R.R. Reno is editor of First Things.

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Virtue and Intelligence

From First Thoughts

A friend recently expresses chastened sentiment. “Great books and good philosophy,” he sighed, “don’t really help us become virtuous, do they?’ Well, mostly no, they don’t. In my youth I hitch-hiked across America many times, worked all sorts of jobs, and spent a great . . . . Continue Reading »

The French Burqa Ban

From First Thoughts

The machinery of French legislative authority is going into motion to pass a law that will ban the full veil in public , with a vote scheduled for July 13. Put forward by President Sarkozy, the ban was originally opposed by the Socialist Party. But the Socialists, who represent the main opposition . . . . Continue Reading »

UVA Does the Right Thing

From First Thoughts

It took some hard work and arm twisting, but Wes Siler, the former head of the Burke Society at the University of Virginia, managed to secure approval for a course on conservatism . As I wrote some months ago in “ The Civic Failure of Higher Education ,” the ideological homogeneity of . . . . Continue Reading »

Reno on Henry James

From First Thoughts

First Things readers ought to know about Azure , a smart, English language quarterly published in Israel. David Novak is a regular in its pages, along with Meir Soloveitchik and other fine writers. The journal has a First Thingsy feel, and I recommend a subscription. In any event, I mention Azure . . . . Continue Reading »

Our Father Abraham

From Web Exclusives

Can Jews, Christians, and Muslims get along? At first glance, the notion that we are all “Abrahamic religions” seems useful, and many people concerned for peace between religions have invoked it, hoping to encourage cooperation and mutual affirmation. Modern Jews look to Abraham as their forebearer. Christians look to him as “ the father of us all” (Rom 4:16). Islam places him among the line of prophets that begins with Adam… . Continue Reading »

How Do You Spell Tendentious?

From First Thoughts

A long article in today’s New York Times reports on some of the Vatican’s early responses to the sex-abuse crisis. The facts in the story, such as they are, appear good to know. But what the article tries to draw from it all . . . In fact, of Pope Benedict’s career as Cardinal . . . . Continue Reading »

Islamic Terrorism has Western Roots

From First Thoughts

At signandsight , a fine English language website out of Germany that covers the European scene, one can find all sorts of interesting material, including a recent interview with Olivier Roy, a French expert on Islam. Roy makes an observation that reinforces thoughts I’ve had for more than a . . . . Continue Reading »

Tradition and Interpretation

From First Thoughts

I’m catching up on my reading, and was struck by a witty and helpful discussion of biblical interpretation by Shalom Carmy in the Spring issue of Tradition: A Journal of Orthodox Jewish Thought . In his editorial for this issue, Carmy (a First Things contributor) uses the clever ambiguities . . . . Continue Reading »

More Postmodern Sex

From First Thoughts

Yes, folks, we’re entering a new era. I wasn’t surprised to see notice of a new social networking site geared toward gay men . I’m sure there are plenty already. What struck me, however, was this selling point. Users can tag themselves in any way they choose—a nice . . . . Continue Reading »