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The Secret of the Saeculum

In the tenth book of The City of God, Augustine reminds his readers that he is not arguing either with those who imagine there is no God or with those who suppose that whatever God there may be is improvident and does not care about this world or the people in it. It is the nature of . . . . Continue Reading »

Briefly Noted

A Catholic Quest for the Holy Grail by charles a. coulombe saint benedict, 264 pages, $27.95 Despite its frequent ­appearances in pop culture, the Holy Grail is elusive to us—even more elusive than it was to ­Perceval and King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table. Films that present it as a . . . . Continue Reading »

Vice and Fire

A Song of Ice and Fire by george r. r. martin bantam, 5216 pages, $36.39 No English child will ever again experience, as I did, the joys of Arthur Conan Doyle’s great historical romances The White Company and Sir Nigel, set in the far-off fourteenth century. The remaining . . . . Continue Reading »

From Rudolph to Bethlehem

Even though Rudolph had been around as a story book character well before 1949, Gene Autry’s recording in that year of the musical version of the saga made the red-nosed reindeer a standard member of the Yuletide cast in popular culture. I was a nine-year-old at the time and, having successfully . . . . Continue Reading »

​Praise Be to You, Lord

The First World War lingers in the memory as humanity’s first encounter with industrialized killing on a mass scale. New weapons of the machine age obliterated forests, villages and fields—an entire way of life. This new type of war also deeply shaped the thinking of men who experienced it . . . . Continue Reading »

Who Were the Inklings?

The name they chose for their group was, J. R. R. Tolkien self-effacingly recalls, “a pleasantly ingenious pun . . . suggesting people with vague or half-formed intimations and ideas plus those who dabble in ink.” The description conjures a picture of “donnish dreaminess,” a rag-tag band of tweed-clad writers who met for a pint from time to time. Continue Reading »

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