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Newman Family Values

For the biographer, friends and family of the chosen biographical subject present perennial problems. The subject was almost certainly a public figure; the major elements of the biography will thus address public actions; but it would have been that private world of friends and family which occupied . . . . Continue Reading »

End the Silence

Katrina Lantos Swett and I, in our roles as Vice Chairwoman and Chairman respectively of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, have an op-ed piece in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer calling attention to the persecution of Christians in the Middle East and beyond. This . . . . Continue Reading »

Justice and Helplessness

I have been trying to understand the justice in God’s speeches in Genesis 3:14-19. For this is the context in which to make sense of the great puzzle I find in his words to the woman: “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you” (3:16). It is, strikingly, the first time . . . . Continue Reading »

Reading Saint Augustine in 2014

Are you interested in reading one of the most influential books in the history of western civilization? Do you have five or ten minutes a day? If so, you should seriously consider reading City of God in 2014.This year I plan to read Augustine’s City of God from cover to cover. If I read a . . . . Continue Reading »

The Hobbit in Yiddish

Today’s eccentric item: How The Hobbit Learned Yiddish from Jewniverse. Computer programmer Barry Goldstein translated the book for fun, the work being “much less stressful than wrestling with a recalcitrant computer.”“This translation marks the book’s . . . . Continue Reading »

American Hustles?

So Pseudoplotinus (aka not THAT Michael Davis) deftly sums up the long and intricately detailed film American Hustle:  “Just saw American Hustle. Great, entertaining movie but ultimately not serious about the ethical realities of its story. In the end we’re supposed to sympathize . . . . Continue Reading »



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