More on Hamlet

INTRODUCTION As many critics have pointed out, Act 2 of Hamlet focuses on the efforts of both the “mighty opposites” - Hamlet and Claudius - to spy out the intentions and plans of the other. Thus begins the process of inserting various mediators between the two, all of whom end up dead . . . . Continue Reading »

Watts on Mark 1:1f

Rikki Watts offers some other dimensions to the quotation from Mark 1:1. He notes that Mark is quoting not only from Isaiah 40, but also from Exodus 23 and Malachi 3, and shows how these three texts overlay each other in Mark’s presentation. Exodus 23 is a warning to Israel about the need to . . . . Continue Reading »

Dylan, Merton, and Maritain

Joseph Frank closes his review of two recent books on Maritain and early 20th century Catholicism with this charming scene: “Maritain returned for a last visit to the United States in 1966 to say farewell to old friends and to visit the grave of his sister-in-law Vera buried in Princeton. At . . . . Continue Reading »

Baptismal meditation, Fifth After Epiphany

2 Kings 10:16: And Jehu said, Come with me and see my zeal for the Lord. Jehu leads a bloody revolution that overthrows the house of Ahab. He kills Joram king of Israel and Ahaziah king of Judah. He has Jezebel killed, and orders the decapitation of 70 sons of Ahab. He slaughters 42 members of the . . . . Continue Reading »

Exhortation, Fifth After Epiphany

As Jehu marched toward the capital city of Samaria, he encountered 42 men from the house of David. Jehu took them alive, killed them at a pit at a place called Beth-eked, and then continued on toward Samaria. This incident gives us pause. Jehu was anointed to be the avenger against the house of . . . . Continue Reading »

Actors and poets

Derek Jacobi wrote a foreword for a new Oxfordian biography of Edward de Vere, suggesting that de Vere wrote the plays because the plays were written by an actor and de Vere was an actor. Say what? The TLS reviewer notes that Shakespeare, alone among all the suggested authors of the plays, was an . . . . Continue Reading »

Dumb show

John Dover Wilson puzzles over Hamlet, Act 3, where Claudius is apparently unaffected by the dumb show that re-enacts his murder of Hamlet, Sr. Dover Wilson concludes that Claudius must have been distracted during the dumb show, and missed it. Dramatically, that may work. Thematically, the . . . . Continue Reading »

Pure Father, Pure Son

In the course of demonstrating that Christ is not a creature, Athanasius pointed to the difference between human and divine fatherhood and sonship. Human sons have the potential to become fathers, and often do become fathers. But God the Father is unbegotten, and God the Son begets no other. That . . . . Continue Reading »

Kant and the Creator

In her brilliant book, Evil in Modern Thought , Susan Neiman summarizes Kant’s epistemology as torn between two themes: One, Kant’s insistence that our knowledge is not God’s knowledge, and that we should be content with finitude; two, that we still want to be God, and that this . . . . Continue Reading »