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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Plebs in the church

From Leithart

Thanks to Tim Enloe for getting me a copy of David Rankin’s 2004 article, “Class Distinction as a Way of Doing Church: The Early Fathers and the Christian Plebs” ( Vigiliae Christianae 58). He examines the way the terminology and orders of Roman society were imported into the . . . . Continue Reading »

Fractures of the mind

From Leithart

Problems of communication are often explained in terms of the inherent limitations of language. But this, of course, assumes that the mind’s thoughts are whole, complete, and comprehensive until they have the misfortune to issue into the cold nasty world in speech and writing. But this, of . . . . Continue Reading »

Gnostic hermeneutics, 2

From Leithart

It’s a strange hermeneutical theory that doesn’t want to deal with words, but that’s the way many modern hermeneutical systems (beginning with Schleiermacher) work: The interpreter is trying to slip past the veil of language to the mind behind. Inky words on rag-and-wood-pulp . . . . Continue Reading »

Gnostic hermeneutics

From Leithart

Lundin suggests that “At the core of Hirsch’s appeal is a promise dear to American culture - that we can return to the innocent origins and begin history anew . . . . Hirsch wants a ‘ruthlessly critical process of validation’ to establish the facts of original intent and . . . . Continue Reading »

Intention

From Leithart

Roger Lundin comments on the ironies of evangelical support for ED Hirsch and its frequent suspicion, if not outright condemnation, of Gadamer: “There are manifold ironies to the conservative embrace of Hirsch and spurning of Gadamer. At their heart is the fact that Hirsch’s theory of . . . . Continue Reading »

I and We

From Leithart

Auden said that “protestantism is correcte in affirming that the We are of society” is false unless each individual “can say I am .” At the same time, what he called catholicism is also correct that anyone who cannot “join with others in saying We does not know the . . . . Continue Reading »

Pop Gratitude

From Leithart

That Amazon search confirmed my suspicion: Gratitude is a common topic of inspirational literature. You can get gratitude journals, gratitude calendars, gratitude guides, gratitude cards, gratitude with attitude books, probably gratitude mugs and teacups and bumperstickers and bracelets and decals . . . . Continue Reading »

Self-thanks

From Leithart

Searching Amazon, I find that one Christine A. Adams has written a small book on gratitude for a book series called “Elf Self-Help” (I’m not making this up). Perhaps someone can gently inform Ms Adams that the whole point of gratitude is that someone else has helped. . . . . Continue Reading »

A Christian Vice?

From Leithart

In a 1917 article, Joseph William Hewitt notes that the Greeks did not view ingratitude with the same horror as modern writers (among modern writers, he lists Thomas Elyot, Shakespeare, and the Spectator ). From the sixteenth century to the early twentieth, “we find a deep, indeed an extreme, . . . . Continue Reading »

Rejoinders

From Leithart

Kenneth Burke wisely remarks that “Every document bequeathed us by history must be treated as a strategy for encompassing a situation,” an “answer or rejoinder to assertions current in the situation in which it arose.” He goes on to compare our entry into history to a late . . . . Continue Reading »