First Things - Religion and Public Life Donate to First Things
Login forgot password? | register Close

God's Strangeness

Skimming through a stack of books recently, I found myself reading a testimonial of sorts from James D. G. Dunn, the great New Testament scholar who coined the phrase “the new perspective on Paul.” Having logged decades of ministry in various Methodist contexts, Dunn tries to explain what it . . . . Continue Reading »

The Last Man and the First Man

Scanning half a dozen major journals for obituaries devoted to the most important mystery writer of our time, P. D. James (1920–2014), I was astonished to find that not one of them mentioned her serious Anglo-Catholicism, much less its shaping presence in her fiction. This, despite one murder occurring in a church (A Taste for Death, 1986), a novel set in a theological college (Death in Holy Orders, 2001), another named Original Sin (1994), still another titled directly from the Book or Common Prayer (Devices and Desires, 1989), as well as an apocalyptic Christian allegory (The Children of Men, 1992). Continue Reading »

Knowing the Trinity

Richard of St. Victor, a 12th-century Scottish theologian, is not exactly a household name in 21st-century Christian circles. Truth to tell, I only know of him because of a curious conversation I once had with my friend, the late Richard John Neuhaus, who, as only he could, told me of a friendly discussion he’d had with Rabbi David Novak one summer about the Scotsman’s Trinitarian theology, which tried to establish by reason that God must be triune. (We talked about a lot of strange and wondrous things, up there on the cottage deck in the Ottawa Valley.) Continue Reading »

The Acid Bath of Ingratitude

Early last week, there was a terrible accident. A young mother, driving on icy Wyoming roads, lost control of her car, and two of her three children became lost to heaven. A photograph of the family in happier days circulated the Internet and brought a stunning sense of pain to perfect . . . . Continue Reading »

The Christian World of Agatha Christie

In 1971, a group of British notables, both Catholic and non-Catholic, petitioned for the retention of the Tridentine Rite in England and Wales. As the story goes, Pope Paul VI read the petition and, arriving at the name of Agatha Christie, shrugged and agreed to the request. Such are the mysterious workings of providence, as manifested in the field of cultural history. The ‘Agatha Christie Indult’ may be the only occasion of a detective novelist influencing Vatican policy, although, given the popularity of the genre, it may not… . Continue Reading »

Filter Tag Articles