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Letters

I read R. R. Reno’s charitable words on Karl Barth with great interest (“Karl Barth,” May) and would like to offer my own remarks as a ­supplement. At the Protestant Theologicum in Tübingen (1974–5), I spent a year sharing an office with Reno’s mentor, Ronald Thiemann. Ron’s background . . . . Continue Reading »

On Demons

According to the Talmud, the demons are more numerous than we are. “They stand over us like mounds of earth surrounding a pit.” Rav Huna teaches that “each and every one of us has a thousand demons to his left and ten thousand to his right.” Abba Binyamin tells us that “if the eye had the . . . . Continue Reading »

The Greatest Christian Novel

When Dostoevsky wrote his last and greatest novel, The Brothers Karamazov, the ­revolutionary movement that would lead to Bolshevism was well ­underway. The terrorist organization People’s Will—one of the first such organizations in the world—performed daring assassinations and . . . . Continue Reading »

Briefly Noted

Pepperdine professor Paul J. Contino is a well-known and well-regarded scholar and teacher of Christianity and literature, and he proves himself an engaging and insightful guide to The Brothers Karamazov with this new study. “I began work on this book over thirty years ago,” he notes. . . . . Continue Reading »

Suicide of the Liberals

Between 1900 and 1917, waves of unprecedented terror struck Russia. Several parties professing incompatible ideologies competed (and cooperated) in causing havoc. Between 1905 and 1907, nearly 4,500 government officials and about as many private individuals were killed or injured. Between 1908 and . . . . Continue Reading »

Boy on the Temple Roof

Young Rabbi Binder has opened the floor for a “free discussion” period at the afternoon Hebrew school housed in the synagogue, where the minimal Jewish education he dispenses to postwar Jewish boys is a prerequisite for their bar mitzvah ritual. As usual, most of the kids are indifferent, even . . . . Continue Reading »

Tolstoy and Dostoevsky
(and Christ)

I have had this experience three times now, on three different occasions, in admittedly similar circumstances, but not similar enough to explain the coincidence: I am speaking from a podium to a fairly large audience on the topics of—to put it broadly—evil, suffering, and God; I have been talking for several minutes about Ivan Karamazov, and about things I have written on Dostoevsky, to what seems general approbation; then, for some reason or other, I happen to remark that, considered purely as an artist, Dostoevsky is immeasurably inferior to Tolstoy; at this, a single pained gasp of incredulity breaks out … Continue Reading »

Walker Percy: An Exchange

Joseph Schwartz: Walker Percy's Wise AnswersIt is unfortunate that Paul Greenberg’s appreciation of Walker Percy in these pages (November 1990) should have been marred by his misreading of The Moviegoer. Greenberg has fallen into the common critical error of reading that novel as if it were . . . . Continue Reading »

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