Old and new Thomists

Bruce Holsinger gives this summary of the conflict between “traditional” Thomists and the advocates of nouvelle theologie during the early decades of the 20th century: “What infuriated . . . the [traditionalist] neo-Thomists about the nouvelle theologie was what they perceived as . . . . Continue Reading »

Jesus and Covenant of works

In what sense did Jesus fulfill the covenant of works? He is clearly the last Adam (Rom 6), and reverses the work of the first Adam. But unless we assume that Torah is a straightforward republication of the covenant of works, then any claims about Jesus fulfilling the covenant of works has to be . . . . Continue Reading »

Foucault the conservative

Foucault is normally classified as a radical postmodern, but there is a strong “conservative” thrust to his work on the prison and other “disciplinary” mechanisms of the early modern period. His attention is mainly on the social, architectural, and political mechanisms that . . . . Continue Reading »

Architecture of control

One of the key themes of Foucault’s work is an effort to uncover the social conditions of modern individualism. He suggests that the idea that “the model of a society that has individuals as its constituent elements is borrowed from the abstract juridical forms of contract and . . . . Continue Reading »

Politics and visibility

Discussing Bentham’s vision of the panopticon, Foucault notes that Bentham’s vision inverts the relationship of visibility and power. Traditional power was made visible in various sorts of symbols - crowns, robes, rituals; the powerful displayed their power in public, and this public . . . . Continue Reading »

Plague v. Leprosy

Foucault draws an intriguing political contrast between the “rituals of exclusion” that arise with lepers and the “disciplinary confinement” that constituted the response to the plague. Leprosy and its rules of “rejection, of exile-exclusion” produces a . . . . Continue Reading »

Priesthood of Believers

At various points in Discipline and Punish , Foucault notes how monastic discipline provided a model for early modern society forms. Factories were compared to monasteries not only in their organization but also in the spiritual dimension of factory management. Time-tables and rigorous . . . . Continue Reading »

Roofless factory

The “roofless factory” of some contemporary capitalist theory and practice reverses one of the basic drives of modern economic life. Bringing all workers into a single location under a single roof was one of the main features of the early modern factory system, and provided not only the . . . . Continue Reading »

Rome and Modern Discipline

Rome was a model society for Europeans throughout the early modern period. But the Rome that served as a model differed from era to era and from writer to writer. Foucault writes: “the Roman model, at the Enlightenment, played a dual role; in its republican aspect, it was the very embodiment . . . . Continue Reading »

Strange doings in John 21

Some oddities of the narrative of John 21. Peter, we’re told, has stripped, apparently to make it easier to do his fishing. When he hears that Jesus is on the shore, he puts ON his outer robe and throws himself into the sea. As a practical matter, this doesn’t make much sense; . . . . Continue Reading »