Child of the Revolution

From the May 2008 Print Edition

His Illegal Self by Peter Carey Knopf, 288 pages, $24.95 His Illegal Self is Peter Carey’s tenth novel. Two earlier ones, Oscar and Lucinda (1988) and True History of the Kelly Gang (2000), won the Booker Prize, the most prestigious and lucrative award for writers of fiction in English. Apart . . . . Continue Reading »

Offer Declined

From the June/July 2005 Print Edition

The Future of Religion by Richard Rorty and Gianni Vattimo Columbia University Press, 112 pp. $24.50 The Future of Religion is the perfect primer in post-metaphysical historicism: it’s short, it’s clear, it’s repetitive, and it leaves no doubt at all as to its central purpose and . . . . Continue Reading »

Rehabilitating Truth

From the May 2005 Print Edition

Truth and Tolerance: Christian Belief and World Religions. by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger Ignatius. 290 pp. $15.95 May a religion other than Christianity serve as a means of salvation? May salvation be separated from the work of Jesus Christ? What may properly be said about faithful . . . . Continue Reading »

Who Wants War? An Exchange

From the April 2005 Print Edition

Paul J. Griffiths The intense debate in the United States since September 11 about the meaning, history, and contemporary applicability of just war theory”much of it conducted in the pages of First Things”has been instructive and for the most part at a high level of conceptual and ethical . . . . Continue Reading »

Just War: An Exchange

From the April 2002 Print Edition

Paul J. Griffiths The response of American Catholic intellectuals to the events of September 11 and their aftermath has been profoundly disappointing to anyone looking for some genuinely Catholic thinking. Most of what’s been written and said by Catholic chatterers on left and right is . . . . Continue Reading »

Faith Seeking Explanation

From the January 2002 Print Edition

Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought By Pascal Boyer Basic. 375 pp. $27.50 Pascal Boyer claims, as his book’s title proclaims, to have explained religion. What he means, in fact, is that he has explained it away. In making his claim, he enters his name in a long . . . . Continue Reading »

The Very Idea of Religion

From the May 2000 Print Edition

The study of religion as an academic discipline is now close to a century and a half old. In the United States, at least, it appears to be flourishing. There are scores of university departments devoted to it, several hundred doctoral degrees earned in it each year, a professional organization (the . . . . Continue Reading »

Tu Quoque

From the March 1998 Print Edition

Manufacturing Religion: The Discourse on Sui Generis Religion and the Politics of Nostalgia By Russell T. McCutcheon Oxford University Press 249 pp. $32 The academic study of religion is in something of a theoretical muddle at the moment. In its early days it defined itself mostly by contrast with . . . . Continue Reading »

Withered by the Sun

From the March 1997 Print Edition

Dimensions of the Sacred:An Anatomy of the World’s Beliefs By Ninian Smart University of California Press, 331 pages, $29.95 The modern study of religion is about a century old. It has a longer lineage, of course: Hume’s Natural History of Religion and Spinoza’s Tractatus . . . . Continue Reading »