Peter J. Leithart is President of the Theopolis Institute, Birmingham, Alabama, and an adjunct Senior Fellow at New St. Andrews College. He is author, most recently, of Gratitude: An Intellectual History (Baylor).

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Word and World

From Leithart

Craig Gay ( The Way of the (Modern) World ) very lucidly traces a line of development from Descartes’ separation of the human subject from the world of objects, through the Cartesian and Newtonian effort to reduce science to mathematics, to the triumph of technical manipulation. At the end . . . . Continue Reading »

Hermeneutics v. Semiology

From Leithart

According to Michel Foucault, what Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud introduce is an age of interpretation. He develops one of the implications of this by suggesting there is a “fierce war” between semiology and hermeneutics, between treating words as signs and treating them as . . . . Continue Reading »

Shakespeare and Bible

From Leithart

Steven Marx’s Shakespeare and the Bible (Oxford, 2000), purports to be the “first book to explore the pattern and significance” of Shakespeare’s biblical allusions. Perhaps. The results are mixed. Each chapter of Marx’s book attempts to show structural, plot, and . . . . Continue Reading »

Ubiquitous Shakespeare

From Leithart

Exploring Lake Superior in 1840, one Charles W Penny wrote, “We read the Bible I dare say much more than we would have done had we been in Detroit. Shakespeare was duly honoured, as he is every day when we travel. When on the water, some one of the party usually reads his plays to the . . . . Continue Reading »

Divine Love

From Leithart

The Persons of the Trinity live out an eternal round of self-sacrificing love. If a proof text is needed, John 15 supplies it. 1) Jesus says, “as the Father loved Me, I have also loved you” (v. 9). Jesus’ love for the disciples is modeled on the Father’s for Him. 2) How has . . . . Continue Reading »

Queen of the Sciences

From Leithart

John Stuart Mill declared at the beginning of his book on logic that “Logic is the common judge and arbiter of all particulars investigations. It does not undertake to find evidence, but to determine whether it has been found. Logic neither observes, nor invents, nor discovers; it . . . . Continue Reading »

New

From Leithart

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

From Leithart

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 »

Pre-Socratics

From Leithart

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

From Leithart

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 »