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Pope Francis and the Two Cities

For a class on Catholic Social Teaching this past fall, I assigned my college students Robert Hugh Benson's dystopian novel Lord of the World. I thought the book would pair well with our extensive studies of the thought of Pope Francis, in part because Francis has conspicuously mentioned Benson’s . . . . Continue Reading »

In Honor of David Steinmetz

David Curtis Steinmetz, one of the leading church historians of our time, died this past November at age 79 on Thanksgiving evening. He spent most of his distinguished academic career at Duke Divinity School, where he was the Ragan Kerns Distinguished Professor Emeritus of the History of . . . . Continue Reading »

Whatever Happened to Sacral Kingship?

In an average college course, the history of Western political theory typically follows a simple plot: A flowering of secular, republican rationality in Ancient Athens and Republican Rome foundered on a combination of Imperial overstretch and civil war.

Overlooked Philosophy

Peter Adamson’s Philosophy in the Hellenistic and Roman Worlds accepts a noble challenge announced in the book’s subtitle: A History of Philosophy without any gaps. It’s an impossible objective, of course. Adamson knows this, but admirably proceeds to outline three areas of philosophy that are often overlooked in the hustle of contemporary academic discourse: “Hellenistic philosophy” (the inheritance of Plato and Aristotle), “late antique philosophy among pagans, and ancient Christian philosophy.”

Trust Witness

Revelation as Testimony by mats wahlberg eerdmans, 256 pages, $20 T wentieth-century theologians across a great spectrum—Catholic and Protestant, conservative and progressive—were critical of theories of divine revelation based exclusively on propositional truth. They were united not in their . . . . Continue Reading »

By What Authority?

If we are unclear as to the authority for our cultural transformative efforts, we run the risk of being transformed ourselves by the very culture we hope to change. In which case, there will be little difference between Niebuhr's “Christ transforming culture” and “Christ of culture.” Continue Reading »

Traditio Deformis

The long history of defective Christian scriptural exegesis occasioned by problematic translations is a luxuriant one, and its riches are too numerous and exquisitely various adequately to classify. But I think one can arrange most of them along a single continuum in four broad divisions: some . . . . Continue Reading »

Between Sweetness and Nausea

A few years ago I learned a new word. I wonder if you know it—ecotone? An ecotone is where two ecospheres come together—where they meet and merge into one another. The Mississippi River flowing into the Gulf of Mexico—that is an ecotone. Or imagine flying over the plains out West, and then you look up and there are the Rocky Mountains. Where the plains meet the mountains, where the current meets the tide—that is an ecotone. An ecotone is always a place that is fragile, unstable, shifting, fluid, risky, filled with danger and yet, at the same time Continue Reading »

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