Briefly Noted

From the April 2015 Print Edition

The Moral Arc: How Science and Reason Lead Humanity toward Truth, Justice, and Freedom by michael shermer  henry holt, 560 pages, $32 The world was a dark and gloomy place until the Enlightenment came along, after which people began to think for themselves and break free from the shackles of . . . . Continue Reading »

Letters

From the April 2015 Print Edition

FREUD While “The Back Page” is usually my favorite part of First Things, I must object to David Bentley Hart’s characterization of Freudian psychotherapy as deterministic in “­Roland on Free Will” (February). As a psy­chiatrist who has practiced and taught psychodynamic psycho­therapy . . . . Continue Reading »

Briefly Noted

From the March 2015 Print Edition

Aquinas at Prayer: The Bible, Mysticism and Poetry? by paul murray, o.p. ?bloomsbury, 288 pages, $27.95 How did Thomas Aquinas pray? In Aquinas at Prayer, Paul Murray, O.P., sheds light on Thomas’s more mystical side by commenting on the prayers and liturgical poetry that he wrote as well as . . . . Continue Reading »

Letters

From the March 2015 Print Edition

perplexing pope In “Between Two Synods” (January), George Weigel thoroughly summarizes the 2014 Extraordinary Synod on the Family and the issues at hand for the coming Ordinary Synod of 2015, except for one pressing question: Where is the Holy Father in all the controversy? Reading . . . . Continue Reading »

Briefly Noted

From the February 2015 Print Edition

The Father’s Will: Christ’s Crucifixion and the Goodness of God ?by nicholas e. lombardo, o.p. ?oxford, 288 pages, $99 Sound Christian theology,” writes Nicholas Lombardo, “must keep a clear distance between God’s will and the moral evil of Christ’s . . . . Continue Reading »

Letters

From the February 2015 Print Edition

marriage pledge R. R. Reno writes in “Government Marriage” (December) that he “can’t see how a priest or pastor can in good conscience sign a marriage license for ‘Spouse A’ and ‘Spouse B.’” Then, in support of the Marriage Pledge put forward by . . . . Continue Reading »

Letters

From the January 2015 Print Edition

The purpose of my book, Making Gay Okay, is to see what natural ­reason can tell us about human sexuality and flourishing, most particularly in light of the claims of homosexual activists. It attempts to demonstrate what the consequences are if one abandons a natural law approach. In his . . . . Continue Reading »

Briefly Noted

From the January 2015 Print Edition

Imagine There’s No Heaven: How Atheism Helped Create the Modern World? by mitchell stephens? palgrave macmillan, ?336 pages, $30 In June 1512, John Bukherst, from the village of Staplehurst in Kent, England, was convicted of heresy before the Archbishop of Canterbury. But Bukherst was as much . . . . Continue Reading »

Briefly Noted

From the December 2014 Print Edition

Redeeming “The Prince”: The Meaning of Machiavelli’s Masterpiece ?by maurizio viroli ?princeton, 208 pages, $26.95 In Redeeming the Prince, Maurizio Viroli, professor emeritus of politics at Princeton University and now at the University of Texas, adopts a bold strategy: He dares . . . . Continue Reading »

Letters

UKRAINEJohn P. Burgess’s article “Christian Witness in Ukraine” (October) is flawed in several significant ways. First, he confuses Rus´—a medieval reality—with Russia, a modern one. Imagine François Hollande invading Germany to maintain the “unity of France.” Aix-la-Chapelle (today’s Aachen—in Germany) was indeed the capital of the Frankish realm. But France is hardly the Frankish realm.Confusing Rus´ and Russia is bound to recast Ukrainians as “reluctant Russians.” Thus, even the promotion—and safeguarding—of legitimate Ukrainian distinctiveness will inevitably be seen as “nationalistic” or “separatist.” Of course, trying to revive a “Rus´ realm” might be a nice—even “Christian”—idea if it weren’t for the fact that millions of Ukrainians have been murdered throughout the centuries by those trying to “preserve” such “unity.” Continue Reading »