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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The non-revolution

From Leithart

In a statistically rich discussion of global trends in family life, Castells notes that in the US “The number of sex partners in the last 12 months shows a limited range of sexual partnerships for the overwhelming majority of the population: 66.7 percent of men and 74.7 percent of women had . . . . Continue Reading »

Fundamentalism revealed!

From Leithart

Fundamentalism in its “actual content, experiences, opinions, history, and theories” is “so diverse as to defy synthesis.” So writes Berkeley sociologist Manuel Castells in The Power of Identity (Blackwell, 2004). Yet, thanks to an exhaustive study commissioned by the . . . . Continue Reading »

Death Penalty and High Justice

From Leithart

Do secular democracies have the right to engage in “high justice,” that is, “the attempt to balance the cosmic books, to stabilize a shaken universe” to answer the blood that cries from the ground by shedding blood? That is the question Jody Bottum raises in a fascinating . . . . Continue Reading »

Eucharistic meditation, July 31

From Leithart

1 Peter 2:24-25: He Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. As we heard in the sermon . . . . Continue Reading »

Exhortation, July 31

From Leithart

On stage and in movies, revenge stories often end in bloodshed. To avenge herself on her ex-husband Jason for taking another wife, Medea kills her own children. Orestes kills his mother because she murdered his father and her husband, and Hamlet’s attack on his uncle-father Claudius engulfs . . . . Continue Reading »

Abortion and crime

From Leithart

Steven Levitt, an economist at the University of Chicago, argues that various factors have contributed to the surprising decline in crime rates during and since the 1990s, but among these is the legalization of abortion. According to the reviewer in TNR, “After abortion was legalized, a . . . . Continue Reading »

Ancient slavery

From Leithart

S.S. Bartchy offers this important summary of the differences between ancient and American slavery: “Central features that distinguish 1st century slavery from that later practiced in the New World are the following: racial factors played no role; education was greatly encouraged (some slaves . . . . Continue Reading »

Essence/Existence

From Leithart

Marion points to Husserl’s suggestion that essence and existence are not really different principles but rather “two modes of being in two modes of self-givenness.” This is attractive, and perhaps not incompatible with the Thomistic tradition that sees the distinction of . . . . Continue Reading »

The Reduction

From Leithart

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (online) provides this helpful summary of Merleau-Ponty’s notion of phenomenological reduction: “The transformation of the object of perception into the thought of the object of perception, that is to say, the attempt to reconstitute the world in . . . . Continue Reading »

Holy Kiss

From Leithart

Gordon Smith quotes this from Cyril of Jerusalem: “You must not suppose that this is the usual kind of kiss which ordinary friends exchange when they meet in the street. This kiss is different. By it souls are united with one another and receive a pledge of the mutual forgiveness of all . . . . Continue Reading »