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Dem Bones

Ossa Latinitatis Sola ad Mentem Reginaldi Rationemque: The Mere Bones of Latin According to the Thought & System of Reginaldby reginaldus thomas foster and daniel patricius mccarthycatholic university of america, 831 pages, $39.95 A recent online video shows a math teacher expounding the . . . . Continue Reading »

Thus Saith the Lord

One Sunday in high school, we went to the Anglo-Catholic parish where my headmaster served as an assistant priest. Catechized by evangelical Episcopalians and Presbyterians, I believed that the Bible was divinely inspired by God. But I had never seen it treated as such in a physical or ritual way. . . . . Continue Reading »

First Words

Why Only Us: Language and Evolutionby robert c. berwick and noam chomskymit press, 224 pages, $22.95Perhaps the most sensitive point of contact between religion and science is the issue of human distinctiveness. Christian teaching affirms that there is an “ontological discontinuity” between . . . . Continue Reading »

Grammar Rules

Gwynne’s Grammar: The Ultimate Introduction to Grammar and the Writing of Good English? by n. m. gwynne ?knopf, 288 pages, $19.95 One of the first axioms of the field of linguistics is that the rules of usage in any language at any time are wholly conventional. Proper grammar and style have no . . . . Continue Reading »

How to Do Things with Words

A friend and I are arguing over the word traditionalist as applied to Catholics. He criticizes “traditionalists” but means only the “cranks,” he insists: No “sane person” would call himself a Catholic traditionalist; only cranks do that. When he writes “traditionalist,” my friend has in mind a careful definition that excludes the likes of Cardinal Burke and Pope Emeritus Benedict, but the word in general circulation has a broader range than that, and many gentle souls get caught in its net. Continue Reading »

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