The March issue is here! And let me tell you, it is an emotional rollercoaster ride. This month's Public Square is a touching remembrance by James Nuechterlein of "RJN and First Things" on the occasion of the start of our twenty-second year of publication. We then have a very spirited letters section which starts out with a tete-a-tete between Daniel Mahoney and James Kalb, on the latter’s review (in our February issue) of Mahoney's recently published The Conservative Foundations of the Liberal Order. And the rest of section does not let up. Next is our deputy editor David Mills' moving description of his last moments with his father, from which he agues persuasively against “death with dignity” programs. Revving up again, Douglas Farrow takes aim at two bills, “H1728 in the state of Massachusetts” and “its Canadian counterpart, Bill C-389,” that purport to “extend legal protection to ‘sexual minorities.’ However, their “strategic intention…is something more ambitious.” We will leave it to you to find out what that is.
Starting right before this issue’s excellent essay section are the first two of many poems interspersed in the issue. We are lucky to have the talented Duane K. Caylor, Stephen Edgar, Michael Heffernan, Samuel Menashe, Paul Lake, Robert Pack, and Gail White provide us with contemplative pauses in this jam-packed March issue.
The essays start off with "The Dialectic and the Double Helix." Thomas Albert Howard’s historically informed analysis of the public sphere’s relationship with religion in Europe and America points out the lessons that can be learnt from the unique American approach to this union. Timothy George explains in "Reading the Bible with the Reformers" that reexamining their mode of exegesis shows how useful their approach can be for us today. Then, in "Newman’s Ideal University," Fr. Edward T. Oakes holds our institutions of higher education up to Newman’s vision and finds them sorely lacking. However, in doing so he offers a path to “the proper teaching and pursuit of theology.” Wm. Theodore de Bary gives us a fascinating look at, as his title suggests, "Thomas Merton and Confucianism." With great expertise, de Bary critically guides us through this interaction and leaves us with a better understanding of the man and the culture he examined. Ending the section is "Whig History at Eighty," Wilfred M. McClay’s profile of Herbert Butterfield, a brilliant thinker whom, though we might have, we should not forget.
On top of all this, we have an eclectic review section that encompasses fields as diverse as David P. Goldman’s challenging and thought-provoking review of Mathematics and Religion by Javier Leach, to Paul J. Contino’s review of Blessed and Beautiful by Robert Kiely, a “sumptuously illustrated book on Italian Renaissance paintings of the saints.” We also have reviews of White Coat, Black Hat: Adventures on the Dark Side of Medicine by Carl Elliott (by Gilbert Meilaender), Defending Constantine: The Twilight of an Empire and the Dawn of Christendom by Peter Leithart (by Robert Louis Wilken), and David Bentley Hart’s review of All Things Shining.
How many magazines do you know that can move you emotionally, feed you spiritually, and at times entertain you, all the while engaging you in important discussions of religion and public life. Shouldn’t you be subscribing today?