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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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 »

J. L. Austin, Deconstructionist?

From Leithart

JL Austin famously distinguished between “performative” and “constative” utterances, the former of which perform the action to which they refer and the latter of which make assertions that can be judged as true or false. Modern philosophy has treated the constative as the . . . . Continue Reading »

structuralism, linguistic and other

From Leithart

How did the linguistic theory of Saussure become a model for anthropologists, sociologists, and analysts of pop culture? Jonathan Culler suggests that this move rests on “two fundamental insights: first, that social and cultural phenomena are not simply material objects or events but objects . . . . Continue Reading »

Anthropologized science

From Leithart

Foucault, in Canguilhem’s summary, argues that an anthropologization of the sciences took place in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, when Kantian philosophy combined with biology, economics, and linguistics to raise the question What is Man? Foucault argues: “From the . . . . Continue Reading »

Episteme

From Leithart

Georges Canguilhem gives this illuminating description of Foucault’s episteme: “In order to perceive the episteme, it was necessary to exit from a given science and from the history of a given science; it was necessary to defy the specialization of specialists, and to try to become a . . . . Continue Reading »

Sermon Outline, First Sunday of Lent

From Leithart

INTRODUCTION As the history of Israel begins to wind to a close, history begins to repeat itself. After the reign of Solomon, the united kingdom divided in two, Jeroboam established a separate kingdom, Rehoboam planned an attack but refrained because of a prophet, and Shishak of Egypt plundered the . . . . Continue Reading »