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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Descartes’ Hermeticism

From Leithart

Some paragraphs from an illuminating paper by Michael Allen Gillespie concerning Descartes’ links with Rosicrucians: “The Rosicrucians were essentially a Hermetic society that sought to understand the hidden order of nature in order to gain power over and through it. Agrippa, for . . . . Continue Reading »

Two Cultures

From Leithart

Martin Peretz notes the differences among the Harvard faculties in their responses to Larry Summers’ attempts to reform the university: When Harvard hired Summers to “bring the university into modern times,” it was electrifying: “You could feel the walls of the faculty club . . . . Continue Reading »

Curry

From Leithart

In an intriguing article on multiculturalism, Amartya Sen briefly mentions the international formation of Indian cuisine: “India had no chili until the Portuguese brought it to India from America, but it is effectively used in a wide range of Indian food today and seems to be a dominant . . . . Continue Reading »

Postmodern Society

From Leithart

Krishan Kumar, From Post-Industrial to Post-Modern Society. Second Edition. London: Blackwell, 2005. 289 pp. Much has been written about postmodernity, but this book by Krishan Kumar, William R. Kennan, Jr., Professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia, is in a league of its own. First . . . . Continue Reading »

Theory

From Leithart

Postmodern theory, Mike Featherstone says, “argues for the abandonment of longstanding ambitions within modernity to develop foundations for knowledge: in effect the abandonment of the quest for unity, generality and synthesis.” Postmodern theory claims to find greater complexity than . . . . Continue Reading »

Final Word on Hamlet

From Leithart

That is to say, my final word, for a while. INTRODUCTION Throughout the term, we have looked at a variety of different angles on Hamlet. We have seen Hamlet through the eyes of romantics like Coleridge and Goethe; Freudians like Ernst Jones; modernists like TS Eliot and James Joyce. One of the most . . . . Continue Reading »

Covenant lawsuit

From Leithart

John’s gospel is a contentious courtroom of a gospel. Legal language dominates the whole gospel - witnesses are called, Jesus promises an advocate, the Jews are constantly trying to put Jesus in the dock. But the whole gospel is really the trial of the Jews, just as what appears to be the . . . . Continue Reading »

Hidden Hero

From Leithart

Homer’s prologue to the Odyssey delays the identification of the hero until the end of the prologue, a literary sign that this hero comes hidden, disguised, in craft. That, of course, is precisely how Odysseus behaves throughout the epic. John’s gospel begins with similar techniques. We . . . . Continue Reading »

Coriolanus and Christ

From Leithart

Shakespeare’s Coriolanus can be read as dramatizing the Augustinian perspective most recently articulated by Oliver O’Donovan, namely, that “within every political society there occurs, implicitly, an act of worship of divine rule.” Through his dramatization of Roman . . . . Continue Reading »