The April 2007 issue of First Things is now on newsstandswhich also means that it's available online for subscribers.
This is another strong, wide-ranging issue of the magazineif we do say so ourselves. Which we do. I mean, it's part of our job to insist that all new issues are the greatest thing since sliced bread. Which they are.
But then even editors have to admit that some issues are more greatest than others. Like this oneNew and Improved Greatness! Greatness Squared! Greater than Great! Did you see the news that the Swiss army has accidentally invaded Liechtenstein? I'm told that was our fault. Georgetown's Princeton offense exploded in the second half to put away Boston College in the NCAA tournament this weekend. Also due to us, I believe.
Prominent on the cover of this month's issue is George Weigel's full-length essay on Iraq. Arguing that the conflict is not so much one war as a series of different wars, Weigel weighs the American effort at each stage by the canons of just-war theory, and he arrives not only at an account of our past failures and successes but also at a clearer sense of where we must go from here. The result is a controversial and extremely serious work by the nation's leading expert on just-war theory.
Next up is Christoph Cardinal Schönborn's essay on science and faith. The archbishop of Vienna and general editor of The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Cardinal Schönborn engaged the physicist Stephen Barr in a three-part debate about evolution in the pages of First Things: here, here, and here. Now, in "Reasonable Science, Reasonable Faith," he examines the ways in which the claims of science are used as nonscientific cudgels with which to attack religion.
Over the years, Richard John Neuhaus has written many times about the deep Christian roots of the modern university. In the April issue, he extends and expands his analysis in "A University of a Particular Kind," taking as his touchstone the Lutheran identity of Valparaiso University. For a change of pace, we offer this month "The Distant Suns of Gene Wolfe," an account by John Farrell of the work of Gene Wolfe, acknowledged by nearly every other science-fiction writer as the premier figure in the genre.
Homeschooling is having an enormous impact on contemporary religious communitiesfar beyond the growing but still small number of the families who practice it. First Things, I think, has not sufficiently covered this impact, but we've made a start this month with "Schooling at Home." Written by the poet Sally Thomas, it's an account of a day in the life of a homeschooling mother, and it emphasizes the surprising efficiency of the education. (This is also April's free article, available to non-subscribers.) Along the way, Stephen Webb chips in with "New Theology, Old Economics," a remark on the way theologians in the Radical Orthodoxy movement fall back on dated Marxist economists for their explanations of the modern condition.
Meanwhile, the April issue features a number of strong book reviews. Elizabeth Powers considers the marathon of infertility treatments in "Thoroughly Modern Mommy." Peter Berkowitz takes on Ronald Dworkin's Is Democracy Possible Here? William Doino reads Michael Burleigh's Sacred Causes. Daniel B. Gallagher reviews the poetics of Rowan Williams. And Wesley J. Smith examines a new history of the struggle against pain.
As always, there's poetry in our pages: the fine Irish poet Oliver Murray's "The Argument," Catherine Chandler's excellent translation of Louis-Honoré Fréchette's nineteenth-century sonnet "Niagara," and Robert Crawford's "Of Metaphor in Heaven." And did I mention The Public Square? Not surprisingly, the most popular feature in First Things is packed with Fr. Neuhaus' observations about ideas, books, and the contemporarybeginning, this month, with a major essay called "Christ Without Culture."
All in all, it's just another typical greatest-of-all-time issue. Shouldn't you be subscribing?