Purpose and Function

From the Aug/Sept 2013 Print Edition

This is the last I shall write on this topic, I promise. I do not want to become morbidly fixated upon it, after all. But a few final observations have occurred to me. Some months ago, I admitted here that I find very little natural law theory persuasive, but granted that classical forms of the . . . . Continue Reading »

No Enduring City

From the Aug/Sept 2013 Print Edition

One of the temperamental advantages to be gained from a belief in divine providence is serenity in the face of history’s ambiguities. This may be one of the more subdued and unheroic expressions of faith, but for Christians trying to make moral sense of the story of Christendom—from its . . . . Continue Reading »

God, Gods, and Fairies

From the June/July 2013 Print Edition

One of the strangest claims often made by purveyors and consumers of today’s popular atheism is that disbelief in God involves no particular positive philosophy of reality, much less any kind of religion or creed, but consists merely in neutral incredulity toward a certain kind of factual . . . . Continue Reading »

From the May First Things: “Nature Loves to Hide”

From Web Exclusives

Two issues back, I spoke ill of a modern form of natural law theory that unsuccessfully attempts to translate an ancient tradition of moral reasoning into the incompatible language of secular reason. Because of an obscurity I allowed to slip into the fourth paragraph, several readers imagined that I was speaking in propria persona from that point on, rather than on behalf of a disenchanted modern rambling among the weed-thronged ruins; and some were dismayed… . Continue Reading »

Nature Loves to Hide

From the May 2013 Print Edition

Two issues back, I spoke ill of a modern form of natural law theory that unsuccessfully attempts to translate an ancient tradition of moral reasoning into the incompatible language of secular reason. Because of an obscurity I allowed to slip into the fourth paragraph, several readers imagined that . . . . Continue Reading »

Si Fueris Romae

From the April 2013 Print Edition

In 1919, Davidson Black”today chiefly remembered as a colleague of Teilhard de Chardin”was made a professor in the Peking Union Medical College, an institution principally endowed by the Rockefeller Foundation. His American benefactors had given him his post with the strict stipulation . . . . Continue Reading »

Japan’s Epic

From the April 2013 Print Edition

The Tale of the Heike Translated by Royall Tyler? Viking, 784 pages, $50 If you have ever read Lafcadio Hearn’s collection of Japanese tales Kwaidan , or seen Masaki Kobayashi’s brilliant film from 1965, you will recall “The Story of Mimi-nashi-H?ïchi,” which tells the tale . . . . Continue Reading »

Seeing the God

From the February 2013 Print Edition

For the first ten of its eleven chapters, the Metamorphosis or Golden Ass of Apuleius (c. 125-c. 180) seems to be nothing more than a diverting, frequently ribald burlesque; but then, in the closing pages, the tone entirely changes, and all at once the farce gives way to one of the loveliest and . . . . Continue Reading »