Exhortation, July 31

On stage and in movies, revenge stories often end in bloodshed. To avenge herself on her ex-husband Jason for taking another wife, Medea kills her own children. Orestes kills his mother because she murdered his father and her husband, and Hamlet’s attack on his uncle-father Claudius engulfs . . . . Continue Reading »

Abortion and crime

Steven Levitt, an economist at the University of Chicago, argues that various factors have contributed to the surprising decline in crime rates during and since the 1990s, but among these is the legalization of abortion. According to the reviewer in TNR, “After abortion was legalized, a . . . . Continue Reading »

Ancient slavery

S.S. Bartchy offers this important summary of the differences between ancient and American slavery: “Central features that distinguish 1st century slavery from that later practiced in the New World are the following: racial factors played no role; education was greatly encouraged (some slaves . . . . Continue Reading »


Marion points to Husserl’s suggestion that essence and existence are not really different principles but rather “two modes of being in two modes of self-givenness.” This is attractive, and perhaps not incompatible with the Thomistic tradition that sees the distinction of . . . . Continue Reading »

The Reduction

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (online) provides this helpful summary of Merleau-Ponty’s notion of phenomenological reduction: “The transformation of the object of perception into the thought of the object of perception, that is to say, the attempt to reconstitute the world in . . . . Continue Reading »

Holy Kiss

Gordon Smith quotes this from Cyril of Jerusalem: “You must not suppose that this is the usual kind of kiss which ordinary friends exchange when they meet in the street. This kiss is different. By it souls are united with one another and receive a pledge of the mutual forgiveness of all . . . . Continue Reading »

Holy Meal

Gordon Smith’s A Holy Meal , just out from Baker, is the latest (to my knowledge) in a small stream of books on sacramental theology coming from Reformed and evangelical presses. It’s a heartening sign. Smith’s book examines the Eucharist as remembrance, communion, forgiveness, . . . . Continue Reading »

Real Absence

In Housekeeping , Marilynne Robinson observes through he narrator Ruth that absence is actually a more intense form of presence. As long as friends and family are physically empirically here, they are localized and circumscribed. Absent, memory finds them in every nook and cranny - a dead and . . . . Continue Reading »


Jean-Luc Marion points out that “method” comes from the Greek meta-hodos, and explains why phenomenology is not methodological: “The method does not run ahead of the phenomenon, by fore -seeing it, pre -dicting it, and pro -ducing it, in order to await it from the outset at the . . . . Continue Reading »


Byron, a character in Arthur Phillips 2002 novel, Prague (set, of course, in Budapest), presents his theory of advertizing to “LWA’s” - Long Wolf Aspirants. Real Lone Wolfs, he explains, “don’t respond to advertising, but there aren’t more than a dozen of them on . . . . Continue Reading »