Peter J. Leithart is President of the Theopolis Institute, Birmingham, Alabama, and an adjunct Senior Fellow at New St. Andrews College. He is author, most recently, of Gratitude: An Intellectual History (Baylor).

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Reformation and System-building

From Leithart

In discussing the Reformation, Oberman contrasts the via antiqua with the via moderna . Both believed in universals, preconceived ideas that enable humans to “select, interpret, and order the chaotic messages transmitted by the senses.” They differed on the origin and nature of those . . . . Continue Reading »

David and Jonathan

From Leithart

Commentators in recent years have often opted for a homoerotic interpretation of David’s relation with Jonathan. Yaron Peleg of George Washington University has another explanation: Jonathan was a “woman” (JSOT 30.2). Oh, so now we know! Goofy as it may sound, Peleg’s . . . . Continue Reading »

Descartes, Soul and Body

From Leithart

Some highlights from a recent TLS article on Descartes by Desmond Clarke: 1) Personally, Descartes was a mess. An exile from France for most of his life, he never held any paid position except for a brief stint in the military. He was unmarried, nearly friendless, depressive. Irascible and . . . . Continue Reading »

Voluntarism, Intellectualism, Creation

From Leithart

The voluntarist/intellectualist debate has always seemed sterile, but it’s worth asking why it was so important for the medievals. Where’d it come from? It appears to me to come from a faulty understanding of creation, in which creation/nature has a semi-independent status. Consider: . . . . Continue Reading »

Comic Sabbath

From Leithart

Keeping the Lord’s Day is the sign that we already enjoy by anticipation the final, eschatological rest. It is a confession of faith in cosmic comedy, the confidence that in the end all will be well, and all manner of thing will be well. . . . . Continue Reading »

Keeping days

From Leithart

Everyone else, I’m sure, has already noticed this, but I’m slow: If, as many commentators argue, Paul’s practical concern in Romans is to encourage Gentile believers to accept their Jewish brothers (as reflected in Romans 14), then the discussion of the keeping of days and of . . . . Continue Reading »

Gift and Justice

From Leithart

Thomas Aquinas argues that a return gift of gratitude must exceed the original gift. His reasoning is as follows: The original gift is gratuitous because it is not paying any debt; the return gift is obligatory because of the initial gift; but the return gift should also have a gratuitous element; . . . . Continue Reading »

Sermon Outline, Fifth Sunday of Easter

From Leithart

INTRODUCTION Hezekiah is one of the great heroes of Kings. His response to his sickness shows his faith in Yahweh, and Yahweh’s favor to him. But he shows his treasures to a Babylonian delegation, a prelude to Babylon’s later invasion. THE TEXT “In those days Hezekiah was sick and . . . . Continue Reading »

Eucharistic Meditation, Fourth Sunday of Easter

From Leithart

2 Kings 19:29: Then this shall be the sign for you: you shall eat this year what grows of itself, in the second year what springs from the same, and in the third year sow, reap, plant vineyards, and eat their fruit. Siege warfare in the ancient world was a dismal business. An invading army would . . . . Continue Reading »

Baptismal meditation

From Leithart

Luke 18:15-17: And they were bringing even their babies to Him so that He would touch them, but when the disciples saw it, they began rebuking them. But Jesus called for them, saying, Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I . . . . Continue Reading »