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Orthodox Origen

Origen:  On First Principles edited and translated by john behr oxford, 800 pages, $200 In its eleventh canon, the Second Council of ­Constantinople (553) anathematized Arius, ­Eunomius, Macedonius, ­Apollinaris, Nestorius, and ­Origen, along with their impious writings. Adding Origen’s . . . . Continue Reading »

Aristotle Returns

Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives on Contemporary Science  edited by william m. r. simpson, robert c. koons, and nicholas j. teh  routledge, 352 pages, $140 Raphael’s School of Athens depicts Aristotle and Plato at the center of a group of ancient Greek philosophers modeled on . . . . Continue Reading »

Vulgar Deconstruction

Back in the 1970s, when the humanities still set the intellectual tone for the college campus, it was common for advanced scholars to divide the personnel in two: There were those who understood High Theory and those who didn’t. New ideas and methods were in the air. Leading-edge journals and . . . . Continue Reading »

Vinculum Magnum Entis

I was once told by a young, ardently earnest Thomist . . . you know, one of those manualist neo-paleo-neo-Thomists of the baroque persuasion you run across ever more frequently these days, gathered in the murkier corners of coffee bars around candles in wine bottles, clad in black turtlenecks and . . . . Continue Reading »

The Myth of the Apophatic Areopagite

When most theologians hear the phrase “absolutely ineffable,” they nod approvingly and reach for their Dionysius. I cringe and reach for the Bible. Every theologian can admit that the Bible’s descriptions of God need to be contextualized, qualified, and grounded in a properly Christian metaphysics, but for many theologians today, Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite delivers us from the problem of anthropomorphism altogether. Especially for those influenced by postmodernism or postfoundationalism, everything Dionysius says about God—and he says plenty—adds up to one great (and absolutely good) negation. (Dionysius wrote in the early sixth century and used a pseudonym based on the Athenian convert Paul mentions in Acts 17:34.) Continue Reading »

A Tale of Two Thomases

Consider this description of one of “America’s Byways”: “Traversing the lush hills and farmlands of southern Indiana, and paralleling the mighty Ohio River, this route marks a timeworn and history-rich corridor linking historic villages and farms through a picturesque landscape. Rock . . . . Continue Reading »

Cosmic Questions

Dreams of a Final Theory by steven weinberg pantheon, 338 pages, $25 In the second-to-last chapter of his new book, Dreams of a Final Theory, Steven Weinberg writes, “It would be wonderful to find in the laws of nature a plan prepared by a concerned creator in which human beings played . . . . Continue Reading »

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