Here are some gleanings from a Sunday evening of periodical catching-up: 1) Christopher Hitchens offers a blistering assessment of JFK in his TLS review of Robert Dallek’s biography, An Unfinished Life . Hitchens focuses especially on JFK’s medical history, summarizing this way: anyone . . . . Continue Reading »

Exhortation, September 14

The exhortation for Sunday, September 14: Jesus knew that His teaching differed from the teaching of others in Israel and especially from the Pharisees, and His warnings at the end of the sermon show that He wanted to distinguish His teaching from others. He gives a quick succession of . . . . Continue Reading »

Aldous Huxley

The life of Aldous Huxley is a parable of the modern age. Descended from Darwin’s bulldog Thomas Henry Huxley and Matthew Arnold, Huxley was part of an elite intellectual class of distinctly Victorian orientation. He was greatly offended by the “mass culture” that he saw . . . . Continue Reading »

Sermon on the Plain

In Jesus’ “sermon on the plain” in Luke 6 there are a number of cool structures and numerological patterns. The whole sermon is divided into three large chunks, the Beatitudes (vv. 20-27), a section on love of enemies (vv. 27-38, which is marked out by the beginning phrase . . . . Continue Reading »

Noemie Emery

Noemie Emery is one of the most interesting political writers today. She has a David Brooksish ability to display the inner connections between politics, personality, and culture, all with a sharp historical sensibility. She is not nearly so entertaining a writer as Brooks, but more profound. . . . . Continue Reading »

Stabbing the Privates

Neil Elliot, in the book mentioned in the previous post, says that “The conspirators who assassinated Caligula included an officer he had sexually humiliated, who stabbed the emperor repeatedly in the genitals.” I recall that Plutarch records something similar about Brutus’s . . . . Continue Reading »

Paul on Sexual Immorality

In the midst of some typical and typically inane apology for sodomy, Neil Elliot (in Liberating Paul: The Justice of God and the Politics of the Apostle , Orbis, 1994) raises the interesting question of why Paul focuses on sexual immorality at the beginning of his letter to the Romans (1:18-32). . . . . Continue Reading »

Spinks on Sacramental Theology

I have found Bryan Spinks book on the sacramental theology of Stuart theologians disappointing. So far, there’s little besides some fairly superficial summaries of the work of individual theologians. Some of these open up interesting angles, but Spinks makes no effort to relate shifts in . . . . Continue Reading »

Letter from a Graduate Student

Letter from a Graduate Student Following is a transcription of a letter found in the archives of a recently deceased Professor of Philosophy at a major American university. The original was written in a childish scrawl, and was almost illegible. For reasons that may be obvious, the provenance of . . . . Continue Reading »


I read a good bit of Buchan while in Cambridge, and here is a short analysis of one of his best historical novels, Midwinter . Midwinter is an historical novel set in England during the mid-eighteenth century effort of the Jacobite supporters of Bonnie Prince Charlie to place their leader on the . . . . Continue Reading »