... [billy graham]


Frances Young (God’s Presence, 173-4) offers this summary of the post-Nicene consensus concerning the image of God in man: “Athanasius and the Cappadocians, those who fashioned the notion of theopoiesis/theosis and recognized that it implied N... [Theology - Anthropology]
Everyone wonders – children, “savages,” men and women at one another. Philosophers wonder too, Rosenzweig says (Understanding the Sick and the Healthy), but they respond to wonder differently from the rest of us. The rest of us are “adrift on ... [philosophy]
Sociologists, Rosenstock-Huessy charges, often formulate their theories in this fashion: “an obscure Force A and a Relation B . . . affect Mr Y.” Sociologists “pretend that their science address a nameless world” (In the Cross of R... [Rosenstock-Huessy] [Sociology]

February 22, 5AM

Matthew Levering devotes a dense chapter of his Engaging the Doctrine of Creation to a defense of divine simplicity. As one would expect from a leading Catholic thinker, Levering relies on Thomas. God, Levering argues, must be pure act in order to be some... [Divine Simplicity]


The following excerpt is taken from the first volume of my Matthew commentary, recently published by Athanasius Press. Jesus announces the new law from the mountain; He is Moses on a new Sinai. But in this passage, Jesus assumes another role for a few mom... [Bible - NT - Matthew]

February 21, 4AM

An old piece, first published in Touchstone magazine. Contemporary horror films have nothing on Dante. His Inferno is full of terrors that even the most jaded film-maker would shrink from putting on screen: Nightmarish landscapes flowing with streams of... [Dante]

February 20, 5AM

In Liberalism and Empire, Uday Singh Mehta calls attention to the neglected link between British liberalism and the British empire. He writes, “We rightly think of liberalism as committed to securing individual liberty and human dignity through a po... [empire] [liberalism]


Henry de Candole was one of the leaders of the early liturgical movement in the Church of England. In his 1935 The Sacraments and the Church, he explores “the corporate nature of Christianity” and places sacramental theology firmly within eccl... [Ecclesiology] [Sacramental theology]

February 19, 4AM

The following are my opening remarks at the fifth annual Nevin Lectures, February 16-17, 2018.   Sixty years ago, British Pentecostal leader Donald Henry Frere Gee wrote that the Pentecostal Movement passed Jesus’ test: “By their fruit you shall ... [1-2 Samuel] [Pentecostalism]

February 16, 7AM

Between July and October 1936, WH Auden wrote a long, amusing poetic letter to the long-dead Lord Byron. Among other things, Auden catches the poet up on literary trends in the time since his demise, and among these is the triumph of the novel. And in thi... [Jane Austen] [W.H. Auden]
Amos Yong (Renewing Christian Theology) insists that the charismatic gifts exist not to puff up the charismatic Christian but to edify the church and evangelize the world: “The spiritual gifts are bestowed by God upon and exercised by the body of Christ... [Charismata] [Pentecostalism]


John Ciardi (How Does a Poem Mean?, 113)) imagines a “philosophical captain” giving his men a pre-battle pep talk: “Men of England, here at this brink of battle, let us summon to mind the triumphant image of Saint George the Dragon slaye... [poetry] [Preaching]
Some might have fondly thought that the nuttiness of the universities would stay on campus. It hasn’t happened. We all live on campus now, writes Andrew Sullivan. Concern for microaggressions has spread from campus to country: “How else do yo... [American culture] [education]


Robert Frost referred to the “pleasure of taking pains” over poetry. John Ciardi, who quotes this phrase in his How Does a Poem Mean?, explains that the paradox is only apparent. Poets take pains in their work in the same way that played take... [play] [poetry]
In Renewing Christian Theology, Amos Yong cautions against understanding the charismata of the New Testament church as “supernatural” gifts “in the modernist sense.” Charismatics too need their nouvelle theologie. He elaborates: “Enlightenment r... [Pentecostalism]
Toward the end of a chapter on divine simplicity in his Engaging the Doctrine of Creation, Matthew Levering favorably quotes the following what Oliva Blanchette: “Metaphysics,more than anything else in philosophy, has to do with the question of tran... [metaphysics] [theology]

February 15, 5AM

The topic here isn’t movies about zombies. It’s the use of dead actors in movies. Alexi Sargeant explains why digital resurrection is so creepy, using Peter Cushing’s reprise of the role of Grand Moff Tarkin in Rogue One as the key example. Sargeant... [film]


The Azusa Street Revival that launched the Pentecostal movement was accompanied by a burst of racial reconciliation. An Anglican visitors marveled: “It was something very extraordinary, that white pastors from the South were eagerly prepared to go t... [Pentecostalism] [Race] [racism]

February 14, 4AM

After His baptism, Jesus went into the wilderness to fast and to be tempted by the devil for forty days and nights. The first temptation concerned food. Jesus was the new Adam, facing a food test not in a garden but in the wilderness. Jesus was the new Is... [Lent]

February 13, 5AM

All around us, pundits have turned prophetic; analysts have become purveyors of apocalypse. Trump the beast is on the throne, and the world is falling apart. Rusty Reno thinks that reports of the world’s end are greatly exaggerated: “We observ... [American Politics]


One Corinthians 13-14 includes a cluster of musical metaphors. Paul compares the tongue-speaking of the loveless as a “noisy gong or a clanging cymbal” (13:1), and insists that tongues need interpretation by noting that you can’t know the tune w... [Bible - NT - Paul] [music]

February 12, 4AM

INTRODUCTION This passage is part of the opening preamble and prologue of Proverbs (Waltke’s terms). It divides neatly into two sections: The first, verses 1-7, describe the purpose of the Proverbs as a whole, and function as an introduction to the enti... [Bible - OT - Proverbs]

February 9, 4AM

Tisa Wenger’s Religious Freedom recounts what her subtitle calls the “contested history of an American ideal,” focusing on the period between the Spanish-American War and World War II. She doesn’t look at the theorizing of religious freedom, ... [American History] [Religious liberty]

February 8, 5PM

Americans are losing their confidence in our institutions. Why? Christopher Hayes (Twilight of the Elites) doesn’t think we can blame the media, the Balkanization of information sources, or ingratitude from the public. The answer is simple: “We do not... [Elites]
Lenn Goodman (Creation and Evolution) cites Darwin’s son’s claim that “One of the greatest services rendered by my father to the study of Natural History is the revival of Teleology. The evolutionist studies the purpose or meaning of org... [Darwin] [evolution] [teleology]
It’s a little late, but you can save this for next year. Peter Burfeind (Gnostic America) quotes this Superbowl Sunday litany: “Minister: This is Superbowl Sunday, Lord. Millions will watch as the winner in each league battles for the champion... [football] [liturgy]
John Gray (Liberalisms, 224-5) offers a devastating critique of Mill’s concept of individuality. For Mill, individuality is “a form of self-realization in which the powers of autonomous thought and choice that mark the human species are exercised in l... [Individualism] [John Stuart Mill] [liberalism]


A fine statement from Iris Murdoch on the capacity of literature to seek and reveal truth: “I think that though they are so different, philosophy and literature are both truth-seeking and truth-revealing activities. They are cognitive activities, ex... [literature] [Political Philosophy]
Gavin Hyman (A Short History of Atheism) doesn’t think contemporary atheists are aware of the origins and cultural conditions of their own unfaith. They suffer from “a lack of awareness of atheism’s own origins, of the historical, philosophi... [atheism] [modernity]
In Literacy and Orality in Ancient Greece, Rosalind Thomas surveys the current state of Homeric studies. In the background is the Millman-Lord thesis that the epics are the product of oral improvisation. Thomas discerns two schools: “On the one hand, th... [classics] [homer]


Thomas Schirrmacher (God Want You to Learn, Labor, and Love) outlines a Trinitarian conception of labor. Work, like all human activity, has its uncreated origin in God. We are able to work because we are made in the image of a God of labor: “In the ... [Trinity] [Work]


Robert Jenson addresses this perennial question (Systematic Theology, 1.228-9) in a characteristically Jensonian fashion, by reminding us of the dynamics of discourse: “In all true mutual discourse . . . each must be both subject for and object of t... [knowledge] [Trinity]

February 7, 4AM

The following was first published in 2011 at “By the twelfth century,” Christopher Page writes in his magisterial The Christian West and Its Singers (2010), “the Latin West could be imagined as a soundscape of Latin chant.” From... [music]

February 5, 5PM

Judd Owen’s Religion and the Demise of Liberal Rationalism calls on liberals to pay attention to the foundational issues raised by liberalism’s antifoundational critics. Owen recognizes that liberalism does not propose a “neutral” theory of politi... [John Rawls] [liberalism]


Robert Jenson writes: “our enjoyment of God is that we are taken into the triune singing. Perhaps we may say we are allowed to double the parts. And here too we must insist on concreteness. That the proclamation and prayer of the church regularly bursts... [music] [Trinity]


John Gray (Liberalisms) argues that the “argument from ignorance” is at the heart of certain liberal theorizing, that it cannot hold up to scrutiny. Human knowledge is limited, and that puts constraints on political certainty. Besides, it is argued th... [John Stuart Mill] [liberalism]

February 2, 5AM

In his Out of the Wreckage, George Monbiot cites the famous 1968 article of Garrett Hardin on the “Tragedy of the Commons.” In Monbiot’s summary, Hardin argued that “common property will always be destroyed, because the gain that i... [Economics]
Heiner Ruschaupt writes: “In Greek society labor was viewed as an inescapable fate imposed by the gods. To be like the gods meant to live free from labor. In the world of the ancient Orient, labor was viewed as a burden, as slave labor for the gods, who... [Work]
Markus Rathey (Bach’s Major Vocal Works) argues that Bach’s Christmas Oratorio is a love song. Several threads of argument support this conclusion. In composing the Oratorio, Bach recycled music from earlier compositions, including the quasi-o... [Bach]


Christianity Today reported this week on a controversy among European Evangelicals about relations with the Roman Catholic Church. Thomas Schirrmacher and Thomas K. Johnson of the World Evangelical Alliance, responded with a defense of Evangelical colla... [Reformational Catholicism] [Roman Catholicism]
Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy’s *In the Cross of Reality,* the first volume of his *Sociology*: “Rene Descartes’ mother died shortly after childbirth. . . . He never found relief from the formal strictness prevalent among grown men, with its p... [Descartes] [Nietzsche] [Rosenstock-Huessy]

February 1, 5AM

It’s important to pay careful attention to the title of Brian Brock’s superb 2010 Christian Ethics in a Technological Age. The book isn’t merely a theological/ethical analysis of technology, though it includes that. Brock’s aim is broader, a... [ethics] [Technology]


The following paragraphs are snipped from an article of mine on God and time in Genesis 1, published in the Criswell Theological Review. You can find more information about this issue of the journal here.  It seems significant that Genesis describes thi... [Bible - OT - Genesis] [Creation] [Time]

January 31, 4AM

Theopolis student Jacob Hanby pointed out that Ezekiel uses the phrase “the hand of Yahweh” seven times. It appears at major junctures in the prophecy: Ezekiel 1:3: The first verses of Ezekiel provide a double narrative opening (first person, ... [Bible - OT - Ezekiel]

January 30, 5AM

Mark Lilla’s dissection of identity politics in The Once and Future Liberal is incisive. He doesn’t spare the conservative movement or the Republican party in the least, but he at his sharpest in analyzing what he calls the “abdication&#... [Identity] [liberalism]


Someone asked me recently about my views on church and state. I replied that I advocate a “Christendom model” of church-state relations. Then I proceeded to qualify. When I was done qualifying, I suddenly wondered whether what I call “Ch... [christendom]

January 29, 4AM

Ezra begins where 2 Chronicles ends, with the decree of Cyrus. Some scholars have argued that the repetition indicates that the books were once united. It’s said that the doubling is an ancient literary device to knot together two sections of a tex... [Bible - OT - Chronicles]

January 26, 7AM

James Simpson briefly reviews the career of the 17th-century iconoclast William Dowsing in his history of iconoclasm, Under the Hammer. What motivated Dowsing, he argues, wasn’t an effort to prioritize the word over the image, but a quest for “... [iconoclasm] [idolatry] [Reformation]
The key question regarding Freud, says Rosenstock-Huessy (In the Cross of Reality, 266), is “Whom did Freud obey when he began to develop his theory?” The question arises because “in Freud’s relational system there is no place for ... [Freud] [Rosenstock-Huessy]
Alexandra Schwartz’s New Yorker essay on self-improvement movements (“Improving Ourselves to Death”) starts out breezily enough, but it turns grim pretty fast. The “death” in her title isn’t metaphorical. She summarizes... [self-help]


In a TLS review of Kontantin Barsht’s Drawings and Calligraphy of Fyodor Dostoevsky, Robert Bird reminds us that Dostoevsky was a “trained draughtsman” who “thought in images no less than in words: “He wrote frequently about ... [Dostoevsky]
In his temple sermon, Jeremiah warns the people of Jerusalem that Solomon’s temple is going to share the same fate at Shiloh (Jeremiah 7:1-15). Shiloh is where the Mosaic tabernacle was pitched when Israel entered the land. It remained there until t... [Bible - OT - Jeremiah]
Chris Kraus reviews Richard Cabut and Andrew Gallix’s Punk is Dead in the TLS. It was a short-lived movement, with a golden age of “between four and eighteen months,” and was over by 1978. That obsolescence was built-in, as philosopher Sim... [Punk Rock]


Musicologist and philosopher Jenny Judge thinks that the mind is more than a machine. Music provides the evidence. According to some philosophers, “if you can’t consciously represent the finer details of a guitar solo, the way is surely barred to ... [music] [philosophy]
Benjamin Giffone’s “Sit At My Right Hand” is a study of the tribe of Benjamin in the book of Chronicles and “in the social context of Yehud” (as the subtitle indicates). After sections examining the Chronicler’s settin... [Bible - OT - Chronicles]
Few people have had a front-row seat to the various controversies that have rocked the Reformed world since the 1970s. John Frame is one of those few. Irenic and gentle as he is, he has been a target of attack and a spark of controversy throughout his lon... [John Frame]

January 25, 5AM

Toward the end of his “Short Treatise on the Lord’s Supper” (sections 57-60), Calvin summarizes the history of Protestant disputes concerning the Supper. He focuses attention on the debate between Luther and Zwingli that culminated at M... [Calvin] [Eucharist] [Reformation]


Charles Marohn, Jr. (Thoughts on Building Strong Towns, 1) calls suburbanization a “grand experiment” in urban planning and growth. His less neutral description is that it’s a “Ponzi scheme.” Since World War II, suburbanizati... [cities] [Suburbs]

January 24, 4AM

As it turns out, Jonah is not very successful at flight. He goes down, down, down, but as he descends he continues to witness as a prophet. When the Lord throws a storm on the sea, the sailors wake Jonah to ask him to call on his god for help. When the l... [Bible - OT - Jonah] [Epiphany]

January 23, 5AM

The word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Ammitai, and instructed him to go to Nineveh to cry out against it. Nineveh is a great city, the capital of the Assyrian empire. Assyria is the rising power in Jonah’s day, and it is a cruel empire, known... [Bible - OT - Jonah] [Epiphany]


Mark Lilla devotes a chapter of The Shipwrecked Mind to an exposition of the thought of Franz Rosenzweig, setting him in the context of the 20th-century revolt against Hegel. It was, on the one hand, a revolt against 19th-century Hegelian conceptions of h... [Franz Rosenzweig] [Hegel] [Liberal Theology]

January 22, 4AM

At various points, 2 Chronicles indicates the month during which some event occurred. The dates tie the events to moments in Israel’s liturgical calendar. 2 Chronicles 5:3 is explicit. Solomon assembles “all the men of Israel” to Jerusal... [Bible - OT - Chronicles]

January 19, 7AM

The next time you have a space 15 minutes, treat yourself to the Wingfeather Saga short film on Youtube. It’s a quarter hour of sheer delight. One of the most arresting things about the segment is the way it provides rich, mysterious backgrounds fo... [body] [film] [Narrative]
Study of the sacramental in early modern English poetry has become a cottage industry in literary scholarship. Kimberley Johnson isn’t satisfied with the direction this scholarship has taken, and in her Made Flesh, she offers a corrective. Much of t... [Poetics] [Reformation]
What is sacrifice for? Many ancient cultures thought that animal offers fed the gods. The situation is more ambiguous for ancient Greeks. As Charles Stocking points out in his Politics of Sacrifice in Early Greek Myth and Poetry, the only explicit evidenc... [ancient greece] [sacrifice]


In a TLS review of several recent books on China, Gavin Jacobson highlights the role of geography and history in the formation of contemporary Chinese politics. Geography first: “China is enclosed within 14,000 miles of land borders and a 9,000-mile... [china]
In an essay in the Economic Journal (117 [2007] 146-73), Robert Sugden and Luigino Bruni describe how “psychology was removed from economics, and how it might be brought back.” The development of behavior economics provides a starting point f... [Economics] [Psychology]
In a long and stimulating piece in the New Atlantis, Samuel Matlack explores the role of metaphor in contemporary physics, especially with regard to the challenges of translating the mathematical formulae of theory into popular writing. Have we, he asks, ... [science]


In a discussion of a First Things article about Christian colleges by Carl Trueman, Rod Dreher writes: Sometimes I hear Christians saying things along the lines of, ‘Bring it on! The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church!’ etc. These ... [persecution]
Edward Luce (Retreat of Western Liberalism) notes that in 1750, India and China account for “three-quarters of the world’s manufactures.” The East’s dominance collapsed over the following centuries: “On the eve of the First World... [Global economics] [Globalization]
Way back in 1997, Peter Berkowitz published a review of David Walsh’s The Growth of the Liberal Soul. It’s a notable title, since one of the charges of post-liberals is that liberalism has no soul. But Walsh’s thesis is worth revisiting ... [liberalism]

January 18, 5AM

Mention the “public,” and you’re liable to be greeted with lamentation and hand-wringing. Citizenship isn’t what it used to be. No one participates in public events any more. Once upon a time, we were active citizens. Now we bowl a... [public life]


The following summarizes the structural analysis of Isaiah found in David Dorsey’s Literary Structyre of the Old Testament. Like most of the books of the Old Testament, Dorsey finds that Isaiah is organized in a sevenfold pattern: A.Condemnation, pl... [Bible - OT - Isaiah]

January 17, 4AM

The king of Judah is panicked, and all Jerusalem with him (Isaiah 7). Judah has been invaded by the combined armies of Pekiah, King of Israel, and Rezin, King of Aram. They have come against Jerusalem and are besieging it, but they cannot conquer it. But ... [Bible - OT - Isaiah]

January 16, 5AM

Edward Luce (Retreat of Western Liberalism) can’t quite believe he’s saying what he’s saying. It feels like heresy, treason. How can a convinced liberal bring himself to talk about liberalism’s retreat or demise? “To a person... [liberalism]


Isaiah’s name – “Yah saves” – is reassuring, and his message of rescue and salvation is a reassuring message because during Isaiah’s time, Judah needs saving, and they need saving again and again. There are many evils in Judah... [Bible - OT - Isaiah]

January 15, 4AM

2 Chronicles 18 is the story of Ahab and Jehoshaphat’s war with the Arameans at Ramoth-gilead. The battle occupies only a brief portion at the end. Most of the chapter is taken up with the kings’ consultation of prophets. After a brief introdu... [Bible - OT - Chronicles]

January 12, 7AM

In The Breaking of Nations, Robert Cooper observes that “the spread of the technology of mass destruction represents a potentially massive redistribution of power away from the advanced industrial (and democratic) states towards smaller states that ... [Globalization] [International Politics] [terrorism]
Our entertainment-drenched culture is a reflection of the colonizing power of liberalism. Liberalism is a drive for unlimited freedom, and any inequality or hierarchy stands in the way. Even the distinction between superior and inferior ways of life is an... [Entertainment] [liberalism]


“All that exists consists of force and matter,” says atheistic materialism. Very well, replies Vladimir Solovyev (Lectures on Godmanhood, 81-2). Let’s assume that is true and see where it leads. “Force” and “matter,R... [Materialism] [Vladimir Solovyev]
Few accepted at face value the inflated claim that 1989 brought us to the “end of history” (Fukuyama), where democratic capitalism was left with an ideological monopoly. Still, many operated on the assumption that globalized trade would make the world... [capitalism] [Globalization]


Materialism is “good news,” according to Stephen Greenblatt, since it shows us the truth of “human insignificance” and dispels enchantment. We’re liberated from sacred boundaries to do what we like. Rusty Reno, who quotes thi... [Materialism]
Paul Gottfried (After Liberalism) points out that liberalism doesn’t mean one thing. It “has not been allowed to keep any fixed and specific meaning. It has signified dramatically different and even opposed things at different times and places in the ... [liberalism]
In his Lectures on Godmanhood, Vladimir Solovyev isolated the inner contradiction of 19th-century conceptions of human  nature. On the one hand, “contemporary man is aware that he is internally free, deems himself to be higher than any external pri... [Materialism] [Vladimir Solovyev]

January 11, 5AM

Many commentators have noted the similarities between Josiah’s death (2 Chronicles 35) and that of Ahab (2 Chronicles 18). Christine Mitchell argues, however, that commentators often miss the irony of the Chronicler’s account, and some of the ... [Bible - OT - Chronicles]


Robert Heimburger’s God and the Illegal Alien is a careful, theologically-informed treatment of American immigration law. He provides detailed overviews of the development of immigration law, including the origins of the concept of a legal “al... [Immigration]

January 10, 4AM

In his monograph on Aliens in Medieval Law, Keechang Kim notes that the distinction of citizen and “alien” replaced the earlier binary of “free” and “unfree” during the later middle ages. He cites John Fortescue’s... [Immigration] [Law] [Medieval Thought]

January 9, 5AM

Yuri Slezkine opens his book, The Jewish Century (11-12),  with the arresting claim that “The Modern Age is the Jewish Age, and the twentieth century, in particular, is the Jewish Century. ” He makes good on the claim with brief glimpses of... [Judaism] [modernity]


Pierre-Simon Ballanche (1776-1847) is hardly a household name today, but he was a significant literary figure in 19th-century France. Albert Joseph George calls him a “precursor to romanticism,” and he was an eccentrically Christian advocate f... [Crime] [Prison Reform]

January 8, 8AM

by Peter Leithart via Leithart (#101419)
We all know the story. Wise men come from the east, following a star to Jerusalem. They tell King Herod they’re looking for the “king of the Jews.” Like the rest of Jerusalem, Herod is troubled, not thrilled, by the news. To Herod, another king must... [Epiphany] [Political Theology]


The Chronicler leaves out all the juicy stories of David’s career – some of his major battles, his youthful heroism, Saul’s persecution, adultery, murder, household disintegration. David isn’t perfect, but he’s cleaned up eno... [Bible - OT - Chronicles]

January 5, 8AM

We live in an Age of Anger, writes Pankaj Mishra. He sees it everywhere: “wars in Ukraine and the Middle East, suicide bombings in Belgium, Xinjiang, Nigeria and Turkey, insurgencies from Yemen to Thailand, massacres in Paris, Tunisia, Florida, Dhak... [Uncategorized]


George Monbiot notes the individualization of entertainment (Out of the Wreckage): “Television, while it tended to shut down conversation, at least was something that we watched, in the early days, together. Now we often watch is alone. We spend hou... [Individualism] [media]
Keith Bodner examines the story of Elisha and the bears in his Elisha’s Profile in the Book of Kings (58-9). He observes that the boys’ insult “go up, you bald head” is ironic: “Elisha is mocked for his head, having just lo... [Bible - OT - Kings]


In a 2008 essay in Policy Review, PayPal founder Peter Thiel analyzes an “optimistic thought experiment” about globalization. The root idea is “apocalypse,” mostly of the secular variety. Thiel thinks that political actors and in... [Finance] [Globalization] [speculation]
Rene Girard (I Saw Satan Fall Like Lightning) quotes Colossians 2:14-15, and makes this observation: “The principal metaphor is triumph in the Roman sense, which is the reward that Rome bestowed on its victorious generals. Standing on his chariot, t... [Bible - NT - Colossians] [Cross] [Rene Girard]
George Monbiot (Out of the Wreckage) points out that both our travel to work and our work itself undermines community: “The activities that once brought us together now drive us apart” (60). People used to travel to work on buses and trains, b... [Business] [Work]


After defeating the Cushite invader Zerah, Asa leads Judah in covenant renewal (2 Chronicles 15:8-15). The people assemble in Jerusalem, offer sacrifice, and enter a covenant to seek Yahweh with all their heart and soul, on pain of death. Verse 14 says th... [Bible - OT - Chronicles] [music]
Trust in the major institutions of modern society has declined dramatically over the past several decades. George Monbiot cites an Edelman Corporation survey of 28 countries that found that “fewer than 50 per cent of respondent now trust mainstream... [education]
Robert Kuttner’s NYRB review of Gareth Dale’s Karl Polanyi: A Life on the Left highlights Polanyi’s relevance to contemporary global politics and economics. Kuttner observes that the “period between the two world wars, free-marke... [Karl Polanyi]

January 4, 5AM

The Chronicler gathers all Israel – indeed, a cross section of ancient humanity – on the opening pages of his chronicle. The genealogy is a great, inter-generational qahal (assembly), and the Chronicler is the Qoheleth, the Gatherer. As soon a... [Bible - OT - Chronicles]
In his forthcoming The Left Behind, Princeton sociologist Robert Wuthnow tries to penetrate past the headlines and stereotypes to discover the truth about, his subtitle has it, decline and rage in rural America. Wuthnow didn’t drop into flyover coun... [American culture] [Rural America]

January 3, 4AM

James R. Rogers offers a useful taxonomy of contemporary conservative critiques of globalization. He defines globalization as “decreasing costs to capital and labor mobility. Mobility across, but also within, national borders.” Alternatively, ... [conservatism] [Globalization]

January 2, 4AM

In his Religious Philosophy of Vladimir Solovyov, Jonathan Sutton lays out Solovyov’s (Solovyev; Soloviev) conception of “free theocracy.” For Solovyov, “the realization of the Kingdom of God on earth is presented as an ordering o... [Russian Orthodoxy] [Vladimir Solovyov]
In a contribution to The Chronicler as Author, Ehud Ben Zvi reviews five statements about Israel from foreigners in the book of Chronicles. The foreigners are Huram of Tyre, the Queen of Sheba, Sennacherib, Neco king of Egypt, and Cyrus the Persian. The ... [Bible - OT - Chronicles]

December 29, 4AM

If the past few years are any guide, we’re in for a wild ride in 2018. From Pyongyang’s nukes to Hollywood casting calls, from China’s rise to the EU’s breakup, from street battles in Charlottesville and massacres in Vegas to the president’s Twi... [Globalization]
It’s difficult to imagine two books on the same topic more different than the two under review here. Though both have “Jane Austen” in the title, they diverge in sources, methods, aims, conclusions, interests, and style. Paula Hollingsworth—a prie... [Jane Austen]

December 28, 5AM

Proverbs 30 contains seven enumerated lists, which are punctuated with shorter proverbs: A.Agur: Stupider than any man, vv 2-4 B. The word of God, vv 5-6 1.Two requests, vv 7-9 (don’t slander a slave, v 10) 2. Four generations, vv 11-14 3. Two/three dau... [Bible - OT - Proverbs]
Four times in Isaiah 9-10, the Lord repeats that same threat: “In spite of all this His anger does not turn away, and His hand is still stretched out.” And then again, “In spite of all this, His anger does not turn away, and His hand is still stretc... [Bible - OT - Isaiah]

December 27, 5AM

Who is the main character of the Passion story? Jesus, of course. But who is Jesus? Who was tried by Pontius Pilate, tortured, and crucified? That is the central question in all the debates about the incarnation in the early church. Those early debates go... [Cross] [incarnation]

December 26, 5AM

Search Google Images for “apocalypse,” and a wildly colorful page will pop up. There are several renditions of the four horses of John apocalypse charging across a fiery landscape. In another picture, a black helicopter buzzes past an Oriental fishing... [apocalypse] [incarnation]

December 22, 5AM

Micah’s prophecy begins with an advent, a theophany, of Yahweh.  Yahweh rises from His palace-temple (1:2) to tread down the heights of the earth (1:3). At His coming, this too too solid world melts and turns watery, formless and void (1:4). Mountains ... [BIble - OT - Micah] [Christmas] [incarnation]

December 21, 5AM

Some of the most passionate passages of the Old Testament are lamentations over Moab (Isaiah 15-16; Jeremiah 48). Why so much space and energy for a relatively obscure nation? We can find the reason by glancing at the history of Moab. Philistia is better ... [Bible - OT - Jeremiah]


Like many Catholic thinkers, Charles Taylor sees the Reformation as a crucial movement in the formation of the “secular age” of his most recent most massive title. Little of his discussion is absolutely new, but it is pithy and freshly stated, not to ... [protestantism] [secularism]

December 20, 8PM

A little Christmas fluff, inspired by a 2008 NPR report. Thanks to my son Woelke for pointing me to the original story. Act 1 Phone ringing on an empty desk. Enter Santa Jeff, dressed in a red jacket and wearing a white beard. He answers the phone. Santa ... [Poetry & Stories]


On a misty morning in 1703, Peter stood with advisors and surveyed the network of islands that made up the only land mass around the area. As Orlando Figes describes the scene in his magnificent Natasha’s Dance, “With his bayonet he cut two strips of ... [poetry] [Pushkin] [Russia]

December 19, 5AM

No area of Christian theology has been subjected to more Enlightened scorn than eschatology. Eschatology is myth to end all myth, superlatively mythological: All human beings ever will stand before the enthroned Jesus at a final judgment, some transfigure... [eschatology] [Poetics]


Four things puzzle Agur the son of Jakeh, elusive author of Proverbs 30: eagles in the sky, serpents on rocks, ships on the sea, and “the way of a man with a maid” (v. 19). Agur is thinking of the mysteries of attraction and passion. There are plenty ... [Bible - OT - Song of Songs]

December 18, 4AM

Paul Veyne, When Our World Became Christian, 312-394 (trans. Janet Lloyd; Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2010). Paperback, 248 pages; $24.95. Paul Veyne is one of France’s leading classical scholars, an Honorary Professor at the College de France and author of ... [Constantine] [Europe]

December 15, 7AM

Doug Jones won a “stunning” victory in the Alabama Senate race. It was a stinging “rebuke” to Trump. Those were the headlines following the raucous Alabama Senate runoff on Tuesday. Jones is the first Democratic Senator in Alabama ... [alabama] [American Politics]
Augustine, Paula Fredriksen found (Augustine and the Jews), radically revised the common Christian views on the Old Testament and Judaism, embodied in the adversus Iudaeos tradition that stretched back to Justin’s treatises against Trypho the Jew. It st... [augustine]
Post-liberal movements in Europe are often denounced as “fascist,” “racist,” or “far-right.” Timothy Less disputes this. Populist parties – “France’s National Front, the Alternative for Germany, the Danish... [Europe] [liberalism]


Why would God bring the Savior into the world through a female virgin? Anselm offers some answers (Cur Deus Homo, 323-4): “is extremely appropriate that, just as the sin of mankind and the cause of our damnation originated from a woman, correspondin... [Anselm] [incarnation]
Following the death of his first wife, Dostoevsky reflected on immortality, a meditation that led him into political musings on “socialism,” religious and secular. His premise, exemplified in his own brutal treatment of his wife, is that Ego c... [Dostoevsky] [socialism]
One of the key threads of Pecknold’s story (in Christianity and Politics) is the “migration” of the Christian notion of the mystical body. Henri de Lubac first demonstrated that between patristic period and the high middle ages, the term had moved f... [Eucharist] [Political Theology]


At the beginning of Cur Deus Homo (p. 260), Anselm commends his work to Urban II. In the process, he both commends the Fathers of the church, and suggests that they did not answer every question. First, the commendation: “Many of our holy Fathers ... [Anselm] [theology]
In an 1880 speech at the Pushkin Festival, Dostoevsky reflected on the destiny of Russia. The Westernizing reforms of Peter the Great didn’t just introduce Western Engineering and fashion into Russia. Peter set the universal mission of the Russian p... [Dostoevsky] [Russia]
In The Limits of Power, Andrew Bacevich (a West Point graduate) has argued that we cannot disconnect our foreign policy from our “domestic dysfunction.” Bacevich notes that US foreign policy is driven by a belief in “liberty,” but liberty defined ... [American Military] [American Politics] [foreign policy]

December 14, 5AM

The question here is not, Did Allah create? The question is, Is it conceivable that a god like Allah could create the world? Does it make any sense to say that an absolutely sovereign but Unitarian god created the universe? Our first reaction might be: Wh... [Creation] [Islam]


Anselm is sometimes accused of deleting the devil from the story of atonement. His satisfaction theory is said to displace and replace the Christus Victor theology of the church fathers, and in so doing to replace and displace Jesus’ conquest of the... [Anselm] [Atonement] [Satan]

December 13, 4AM

Evangelicals commonly say things like, God would have been perfectly just if He had sent the whole of sinful humanity to hell. Anselm would beg to differ. God created “rational beings” so that “through rejoicing in him, it might be bless... [Anselm]

December 12, 5AM

Boso, Anselm’s interlocutor in Cur Deus Homo, cites a collection of New Testament texts, and concludes: “Christ endured death under the compulsion of obedience, rather than through the intention of his own free will” (276). Anselm denies... [Anselm] [Atonement]


Three waves of Gentiles flood Judah in the book of Isaiah. The first threat is from Aram and Israel, from Syria and the Northern kingdom. Assyria is the rising power to the east, and that power is threatening to overrun the nations to the west of Assyri... [Bible - OT - Isaiah]

December 11, 4AM

Should we expect our political leaders to be saints? There’s a case for saying No. We might begin by making a distinction between private morality and the use of public authority. The ethical question that’s relevant to a political leader is... [American Politics] [Political Theology]

December 8, 7AM

In what Rosenstock-Huessy calls “the dead universe” of nature, “time gallops ‘like water, flung from cliff to cliff’ and is never present” (In the Cross of Reality, 250). This means that “we get to know time only ... [Rosenstock-Huessy] [Time]
Philip Terzian isn’t much disturbed by the tumult in the Republican Party. He concedes that the Party is going through some changes, whose outcome remains to be seen: “The coalition that propelled Donald Trump into the White House may be a har... [American Politics]
In his Death, Burial, and Rebirth in the Religions of Antiquity, Jon Davies attends to the communal significance of the deaths of biblical patriarchs. He writes, “Jacob is gathered ‘unto his people,’ not explicitly unto his God. On the order... [Bible] [death]


Julie Bindel’s study of The Pimping of Prostitution takes a sustained, unrelenting look behind the veil of what’s euphemistically called “sex work.” According to the TLS reviewer, Bindel’s study is based on “interview... [prostitution] [sex trafficking] [sexual abuse]
“We encounter reality only if we approach it on all the paths which we, as creatures, can tread,” writes Rosenstock-Huessy (In the Cross of Reality, 230). He’s commending his quadrilateral cross of reality, arguing that we must pursue t... [Rosenstock-Huessy] [Sociology]
CP Snow’s famously complained about the divergence between “two cultures” of humanism and science. Among Romantic poets, the humanist resistance to science is best exemplified by Blake. As Algis Valiunas observes, Blake’s “un... [poetry] [Romanticism] [science]


“Once upon a time,” writes Anthony Madrid, “there were two traditions in Anglophone poetry. On the one hand, there was poetry that was completely easy to understand and whose elegance depended on translucent phrases and straightforward s... [poetry]
Considering the roots of contemporary “new nationalism,” David Goldman contrasts the biblical roots of Anglo-American nationalism with the mythical roots of German nationalism. He suggests that Christianity faces a “conundrum,” sin... [myth] [nationalism]
John Frame is engaged in a battle over “classical theism” or “scholasticism” as articulated by James Dolezal (about whom I’ve written here). Leave the terminology aside. Frame gets to the heart of the question, and gets it ri... [Classical Theism] [John Frame]

December 7, 5AM

Isaiah reads like a “greatest hits” of Messianic prophecy. Isaiah prophesies the birth of the Messiah: “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (I... [Bible - OT - Isaiah]
Christian conceptions of prophecy are sometimes a mish-mash of ancient and modern conceptions. Plato thought prophecy a form of divine madness, somehow analogous to the madness of poetry and love. In the Phaedrus, Socrates says:”The divine madness w... [Prophecy]

December 6, 4AM

At the climax of John’s prologue he announces the beginning of the gospel: The Word became flesh. John has already told us a good bit about that word. The Word was “in the beginning.” John refers to the opening verse of the Bible, where we learn tha... [Advent] [Bible - NT - John]

December 5, 5AM

“The power of procreation and the power of conviction together confer on us, thanks to marriage, the combine strength of making epochs.” So writes Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy (In the Cross of Reality, 212). Marriage infuses new life into society, ... [Marriage] [Rosenstock-Huessy]


The Chronicler’s brief, undetailed account of the reign of Jotham begins and ends formulaically. “Jotham was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem,” we learn in 2 Chronicles 27:1. Seven verses later,... [Bible - OT - Chronicles]

December 4, 4AM

Armen Avanessian’s Present Tense: A Poetics is an intricate, illuminating study of the uses of tenses in fiction, and the changes in the uses of the past and present tense in the novels of high modernists. Käte Hamburger’s work sets the term... [fiction] [Time]

December 1, 7AM

Nicholas Cook (Music: A Very Short Introduction) observes that “Advertisers use music to communicate meanings that would take too long to put into words, or that would carry no conviction in them.” To illustrate, he cites a 1992 Prudential commer... [Advertising] [music]
On the fourth Sunday of Advent, 1511, a Dominican friar, Antonio de Montesinos, preached a sermon to the Spanish colonists in the main church of Santo Domingo. Bartolome de Las Casas was in the congregation that day, and the rest, as the say, is history. ... [Advent]
In Local Justice, Jon Elster discusses various principles that guide the allocation of resources in local settings. One of the common principles is “absolute equality,” which he thinks is defensible on various grounds: “Even when there i... [equality]


For Luther, faith isn’t mere assent to truth, nor even confidence and trust in a distant savior. As David Fink puts it, “Faith . . . becomes the unitive force,” or, in Luther’s words, it “takes hold of Christ and has Him pre... [justification] [Luther] [Union with Christ]
Speech exists that we may “lovingly create names,” writes Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy (In the Cross of Reality, 149). “Speaking is always courting” (149). Courtrooms exist for those times when speech falters. In a courtroom, speech tur... [philosophy] [Rosenstock-Huessy]
Jay Zysk’s Shadow and Substance is a recent contribution to a growing literature linking early modern theology with early modern drama. Zysk focuses on the ways Reformation disputes about the Eucharist play into plays, how Eucharistic semiotics shap... [Coriolanus] [Eucharist] [Reformation] [Shakespeare]


In his analysis of Luther’s treatment of Galatians (in Reformation Readings of Paul), David Fink gives a brief overview of pre-Reformation interpretations of the letter. Jerome said that the letter “is concerned especially with establishing th... [Bible - NT - Galatians] [Patristics] [Reformation]
Vico’s claim that verum et factum convertuntur, “the true and the made are convertible,” has been taken as a sign of the foundational atheism of modernity. Benedict XVI sees Vico’s claim as a secularization, a turn from the uncreat... [Trinity] [Vico]
“Liberals and communists,” writes Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy (In the Cross of Reality), “have in common that they wish to make do without church and dogma, and indeed without faith. . . . reason is enough, for we can say what we think”... [credit] [liberalism] [Rosenstock-Huessy]

November 30, 5AM

Amid the swirl of sexual harassment charges, Claire Dederer asks what we ought to do with the art of monstrous men. It’s not a side issue. Many of the geniuses in the history of art have been monstrous. Dederer even ventures that monstrosity is inh... [art] [ethics]


Things are not as they should be, and Judah calls for Yahweh to descend to help. Rip the heavens, shake the earth, boil the sea; tear the three-story house of the universe apart brick by brick, but come down to help! (Isaiah 64). Judah has come to acknowl... [Bible - OT - Isaiah]

November 29, 5AM

The following is snipped from my essay in The Words of the Wise are like Goads. The imagery of Ecclesiastes 7 hooks back to the imagery of Lady Folly from the early chapters of Proverbs, the exhortation to delight in the woman you love leans toward the So... [Bible - OT - Ecclesiastes]

November 28, 4AM

Calum Carmichael is one of the most inventive biblical scholars around. He has made his career with studies of the interaction of narrative and law in the Old Testament, arguing, for instance, that the Levitical rules of consanguinity represent judgments ... [Bible - OT - Leviticus]
The bulk of the Chronicler’s account of the reign of Abijah (2 Chronicles 13) is taken up with a long speech by the king, delivered before a battle with Jeroboam of Israel. Standing on Mount Zemaraim (“Twin Peaks”) he calls Israel to re... [Bible - OT - Chronicles]

November 27, 4AM

For some, the “two kingdoms” political theology of Luther and Calvin is the essence of Reformation political theology. Francis Oakley argues (Watershed of Modern Politics) that it was an unstable early position that later Reformers couldn... [Political Theology] [Reformation] [Two Kingdoms]

November 22, 5AM

Thanksgiving was clearly a part of the liturgical life of the early Christians. In talking about tongues, Paul says that one who does not know the tongue cannot join in the “Amen” at the eucharistia , since he cannot understand what has been said (1... [Bible - NT - 1 Corinthians] [grace] [Thanksgiving]

November 21, 5AM

The history of the world, proponents of liberalism argue, is the history of the struggle for freedom, the struggle between freedom and slavery. Democracy also sees history as a struggle, in this case the struggle to establish the power of the people. As R... [liberalism]


Below is a portion of my opening comments at an ETS session on “public legacies of the Reformation,” presented on November 16, 2017. I was asked to identify the legacies of the Reformation that help us face the emerging challenges of the prese... [liberalism] [Reformation]

November 20, 4AM

Ryszard Legutko’s The Demon in Democracy is a bracing read. Legutko, a Polish philosopher and member of the European Parliament, has lived under both communism and liberalism, and so is unusually well-positioned to articulate his counter-intuitive t... [Communism] [liberalism]

November 17, 7AM

Locke is often seen as the heir to Reformation political theology. Ruben Alvarado (Calvin and the Whigs) begs to differ. Locke was waiting in the wings when Calvinist politics eroded. He writes: “Puritans founded some of the chief colonies in Americ... [American Politics] [Locke]
While in North Korea, President Trump held back on schoolyard insults to Kim Jong-un, and focused on the damage that Kim’s regime has caused to North Koreans: “Far from valuing its people as equal citizens, this cruel dictatorship measures th... [Korea]
Adam Kuper reviewed Emmanuelle Loyer’s Claude Levi-Strauss in a 2016 issue of the TLS. A few noteworthy tidbits. It’s intriguing that the great classifier of kin relations should come from a densely interconnected family: “Lévi-Strauss... [Levi-Strauss]


Adrian Vermeule has a brilliant review of Ryszard Legutko’s Demon in Democracy. He begins with Tocqueville’s observation that the French Revolution “developed into a species of religion” but one without ritual. Legutko, and Vermeu... [liberalism] [liturgy]
In an essay on covenant as a political concept, Daniel Elazar briefly traces the development of covenant, and its relation to natural law, from Philo to Spinoza. Reformed theorists like Althusius loom large, what with their recovery and expansion of the ... [covenants] [Political Philosophy] [Spinoza]
How did everything get politicized – every choice of a favorite beer, every style decision, every nook and cranny of everyday life? Bruce Schulman blames it on Rolling Stone magazine. As he writes, “/the magazine embraced the countercultural i... [Counter-culture]


Albanian isn’t usually considered an important literary language, but Albanian novelist Ismail Kadare explained in an interview with the Paris Review how the language merges classical and modern forms of literary expression: “Albanian is simp... [Albania] [Ismail Kadare]
Infants and toddlers can’t dress, feed, or transport themselves. Yet in the paradoxical world of the Bible, their very weakness makes them strong. One Child, the Davidic one with the government on His shoulders, is strong enough to overthrow Satan. As a... [Advent] [children]
In The Whole Church Sings (41), Robin Leaver summarizes Andreas Karlstadt’s 53 theses against Gregorian chant (1521): “It is a consecutive tirade, not particularly well-organized, against all forms of liturgical music then current, not just G... [music] [Reformation]

November 16, 5AM

Some notes following a discussion about Job with the Theopolis Fellows. 1) Theopolis student John Crawford pointed out that Job is described as blameless (tam) at the outset of the book. It’s the same word used for Noah, Abraham, and Jacob but it i... [Bible - OT - Job]


Children have a high profile already in the Hebrew Bible. Jesus raises the stakes immeasurably. He is the Word made flesh, Word made baby. God speaks His eternal Word in infant flesh, child flesh, boy flesh before He finally speaks it in the crucified fle... [Bible - NT - Gospels] [children]

November 15, 6AM

I have defended Alabama Senate candidate Judge Roy Moore’s  statements about God and law, but his conduct is indefensible. Not only in decades past but in the past week. Four women have charged that Moore made sexual advances when he was thirty-plus ... [alabama] [American Politics]


God created man male and female, blessed them, and commanded them to be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth (Genesis 1:28-29). Procreation is one of the most basic vocations of human beings. The language of “fruitfulness” is originally used of the ... [Bible] [children]

November 14, 5AM

The Peace of Westphalia (1648) has been marked as a turning point in European political history, the origin of the modern international system of sovereign territorial states. Benno Teschke (Myth of 1648) summarizes the thesis: “After 1648, formaliz... [church and state] [Europe] [Peace of Westphalia] [secularization]


Judith Gundry’s contribution to The Child in the Bible examines the place of children in Mark’s gospel, with particular focus on the episode of Jesus blessing the children. It’s an illuminating essay. Mark includes no infancy narratives,... [Bible - NT - Mark] [children]

November 13, 4AM

In his Happiness Paradox, Ziyad Marar explores the sources of “justification.” Humiliation is a uniquely human form of suffering. How do we deal with it? Our strategies for staving off humiliation are strategies of “justification.”... [justification] [Psychology]

November 10, 7AM

Virginia Woolf, atheist though she was, couldn’t avoid religious language when she spoke about her writing. Writing began from “a revelation of some order; it is a token of some real thing behind appearances; and I make it real by putting it i... [Virginia Woolf]
Robert Brandom (Tales of the Mighty Dead, 13-14) observes a continuity between Hegel and Kant: Both take concepts as “norms for judgment. They determine proprieties of application to particulars of terms that, because of the normative role they play... [Hegel] [rationality]
Did the Council of Trent allow communion in both kinds, in bread and wine? The answer is complicated. Nathan Mitchell (Oxford History of Christian Worship, 338-9) writes that “After intense behind-the-scenes negotiations, Pope Pius IV authorized co... [council of trent] [Eucharist] [Roman Catholicism]


Reviewing Carlos Eire’s Reformations at First Things, Eamon Duffy claims that “Protestantism ‘desacralized’ the world by accepting an essentially binary division of reality into spirit and matter. That division was expressed in Ref... [Reformation]
“Stay, you are so fair.” That is the sentence that Mephistopheles tempts Faust to utter in Goethe’s poem. To wish to remain in one moment is to abandon the restlessness of human experience. Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse takes... [Virginia Woolf]
“That the kiss is the icon of intimacy is so obvious it is in danger of becoming a cliché,” writes Ziyad Marar (Intimacy, 33). “How many romantic films end, or at least peak, with that image? The orchestra swells, the hearts melt in one... [Dante] [intimacy] [Rodin]


Nathan Mitchell (writing in the Oxford History of Christian Worship, 324) denies that Zwingli taught a “mere symbolist” according to which the Supper “simply served to remind believers of the great benefits bestowed on them through Chris... [Eucharist] [Reformation] [Zwingli]
Beverly Gaventa (The Child in the Bible) points to the role of speech in Romans. Perverse speech is one of the key symptoms of the world of sin; by the cross and resurrection, Jesus has redeemed speech. She points to the inclusio around chapters 1-3: R... [Bible - NT - Romans]
How did the American federal government expand its power and reach? World War I is often cited as a turning point, but Christopher Capozzola’s Uncle Sam Wants You shows that this expansion wasn’t just a federal project. New forms of political... [American History] [American Politics] [nationalism] [violence] [World War I]

November 9, 5AM

Some years ago, I gave a quiz to college-bound high school students. Take if yourself: Finish the following sentences or phrases: With great power . . . . Hasta la vista . . . . Do the . . . (Dew) Shaken, not . . . . Space, the final . . . . Think outsid... [Bible - NT - 1 John] [pop culture]


The Bible speaks of children from beginning to end, the history it tells is a history of children. To recite the story of children in Scripture would be to recite Scripture. In the beginning: *Adam was born of earth and divine breath, naked as a newborn. ... [Bible] [children]

November 8, 4AM

“Modern” is an invention of the Christian Middle Ages. According to Krishan Kumar (From Post-Industrial to Post-Modern Society), “Modernus, from modo (‘recently’, ‘just now’) was a late Latin coinage on the model of hodiernus (fr... [middle ages] [modernity] [Time]

November 7, 5AM

The description of Solomon’s temple in 1 Kings 6 employs a number of anatomical terms: The temple has a “face” (v. 3), “ribs” (vv. 5, 8), and “shoulders” (7:39). The language makes it clear that already in the OT the temple is “humanifor... [Bible - OT - Kings]


Craig Gay (The Way of the (Modern) World) lucidly traces a line of development from Descartes’ separation of the human subject from the world of objects, through the Cartesian and Newtonian effort to reduce science to mathematics, to the triumph of tech... [Language]

November 6, 4AM

The following is an excerpt from my Brightest Heaven of Invention, published in the misty days of the mid-1990s.  Claudio looks at Hero’s appearance, and concludes she is a maid, a virgin. Because of Don John’s deception, he believes that he has peel... [Shakespeare]

November 3, 7AM

In a TLS exchange with Timothy Williamson on the uses of philosophy, Roger Scruton argues that philosophy’s task is to preserve humanity’s humanity, the subjectivity that sets us apart from the rest of the world. Philosophy mans the boundaries... [philosophy]
Rosenstock-Huessy begins his sociology with a lengthy discussion of the spaces of play. His premise is that “in play, it transpires that we anticipate the experiences of real life.” A little girl marries her boy doll to her girl doll. A boy en... [play] [Rosenstock-Huessy]
Kathryn Schulz observes that “One of the strangest things about the human mind is that it can reason about unreasonable things. It is possible, for example, to calculate the speed at which the sleigh would have to travel for Santa Claus to deliver a... [fantasy] [Walt Disney]


Rosenstock-Huessy scoffs at the notion of presuppositionless sociology (Sociology, vol. 1, 26). In a moving tribute to the life and work of Saint Simon, he argues that, on the contrary, “Everything known to sociology is known only because suffering ... [Rosenstock-Huessy] [Sociology]
Anthony Lane doesn’t much like George Clooney’s 1950s black comedy, Suburbicon. One of the story-lines focuses on the Mayerses, a black family, who move into the Suborbicon neighborhood. All hell breaks loose: “The mailman is astounded.... [film] [Race]
In the early years of Joash, the house of David hangs by a thread (2 Chronicles 23). Its entire future rests in a baby, Joash son of Ahaziah, whom Jehoiada the priest rescues from Athaliah’s slaughter to be raised among the priests. By every empirical m... [Bible - OT - Chronicles]


Charlotte Methuen’s TLS review essay of recent books on the Reformation is the best one-stop summary of recent scholarship I’ve seen during this season of Ref500 commemorations. In the recent biographies of Luther, you can find Luther the medi... [Reformation]
“All theory is eye-obsessed,” writes Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy in the recently published first volume of his Sociology (3). Theoria is a vision-rooted concept, and a theory attempts to grasp the “idea” of the matter by looking at th... [Rosenstock-Huessy] [Sociology]
Andrew Ferguson reviews Sally Quinn’s memoir, Finding Magic, explaining how Quinn transformed society reporting to become “one of the channels through which the revolution of the 1960s entered Washington and remade the city and American poli... [American Politics] [Journalism] [Sixties]

November 2, 5AM

In a wide-ranging, informative overview of US interests in Africa, Matthew Taylor King summarizes the optimistic narrative of African productivity that emerged in the early 2000s: “In any given year, in a list of the world’s top ten economic perfo... [africa] [African Christianity]


In that seventh year, Jehoiada the priest organizes a covenant renewal that will restore the Davidic kingdom. He places the boy king Joash on the throne (2 Chronicles 23). The covenant renewal is a double or even a triple covenant renewal. The first coven... [Bible - OT - Chronicles]

November 1, 4AM

For a week in early October, it looked as if my college football fantasy – or nightmare – might be realized. The three teams I root for all looked as if they might be heading for the NCAA playoff. Yes, I root for three college football teams. I suffer... [football]

October 31, 5AM

On Oct. 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses, a list of propositions aimed at problems in the Roman Catholic Church, to the door of the university church in Wittenberg, Germany. He wanted to start a theological debate. Instead, he started the Refo... [Reformation] [Reformational Catholicism]


The following is excerpted from my study of Jane Austen’s novels, Miniatures and Morals. Pride and Prejudice begins with two young, handsome, wealthy men moving into the neighborhood, intent, or so Mrs. Bennet believes, on finding pretty wives. New ... [Jane Austen]

October 30, 4AM

Protestants often focus on the doctrinal issues of the Reformation, but right teaching about justification wasn’t the only issue at stake. The question was, Who is the bearer of Jesus’ kingdom? Or, Which church is the true church? That just raises... [Bible - OT - Chronicles] [Reformation]

October 27, 7AM

Nationalism is sometimes presented today as an antidote to the corrosions of modern political order, globalization, secularism. That’s an odd twist, since nationalism was born from the same fires as revolution. James Billington writes (Fire in the M... [French Revolution] [nationalism]
Nicholas Thompson ( Eucharistic Sacrifice And Patristic Tradition In The Theology Of Martin Bucer 1534-1546 ) stresses the importance of the second great commandment for Martin Bucer’s Eucharistic reforms: “love of neighbour necessarily implied the ... [Eucharist] [Martin Bucer] [Reformation]
For centuries, the history of the Reformation has been written by confessional historians who want to defend their own confessional tradition against the rivals. Lutheran historians make Luther the central character and have demonized the Swiss Reformed, ... [Reformation]


Jehoiada leads Judah in a three-sided covenant. Judah’s communal life is articulated, ordered. It’s not simply Yahweh-with-a-mass of Israelites. It’s Yahweh with Jehoiada the priest, Joash the king, and the people of Judah. Covenant cons... [Bible - OT - Chronicles]
Seizing power doesn’t make a revolution. When you seize speech, then you’ve got a chance at total revolution. Writing of the French Revolution, James Billington writes (Fire in the Minds of Men, 34-5), ” four-letter outbursts of the you... [French Revolution] [Language]


You could find anything in the cafes of the Palais Royal in the last decades of the eighteenth century: “Distinctions of rank were obliterated, and men were free to exercise sexual as well as political freedom. In the course of a single visit, one m... [French Revolution] [sacred]
Toward the end of Corpus Mysticum, Henri de Lubac says that one of the most serious results of the shifts in Eucharistic theology he examines is “the devaluation of symbols.” Augustine’s entire theology was about “signs” and ... [Eucharist] [imagination] [Trinity]
“In the summer of 1789, absolute monarchy and aristocratic authority were overthrown forever in the most powerful kingdom,” writes James Billington in Fire in the Minds of Men (20). If something happens, it must be possible. Just so: The Fren... [French Revolution]

October 26, 4AM

Josiah’s death is a reverse exodus because it’s first an inverted Passover. Zechariah describes a scene of mourning like the “mourning on the plain of Megiddo,” a reference to the death of Josiah (Zechariah 12:11). But the mourning Zechari... [Bible - OT - Chronicles]
Was the American Revolution a Revolution? Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy (ERH) concludes it was a “half-revolution” rather than a total revolution on the scale of the Russian, French, Puritan, Reformation, and Papal revolutions. Evaluating the revolutionary... [American Revolution] [Rosenstock-Huessy]

October 25, 4AM

Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy claims that the German Reformation qualifies for inclusion as one of the epochal revolutions of Western history (Out of Revolution). This is so partly because the German Reformation gave to Europe a new social role, the civil serva... [Luther] [Reformation] [Rosenstock-Huessy]

October 24, 5AM

The following is an excerpt from Peter Leithart’s forthcoming two-volume commentary on Revelation (T&T Clark). You must prophesy again concerning many peoples and nations and tongues and kings,” a voice tells John (Rev. 10:11). Then someone gi... [Bible - NT - Revelation] [Preaching]


The following is an excerpt from the introduction to my Deep Comedy (Canon, 2006). Viewed as a whole,  the Christian account of history is eschatological not only in the sense that it comes to a definitive and everlasting end, but in the sense that the e... [comedy] [derrida] [Trinity]

October 23, 4AM

“To date,” writes Norbert Elias in his Essay on Time, “enquiries into the sociology of time are almost non-existent” (38). This deficit, he suggests, is due to a dichotomy of the natural and human worlds, a dichotomy reflected in acade... [Norbert Elias] [Time]

October 20, 7AM

David VanDrunen, has worked out an understanding of natural law and the “two kingdoms” Christologically. He writes, “The Son of God rules the temporal kingdom as an eternal member of the Divine Trinity but does not rule it in his capacity as the in... [natural law] [Two Kingdoms]
Benedict rejects the notion that Catholic social theory treats social and political institutions – the state, the economy, civil society, for instance – as – autonomous, extrinsically-related “subjects” with different logics. On this view, the e... [Benedict XVI] [Catholic Social Teaching] [love]
Robert Bellamy states the thrust of his “republican defense of constitutional democracy” up front (Political Constitutionalism, viii). He rejects the common assumption that “a written, justiciable constitution, incorporating a bill of... [constitution] [democracy] [Political Theory]


Adam Kirsch can’t bring himself to say that poet Richard Wilbur, who died last weekend, was a Christian. In a 2004 New Yorker review, he comes close – recognizing religious themes and describing him as a “Transcendentalist.” Kirsch... [poetry] [richard wilbur]
In Benedict XVI: A Guide for the Perplexed (33-4), Tracey Rowland takes note of the Pope’s sharp critique of popular music, including contemporary Christian music. Benedict “quotes Adorno’s judgement that ‘the fundamental characteristic of... [Benedict XVI] [music]
Evolutionary theorists want to present evolution as a theory of everything. Benedict XVI (Truth and Tolerance, 180-1) doesn’t buy it. Philosophically, the question is “whether reason, or rationality, stands at the beginning of all things and i... [Benedict XVI] [evolution] [rationality] [reason]


Oakley, Kingship, 90-1. the Augustine whom one usually encounters in the Latin Middle Ages is the Augustine of the City of God only insofar as that work was reinterpreted in light of the tracts he wrote during the course of his long and bitter struggle ag... [augustine] [middle ages] [Political Theology]
Gaul is still divided into three parts, according to Stefan McDaniel in a 2016 essay in First Things. Three parties are vying to determine the future of France – deconstructionists, children of 1968; reconstructionists, in search for new values to g... [France]
In Truth and Tolerance, Benedict XVI argues that the Western world is in a crisis that can only be solved if “reason and religion . . . come together again, without merging into each other” (144). He insists this isn’t a matter of protec... [Benedict XVI] [reason]

October 19, 5AM

Dead time, Rosenstock-Huessy says, is entirely a product of the past, a result of a cause. That conception of time works for physics, but it fails to account for the reality of human time, which always involves surprise and a break with the past. Through ... [future] [Rosenstock-Huessy] [Time]


According to the doctrine of the Trinity, the ultimate source of all things, the God in whom we live, move and have our being, is both one and plural, one God in three persons. This has enormous implications for how we think of the world. In ancient philo... [love] [Trinity]

October 18, 4AM

Rosenstock-Huessy believes that God has a unique relationship to time that no human being has, but he describes this unique relationship in ways that are unusual for the Christian tradition. Instead of saying that God is “timeless,” he says that God i... [Rosenstock-Huessy] [Time] [Trinity]

October 17, 5AM

Modernity’s reduction of time to clock-time is not socially or psychically healthy. As Rosenstock-Huessy puts it: “We need the intersecting of many rhythms of time. Our stomach and our consciousness respond to a 24-hour rhythm. Our faith and our h... [calendars] [Rosenstock-Huessy] [Time]


Enlightenment secularism is committed to “freedom” as its overarching value. In an address on “Freedom and Truth” (published in The Essential Pope Benedict XVI), Benedict XVI describes the Enlightenment as a “will to emancipation” (citing Kan... [abortion] [Benedict XVI] [freedom]

October 15, 6PM

The following is an excerpt taken from my Blessed Are the Hungry (Canon, 2000). The Lord’s Supper is the world in miniature; it has cosmic significance. Within it we find clues to the meaning of all creation and all history, to the nature of God and the... [Eucharist]

October 13, 7AM

John of Salisbury, the 12th-century political thinker, called Orosius, author of Seven Books of HIstories against the Pagans, a “disciple of the great Augustine.” It’s true. According to Francis Oakley (Empty Bottles of Gentilism), Orosi... [augustine] [middle ages]
Elizabeth Digeser (Making of a Christian Empire) observes that the Roman emperor Diocletian came to the purple with a disadvantage: He was a usurper. He needed to secure his power, lest another usurp his place. His strategy was to distribute power to a Te... [diocletian] [roman empire]
Thomas argues (ST I, 28, 2) that since “everything which is not the divine essence is a creature” and “relation really belongs to god,” it follows that relation is identical to essence. More fully: “whatever has an accidental... [Thomas Aquinas] [Trinity]


Peter Schjeldahl claims that Auguste Rodin “or his hand, as his mind’s executive—wrenched figurative sculpture from millennia of tradition and sent it tumbling into modernity.” He admits that There’s a stubborn tinge of vulgarity about ... [Rodin] [Sculpture]
“The doctrine of the Trinity is only possible as a piece of baffled theology,” writes Joseph Ratzinger (Introduction to Christianity, 122). This is true in a sheer historical sense: “Every one of the big basic concepts in the doctrine of... [Benedict XVI] [Trinity]
Reviewing two new translations of the Iliad (by Peter Green and Barry Powell), Hayden Pelliccia explores some of the challenges of translating Homer. It starts from the very beginning. Homer writes (in Greek word order): “Wrath sing, goddess, Peleus-... [classics] [homer] [Iliad]


The responses to the Nobel selection of Kazuo Ishiguro for the 2017 literature prize drew mixed, underwhelmed  responses. Someone wrote that he wasn’t awarded the prize for any recent books. The Paris Review, though, posted an old interview to cel... [Kazuo Ishiguro] [literature]
In Introduction to Christianity, Joseph Ratzinger explains how the dogma of the Trinity emerged from early Christian experience. The apostles discovered that “in Jesus Christ one meets a man who at the same time knows and professes himself to be the... [Benedict XVI] [Trinity]
Peter Brown reviews of Sarah Ruden’s new translation of Augustine’s Confessions in this weeks New York Review of Books. I can’t speak to the translation, but I can speak to the reviewer: Everything Peter Brown writes is worth reading.... [augustine]

October 12, 5AM

As we would expect, Rosenstock-Huessy assembles his grammatical material into a Cross. With the distinction of words and names in mind, we can see how Rosenstock-Huessy describes the function of speech in human life and society in a quadrilateral manner. ... [Cross] [Language] [Rosenstock-Huessy]


Old Testament purity rules are badly understood, and a host of myths have surrounded them. Here I discuss three. Myth #1: Uncleanness is “dirtiness.” Though there is some overlap between “dirt” and “impurity,” the latt... [Bible - OT - Leviticus] [purity]

October 11, 4AM

One of the key distinctions in Rosenstock-Huessy’s grammatical sociology is that between names and words. In his brief discussion of this distinction in The Christian Future (CF), he begins with an expression of his horror at John Dewey’s notion that ... [Language] [Rosenstock-Huessy]

October 10, 5AM

After the northern tribes abandon the house of David (2 Chronicles 10), Rehoboam settles in Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 11:5). He builds cities for defense and for storage (11:5-12), receives the Levites and priests who flee from idolatrous Israel (11:13-17),... [Bible - OT - Chronicles]


Underlying Rosenstock-Huessy’s entire discussion of the diseases of speech is the assumption that language establishes relations. In this, Rosenstock-Huessy is again assaulting one of the premises of modernity, namely, the centrality of the Ego, a... [Language] [Rosenstock-Huessy]

June 1, 12 PM

In this post,  Dr. Peter Leithart weighs in on the recent debate concerning relationships in the Trinity. Don’t miss Michael Bird’s overview of the debate over at the Logos Academic Blog. Then, visit this blog next Tuesday for an exclusive ... [articles]