Hans Jonas writes in an essay on technological and scientific advance that one of the key cultural shifts in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries was a, well, new understanding of “new,” and a corresponding revision of traditional ways of thinking about history: “A sign of this . . . . Continue Reading »

Bacon’s Program

Antonio Perez-Ramos argues in his contribution to the Cambridge Companion to Bacon that while Bacon’s method has been severely criticized, Bacon’s program of human improvement through scientific and technological progress has not been, until the early part of the 20th century (he . . . . Continue Reading »


Bacon says in a number of places that Western history is like a stream that carries everything light and airy on the surface (like Plato and Aristotle) while submerging all the heavy stuff (Hermes and the Pre-Socratics). Intriguing that one of the “fathers of modernity” should make this . . . . Continue Reading »

Be the Bee

Aphorism 95 from Part I of Bacon’s New Organon says: “Those who have handled sciences have been either men of experiment or men of dogmas. The men of experiment are like the ant, they only collect and use; the reasoners resemble spiders, who make cobwebs out of their own substance. But . . . . Continue Reading »

Boyish Greeks

Stephen McKnight points out in his recent The Religious Foundations of Francis Bacon’s Thought (University of Missouri, 2006) that Bacon dismissed classical Greek thought in favor of a knowledge both more ancient and more recent: “Bacon introduces another memorable image when he likens . . . . Continue Reading »

Fiction and creation

Reflecting on Rosendale’s treatment of sacramental kingship in Henry V, it occurs to me that a sacramental theology that highlights the effective fictionality of the sacramental signs is more consistent with the doctrine of creation than the notion that sacramental signs have some inherent . . . . Continue Reading »

Protestant Poetics

In the aforementioned article, Rosendale points to Philip Sidney as one who “translated the logic of sacramental representation to the worldly sphere of the literary. His Defense of Poesy posits a particularly close relationship between figurality and truth, and positions poetic . . . . Continue Reading »

Political and Sacramental Theology

There is a continuity between sacramental and political theology in the medieval world. Alternatively, we might go so far as to say that political theology is a subset of sacramental theology. As Timothy Rosendale says in a magnificent recent article (in Shakespeare and the Culture of . . . . Continue Reading »

Hamlet the Recusant

Those who search for alternative authors for the plays of Shakespeare invariably offer alternative interpretations of the plays. Oxfordians scour the plays and sonnets for veiled allusions to the life of Edward de Vere. Well, as they say, two can play this game: John Freeman, in the aforementioned . . . . Continue Reading »

Shakespeare the Catholic?

There has been recent discussion concerning the possibility that Shakespeare was a recusant Catholic. The evidence is circumstantial, but intriguing. John Freeman’s contribution to Shakespeare and the Culture of Christianity in Early Modern England (Fordham, 2003), summarizes the evidence. . . . . Continue Reading »