Many Christians observe the last few Sundays before Lent as “pre-Lenten” Sundays. This might look slightly daft: After all, Lent is itself a period of preparation for Easter, and if we need a time of preparation for the time of preparation, perhaps we also need a pre-pre-Lent to prepare . . . . Continue Reading »

Post and modernism

Ihab Hassan contrasted modernism and postmodernism by reference to Authority and Anarchy. He suggested, in Kumar’s summary, that postmodernism “involved a tendency toward ‘Indeterminacy,’ a compound of pluralism, eclecticism, randomness and revolt. Indeterminacy also . . . . Continue Reading »

Counter-culture and post-modern

Kumar notes that the 1960s counter-culture set itself against everything in modernism: “Pop art and pop music, the ‘new wave’ in cinema and the ‘new novel’ in literature, thne elision of the boundaries between ‘art’ and ‘life,’ the cultivation . . . . Continue Reading »


Kumar suggests that there is no useful distinction to be made between postmodernity as a socio-political concept and postmodernism as a cultural concept. All the instincts of postmodernists are against such a differentiation of spheres. For postmodernists, it is no longer useful to distinguish . . . . Continue Reading »

Two modernisms

Kumar defines modernism as an intellectual, cultural and artistic revolt against modernity. Yet modernism itself, especially as expressed in architecture, was complex and racked with internal contradictions: “It could denounce the ‘inauthentic’ present in the name of the future, . . . . Continue Reading »

Two modernities?

At least two: The modernity of science and technology, the factory system and city planning, of bureacracy and management. And on the other hand the modernity of sensibility, literature, hedonism, the lust for ever-new experience. On the one hand, Industrialization; on the other, the Romanticism . . . . Continue Reading »

Liquid modernity

“Constant revolutionizing of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation . . . All fixed, fast-frozen relationships . . . are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify.” Zygmunt Bauman? No: Marx and . . . . Continue Reading »

Modernity and antiquity

Kumar suggests that “some of the principal hall-marks of modernity” are already evident in the Christian notions of time and history. Both Christianity and modernity separate time from nature, and humanize time; time is seen by both as “linear and irreversible”; both see . . . . Continue Reading »

First Modernity

The Latin modernus was coined in the late fifth century, as an antonym to antiquus , and variations of modernus became particularly common after the 10th century. Thus, Krishan Kumar writes, “Modernity is . . . an invention of the Christian Middle Ages,” and was used to emphasize the . . . . Continue Reading »