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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Hating Poetry

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Ben Lerner’s elegant, amusing essay turns on a distinction between Poetry and poems. Poetry is Caedmon’s dream, a virtual ideal that actual poems can’t live up to. “The fatal problem with poetry,” Lerner writes, is “poems.” Every poet is, inevitably, “a tragic figure.” Continue Reading »

Music Man

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Readers often find the opening chapters of 1 Chronicles stultifying. These pages contain list after list of names, with occasional mini-biographies thrown in to break up the monotony. Chronicles is hardly the first place we turn to for deep insight into human nature. Yet the fact that Chronicles . . . . Continue Reading »

Ritualed Knowing

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Epistemology and ritual are rarely considered together. They are often opposed (“mindless ritual”), and ritual is more often associated with belief than with knowledge. At best, ritual is understood as an expression of knowledge that has been arrived at by other means. Dru Johnson doesn’t think these positions do justice to either ritual or epistemology. . . . Continue Reading »

Ascent, Descent, and Human Destiny

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God forms Adam from dust, breathes life into his nostrils, and places him in a garden in the land of Eden. We know from Ezekiel (28:13–14) that the garden is planted on a mountain, but we could have inferred that from Genesis 2, since a river flows out of the garden and downhill to Assyria, Cush, . . . . Continue Reading »

Shakespeare the Conservative?

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Writing at Salon, Colin MacDonald urges us to dispense with the “myth” of the conservative Shakespeare, the Shakespeare who endorsed the divine right of kings and genuflected to his royal patrons. To MacDonald, a poet who has Lear say, “Unaccommodated man is no more but such a poor, bare, . . . . Continue Reading »

Where Have All the Bad Republicans Gone?

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Nearly a decade ago, the redoubtable Douglas Farrow published a book whose subtitle announced the “end of marriage.” Farrow hasn’t been the only one to sound the alarm. Roger Scruton has observed that marriage “marks an existential transition” from “the concerns of one generation towards . . . . Continue Reading »

Passion Play

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At his ascension, Jesus told the eleven disciples that they would receive the Spirit to be his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth. But for some time after Jesus’s ascension, and even after Pentecost, they stayed in Jerusalem.They were finally forced . . . . Continue Reading »

Dignity v. Freedom

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Justice Kennedy concluded his majority opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges with this summary: Gay couples “ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.” “Dignity” appears several other times in the opinion. Prior to the twentieth century, Kennedy . . . . Continue Reading »