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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Re-creation

From Leithart

Richard Davidson, writing in the Andrews University Seminary Studies (Spring 2004), shows that the restoration of the world after the flood follows the creation week: 1. Spirit/wind, Gen 1:2; 8:1 2. Division of waters, 1:6-8; 8:1-5 3. Dry land and plants, 1:9-13; 8:5-12 4. Lights, 1:14-19; 8:13-14 . . . . Continue Reading »

Thoughts on Jonah

From Leithart

Some random thoughts on Jonah, inspired by a conversation with my student, Brillana McLean. 1) The first chapters of Jonah seem to follow something of an exit-and-return story. Jonah gets in a boat and crosses some water; he is cast out and is swallowed by the waters and by a sea monsters; he is . . . . Continue Reading »

Sermon notes, First Advent

From Leithart

INTRODUCTION Individual angels, particularly the angel of Yahweh, appear regularly in the Old Testament (Genesis 16:7, 11; Exodus 14:19; Numbers 22:23-24; Judges 13:3; 2 Kings 1:3, 15). Occasionally, individual angels are named (Daniel 8:16; 10:13, 21). Far less frequently, groups of angels appear . . . . Continue Reading »

Nietzsche and Foucault

From Leithart

If postmodern theorists are Marxists, they are Marxists of a particular stripe, in that their Marxism is crossed by Nietzschean pessimism. They believe that power struggles are at the center of history but no longer believe that these power struggles will end in an ideal classless society. . . . . Continue Reading »

Rise of fictionality

From Leithart

Novels, we say, are long prose fictions, but general the terms of that definition are left unexamined. What is “prose” after all? What, Catherine Gallagher wants to ask, is fiction? And how did fictionality become established as the matter-of-factly defining characteristic of the novel. . . . . Continue Reading »

The Novel

From Leithart

Several of my recent posts were taken from essays in Franco Moretti’s recent collection, The Novel (Princeton). The two-volume English translation abridges the six volumes of the Italian original. The essays are so suggestive that one is tempted to take some time off to learn Italian. . . . . Continue Reading »

Chinese novels

From Leithart

During the sixteenth century, a little before the novel took shape in Western Europe, a very similar form of prose fiction was being developed in China. According to Andrew Plaks, “The significant areas of convergence between what we customarily call the classical novel in China and its . . . . Continue Reading »

Ancient Greek Novels

From Leithart

Greek novels appear in the late Hellenistic period. One scholar suggests the “typical” Greek novel followed something like the following story-line: “These are novels of travel, adventure, and romantic love, taking place in a vaguely realistic Mediterranean or Near Eastern . . . . Continue Reading »

The Novel’s Late Arrival

From Leithart

Goody asks why it took so long for the novel form to develop in Europe. If it’s simply a matter of a shift from oral to written, or the technology of printing, that was all in place centuries before the novel took recognizable form. He argues that the main obstacle to its earlier rise had to . . . . Continue Reading »

Oral and Epic

From Leithart

Epic poetry is often seen as characteristic of orally based cultures, but Jack Goody argues that epic more normally appears at the beginning of literate cultures rather than in purely oral cultures. Referring to the research of Parry and Lord on Yugoslav oral poets, he comments “Yugoslavia . . . . Continue Reading »