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).
Catholics, Orthodox, and not a few Protestants have been known to reject theological novelties with a wave of the hand and an appeal to tradition. “Shouldn’t we follow the tradition rather than the judgments of an individual scholar?” Sometimes the modifier “idiosyncratic” is added to “judgments” for rhetorical oomph. “Tradition” is implicitly capitalized, for who can argue with a capital letter? Continue Reading »
Classics is no longer seen as a cutting-edge discipline, but two centuries ago German scholars devoted to the “cult of the Greeks” created the modern university when they developed new methods in philology and installed Altertumswissenschaft, the science of antiquity, at the center of the curriculum Continue Reading »
Long invisible, theology of sport is suddenly a growth industry. Robert Ellis’s “The Games People Play and Lincoln Harvey’s
“A Brief Theology of Sport” both sum up the patristic criticisms of sport, both talk about Puritanism, both highlight the role of Victorian Muscular Christianity in the reconciliation of religion and sport. Theologically, both focus on creation, though in intriguingly different ways. Continue Reading »
When John ascends to heaven, he steps into the middle of a continuous worship service in a transcendent temple (Revelation 4). Twenty-four heavenly priests encircle a throne that is banded by a rainbow, where “one enthroned” sparkles like sardius and jasper above four living creatures. In front of the throne, the seven Spirits burn like lamps, brightening a sea of crystalline glass. When the cherubim say the Sanctus, the elders prostrate themselves and shout the worthiness of the one on the throne at the center of it all. Continue Reading »
Why not become Anglican? some have asked since I laid out a case for “Reformational Catholicism” at the forum on the future of Protestantism at Biola University last month. Anglicans, they tell me, already have what I want. Others wonder why I stay in a “sectarian” Presbyterian denomination. Others ask, Why not drop the “Reformational” and become just “Catholic”? Continue Reading »
Scholars have long recognized that the Bible supplied what Mark Noll has called the “common coinage of the realm” in early America. Eran Shalev of Haifa University thinks that historians have not gone far enough. They have failed to grasp just how, and how deeply, the Bible formed the American imagination. Shalev argues in American Zion that early America was not simply a biblical republic. It was, quite self-consciously, a Hebrew republic. Continue Reading »
Sunday is the octave of Easter, which commemorates the eighth day after Jesus’s resurrection from the dead. An octave is a repetition, but a repetition with difference. It’s not the first note played again, but the first note at a higher pitch. Continue Reading »
Years ago, members of a Boulder, Colorado, ministers’ association determined that they were responsible for Boulder’s civic health. Taking a cue from the early chapters of John’s Apocalypse, they resolved to serve as the guardian angels of the city.They began to invite civil . . . . Continue Reading »
“What makes this team special?” a reporter asked University of Virginia basketball coach Tony Bennett after his Cavaliers beat Syracuse to sew up the Atlantic Coast Conference championship. It was a typical sports-journalistic question, but Bennett’s answer wasn’t typical. “Humility,” Bennett instantly replied, then looked down and waited for the next question.
Over many decades and in voluminous writings, René Girard has elaborated a theory of sacrifice, scapegoating, and violence that purports to unveil things hidden from the foundations of the world. He has become a guru, not least to Christian theologians eager to formulate non-violent versions of . . . . Continue Reading »