The Hebraism of Postmodernism, 2

James Smith offers this summary of one strand of Derrida’s essay, “Violence and Metaphysics”: “since philosophy is ‘primarily Greek,’ ‘it would not be possible to philosophize, or to speak philosophically, outside this medium.’ . . . But could one . . . . Continue Reading »

Theology and the Decentered self

Questioning the “self-present” ego did not begin with postmodern skeptics. Pascal already raised the question, what is the ego? and answered, “Suppose a man puts himself at a window to see those who pass by. If I pass by, can I say that he placed himself there to see me? No; for . . . . Continue Reading »

The Virgin Birth and Angry Reviewers

Analyzing Rodney Stark’s treatment of the virgin birth of Jesus in his review of Stark’s latest book, The Victory of Reason (TNR January 6, 2006), Alan Wolfe writes, “Mary’s virgin birth has what [Charles] Freeman calls a ‘shaky’ scriptural basis, given that the . . . . Continue Reading »

Hamlet in the Modern Mind

The following assembles raw material for a lecture on the uses and influence of Hamlet in Western thought over the last two centuries. I was greatly assisted by an essay by Margreta de Grazia, referenced several times in the following and available at . . . . Continue Reading »

The gospel of 1-2 Kings

INTRODUCTION Christians usually think of the book of 1-2 Kings as “historical,” and Jews have long classified it as “prophetic.” For Christians, 1-2 Kings is above all about the gospel. FORMER PROPHET Because the Jewish classification of Kings may be unfamiliar, we should . . . . Continue Reading »

The Hamlet Question

In his history of Russian culture, James Billington notes the influence of Shakespeare’s Hamlet on modern Russian thought and drama. It was “one of the first plays to be regularly performed on the Russian stage,” so that “Hamlet became a kind of testing ground for the . . . . Continue Reading »


Everyone with a more than elementary understanding of how language works knows that words can have different meanings in different contexts. The more intriguing phenomenon, and one exploited by poets and novelists, is that a word can have a different meaning, or a very different referent in a new . . . . Continue Reading »

Textual boundaries

Perhaps we should not call it “intertextuality,” but something like intertextuality is necessary to textual meaning, even at the most basic levels. You cannot read a single sentence without bringing some knowledge of the language to bear on the text. The reader must have information . . . . Continue Reading »

Trinitarian Intertextuality?

The inherently inter-textual character of textual meaning appears to be a reflex of Trinitarian relations. To wit: Each person of the Triune God is God Himself. As the Athanasian creed said, The Father is God, the Son is God, the Spirit is God; yet there are not three gods but one God. The Father . . . . Continue Reading »