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Tending the Borderlands

“I shall search for a garden where I can retire, and renew my spirit during this time filled with divorces, plagues, epidemics, and those other tribulations with which our present moment is so troubled.” So begins one of the more remarkable sixteenth-century treatises, “The True Recipe” . . . . Continue Reading »

Briefly Noted

Fujimura’s Art and Faith meditates on the necessity of art for spiritual flourishing. Pulling from a myriad of resources, Fujimura illustrates how artistic ­creation allows us to model ourselves after God, the first and greatest creator and artist, who­ created the world ex . . . . Continue Reading »

Music That Is Never Heard

One of the most haunting images I know of comes from the last days of James ­Simon, a German Jewish composer who perished at Auschwitz. Having survived ­Theresienstadt, he and others were sent off to their final destination. Witnesses say that the last time they saw him, Simon was waiting for the . . . . Continue Reading »

The Rise of the Middle Ages

Johan Huizinga’s The Waning of the Middle Ages, as it was once known, is a hundred years old and has just been awarded the accolade of a magnificent centenary edition in a superb, fresh English translation. This lavishly illustrated volume marvelously enhances the reader’s encounter with a . . . . Continue Reading »

Poet of Loneliness

No writer understood loneliness better than Chekhov. People long for understanding, and try to confide their feelings, but more often than not, others are too self-absorbed to care. In Chekhov’s plays, unlike those of his predecessors, characters speak past each other. Often enough, they talk in . . . . Continue Reading »

Thou

One of the disappointing features of our controversies about biblical translations, the readings in the lectionary, the composition of our hymnals, sacred art in our churches, and gestures and actions in our liturgies, is that people in charge of things seem to be poorly versed in the humanities. . . . . Continue Reading »

Look Out, Ol’ Mackie Is Back!

When I first read Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind more than thirty years ago, amid the relentless polemic I was struck by one passage: his attack on Louis Armstrong’s version of “Mack the Knife,” a song I knew and enjoyed, albeit in the far superior version by Bobby . . . . Continue Reading »

Restoration and Desecration

In recent years, reports have appeared in the media of art restorations so appalling they produce howls of laughter. That these stories have focused on the mutilation of works of religious art is no accident: Ineptitude combines with sacrilege. The most recent atrocity was inflicted on a copy of a . . . . Continue Reading »

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