Christopher Insole wants theologians who attack “liberalism” to be more careful about what they’re attacking. He favorably cites Robert Song, who distinguishes the constitutional liberalism of Locke and Kant from the laissez-faire liberalism of Hayek from the welfare liberalism of . . . . Continue Reading »

Eucharistic meditation

1 John 2:15-16: Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. When John talks about “the world,” he’s talking, as we’ve seen, about a cultural, social, and political system organized in hostility or . . . . Continue Reading »


Cultures have traditionally been rivers (Z. Bauman). The current carries everyone along in the same direction, whether or not they like where they’re going. When someone asks, “Why are we going this way?” it’s a sufficient answer to say, “We always have.” The . . . . Continue Reading »

Legitimacy of modernity

Modernity arose to tame the chaos and carnage of 16th and 17th-century European wars. To form a Europe reduced to formlessness, modern thinkers and politicians drew boundaries - the boundaries between Protestant and Catholic established in the Peace of Westphalia and the boundaries between religion . . . . Continue Reading »

High and Low Theater

Katherine Newey suggests that “a class-based divide between popular culture and literary or ‘high,’ remaining to this day, emerged in debates over the reform of the theatre [in the 19th century]. Much of what still endures of the concept of ‘legitimate’ theatre in the . . . . Continue Reading »

Shakespeare’s audience

Arthur F. Kinney writes that “Until very recently - and in some scholarly circles still today - it has been argued that the working class - the journeymen, apprentices, and men and women servants sometimes known as subalterns - had neither the money nor the liberty to attend plays. There is . . . . Continue Reading »

Shakespeare’s bawdy

A couple of selections from Eric Partridge’s book on the bawdy in Shakespeare. “Flatulence was, in Shakespeare’s day, the source and the target of humour and wit among all classes: nowadays, its popularity as a subject is, in the main, confined to the lower and lower-middle . . . . Continue Reading »

Revolution and Papal Supremacy

Michael Burleigh details the decimation of the bishoprics and clergy in Franch during the Revolution. This had the unintended consequence of raising the profile of the Pope: Without local or regional authorities to look to, the remaining French clergy looked all the way to Rome: “Ineluctably, . . . . Continue Reading »

Sacred music

Levine again: The German pianist Hans von Bulow toured the US in 1876. At one location, he was preceded by Emma Thursby who sant Schubert and Schumann, and then a popular song by Franz Abt: “Von Bulow’s ‘rage knew no bound’ at this ‘desecration’ of a program . . . . Continue Reading »

Barnum’s opera

Levine: “In 1853 Putnam’s Magazine had proposed that P. T. Barnum . . . be named the manager of New York’s Opera. ‘He understands what our public wants, and how to gratify that want. He has no foreign antecedents. He is not bullied by the remembrance that they manage so in . . . . Continue Reading »