French Anthropology

Given the importance of figures like Durkheim, Mauss, and Levi-Strauss in anthropology, it’s surprising to learn that “the French kept anthropology long under the umbrella of sociology, with the first degree in anthropology being awarded in 1968 and the first professional association of . . . . Continue Reading »


William St Clair (TLS May 12) makes the commonsensical point that a history of ideas requires an accompanying social history of reading, which is a history of the publishing trade: “When we read a book or essay called, say, ‘The Age of Wordsworth,’ should we not be concerned that, . . . . Continue Reading »

Schools of Totalitarianism

In his novel The Seizure of Power , Czeslaw Milocz describes one Polish character’s preparation for life under the Soviets by telling the story of his school experience. At first, Peter wrote and thought for himself; he got bad grades and was the source of endless trouble. One day, he wrote . . . . Continue Reading »


Who said this? “What I have said of America applies to almost all the men of our time. Variety is disappearing from the breast of humankind; the same ways of acting, of thinking and of feeling, the same pop songs and fashions, are encountered in all corners of the globe. This does not come . . . . Continue Reading »

Eucharistic Meditation, July 2

2 Kings 24:4: also for the innocent blood which Manasseh shed, for he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood; and Yahweh would not forgive. Manasseh’s reign, as we saw some weeks ago, was the turning point for Judah. After Manasseh’s idolatries and violence, Yahweh determined to destroy . . . . Continue Reading »

Exhortation, July 2

Zedekiah was the last Davidic king in Judah, and like many of his predecessors he “did evil in the sight of Yahweh.” We might imagine he oppressed the people, promoted idolatry, persecuted prophets, ignored God’s commandments and His prophets. We know from the book of Jeremiah . . . . Continue Reading »

Time and Being

Louis Dupre suggests that modern thought is riven by a fundamental tension. On the one hand, the real is still conceived, as it classically has been, as an unchanging order, while on the other hand the subject determines meaning and value. Modern thought, to put it otherwise, is caught between the . . . . Continue Reading »

House of Treasures

Proverbs 15:6, translated according to the original Hebrew order, reads: “In the house of the righteous treasure aplenty; but in the revenue of the wicked disturbance.” Two structures overlap and interact here. There is the chiastic order: A. house B. righteous C. treasure C’. . . . . Continue Reading »

Wise as serpents

Jesus said that we should be wise as serpents, but how are serpents wise? Genesis 3:1 says that the serpent was more “crafty” (ARUM) than any of the beasts of the field, and the same word is used a number of times in Proverbs, often translated as “prudent.” A crafty man . . . . Continue Reading »