Pity the Anarchist

In The New Yorker , Kelefa Sanneh analyzes the paradoxes of the anarchism promoted by David Graeber, the eminence grise of the Occupy movement. According to Sanneh, “Graeber refers to march planners and other organizers as ‘verticals,’ and to him this is an insult: it refers not . . . . Continue Reading »


Marin Cogan thinks that photobombs give us an insight into the culture of Washington. “Photobomb” is “a catch-all term for the act of appearing in a photo intended to capture someone likely much more important than you.” Photobombs can be funny, embarrassing, even slightly . . . . Continue Reading »

Language all the way down

Reviewing some new books about Samuel Johnson, Kate Chisolm notes Johnson’s conclusion concerning the impossibility of lexicography: “in the preface to his great Dictionary of 1755, in which he confesses that he set out to codify the language only to realize before he was even halfway . . . . Continue Reading »

Raven and Dove

One of my students, Donny McNair, offers some fascinating thoughts on the raven and dove released by Noah from the ark. He connects the pair of birds to other pairs in the Bible - Cain and Abel, Elijah and Jonah, John and Jesus. The last two associations work particularly well. Elijah was fed by . . . . Continue Reading »

Bones of the Righteous

Not one of Jesus’ bones are broken. That’s a sign that He is the true Passover Lamb whose blood protects us from the angel of death. It is also a sign of his righteousness. According to Psalm 34, the righteous are afflicted often, but always rescued (v. 19). While the wicked are slain . . . . Continue Reading »

Death and Rescue in Acts

Jesus is tried by three courts - the Jewish Sanhedrin, the Herodian, and the Roman. In imitation of Jesus, Paul too is tried by the same three courts. So too is the church as a whole. The early chapters of Acts describe the Sanhedrin’s opposition to the early church’s witness and . . . . Continue Reading »

The Real Jane

From what I can tell from the TLS reviewer’s summary of Paula Byrne’s The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things , this is a biography that gets Jane right. Byrne knows, for instance, that Austen did not lead the isolated, eventless life that many have suggested: “Austen, as her . . . . Continue Reading »

Time Reborn

From the NYTBR review, it seems that Lee Smolin is aiming to stretch the boundaries of the orthodoxy of physics in his latest, Time Reborn: From the Crisis in Physics to the Future of the Universe . He thinks that the present has been left out of a physics that works on the belief that the future . . . . Continue Reading »

Predatory Sex

In her conversion account, Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert An English Professor’s Journey into Christian Faith , Rosario Butterfield describes a talk she gave at Geneva College about sexual sin. She concluded that the Christian students who listened to her didn’t realize what . . . . Continue Reading »