Salvation by Commerce

In a recent defense of the Enlightenment in Scotland and Naples, John Robertson focuses on the importance of commerce as an agent for renewing society. According to the summary of the TLS reviewer (March 24), Robertson “argues that the Enlightenment in Scotland and Naples began when David . . . . Continue Reading »

How to Stop Religion

In his recent book on “religion as a natural phenomenon,” Daniel C. Dennett deploys an evolutionary theory of religion in an effort to curb the abuses of religion. After over 400 pages, he is able to come up with this deep wisdom: “in the end, my central policy recommendation is . . . . Continue Reading »

The Dancing Dead

A Swiss visitor to London in 1599 saw a performance of Julius Caesar, and wrote: “On September 21st after lunch, about two o’clock, I and my party crossed the water, and there in the house with the thatched roof witnessed an excellent performance of the tragedy of the first Emperor . . . . Continue Reading »

Philip the Chancellor

According to Stephen Duffy, Philip, Chancellor of the University of Paris, was responsible for elaborating the theorem of the supernatural. He claims that during the Pelagian controversy Augustine had left various problems hanging: “How can one be bound to do something not in one’s . . . . Continue Reading »


In his 1993 book, The Dynamics of Grace , Stephen J. Duffy offers a superb brief summary of de Lubac’s thesis in Surnaturel . According to de Lubac’s history, “Neither the Fathers nor the great schoolmen ever considered a purely natural human destiny a possibility. Their focus was . . . . Continue Reading »

Raunch Culture Revisited

On NPR this morning, Frank Deford described how, instead of bringing feminine modesty and delicacy to the world of sports as Title IX advocates might have hoped, women athletes have adopted the culture of their male counterparts. Recent hazing incidents have brought attention to a much more . . . . Continue Reading »

Natural/Supernatural in Adamic Covenant

Mark Karlberg charges that Francis Junius introduced a natural/supernatural scheme into the Reformed doctrine of the covenant of works. In Karlberg’s summary, “The covenant, according to Junius, was established with our first parents by God the Father in the love of his Son. It held out . . . . Continue Reading »

Double Adamic Covenant

Many of the Protestant Scholastics argued that a covenant of some sort is “natural” to man, not a “supernatural” addition to a pure, non-covenantal existence. But the “natural” covenant is often distinguished from the specific terms of the covenant of works, the . . . . Continue Reading »

Natural gifts of Adam

A few quotations on Adam’s “natural” capacities culled from Heppe: Polanus: “The original wisdom in man’s soul was that excellence and perfection of knowledge, by which unimpaired man rightly knew God and God’s work and himself and wisely understood all things . . . . Continue Reading »

Pactum Salutis

Barth (CD, 4.1) offers this challenging evaluation of the Protestant Orthodox notion of a Trinitarian covenant: “For God to be gracious to sinful man, was there any need of a special decree to establish the unity of righteousness and mercy of God in relation to man, of a special . . . . Continue Reading »