Christmas and a World Upside-Down

Biblical scholars generally agree that Luke’s Gospel was written at least a generation later than Paul’s first letter to the Christians at Corinth. Yet whatever the dating, and irrespective of scholarly disputes about whether “Luke,” the author of the eponymous Gospel and the Acts of the . . . . Continue Reading »

Whatever Happened to Sacral Kingship?

In an average college course, the history of Western political theory typically follows a simple plot: A flowering of secular, republican rationality in Ancient Athens and Republican Rome foundered on a combination of Imperial overstretch and civil war.

From Rudolph to Bethlehem

Even though Rudolph had been around as a story book character well before 1949, Gene Autry’s recording in that year of the musical version of the saga made the red-nosed reindeer a standard member of the Yuletide cast in popular culture. I was a nine-year-old at the time and, having successfully . . . . Continue Reading »

All for Christ

By the time of her death this past summer, Elisabeth Elliot—wife, mother, missionary and writer— had become one of the leading Evangelicals of her time.Born Elisabeth Howard in Belgium in 1926, she was the daughter of missionaries, and one of six children. Her family eventually moved back to . . . . Continue Reading »

Come, Lord Jesus

The Bible begins with an Advent. After Adam and Eve sin, they hear the “voice of Yahweh walking in the garden in the Spirit of the day,” coming to confront and judge and promise a deliverer. The Bible ends with another Advent, a coming of Jesus after the coming of Jesus. The very last words of . . . . Continue Reading »

An Alternative to Terror

One of Budapest’s top tourist destinations is the Terror Haza, a harrowing museum in the former headquarters first of the Arrow Cross fascists who collaborated with the Nazis and, later, of Hungary’s Stalinist secret police. Valerie Miké’s new study of the little-known Catholic worker movement in twentieth-century Hungary shows a shining alternative to Terror Haza. Continue Reading »

David's Sin, David's Son

The son of David has no name, none that the author of Second Samuel thought to record. Yet this son of David will die for David’s sin. (2 Sam. Chapters 11-12) The story of the unnamed son of David is a disturbing one, and disgusting in scale. It starts with David, great king of Israel, and it . . . . Continue Reading »

Remembering Two Great Bishops

We American Catholics are, in the main, notoriously uninterested in our own history. So it likely escaped the notice of many that December 3 marked the bicentenary of the death of John Carroll, one of the greatest who ever lived among us. The adjective “first” is applied to John Carroll more . . . . Continue Reading »

The Half-Empty Auditorium

The following essay is adapted from Chapter 3 of “The Fortunes of Poetry in an Age of Unmaking.” Those who love literature, or at any rate have a vested interest in making sure great works of literature are taught at universities and that radical politics are not, could only find the conquest . . . . Continue Reading »