Love Is Barefoot Philosophy

Plato’s Bedroom succeeds by starting outside of religion, by unsettling all of us, showing us why our erotic lives are so important and problematic, so beautiful and at the same time potentially destructive, why love and death are never far from one another. Continue Reading »

What We've Been Reading—2.26.16

Not enough has been said about how Pope Francis—a man of strong intuitions and vivid language—lives in and has been formed by literature. He regularly cites and recommends imaginative works like José Hernández’s Martín Fierro, Robert Hugh Benson’s Lord of the World, and Alessandro Manzoni’s The Betrothed. And he thinks by their patterns. Whereas Benedict strove for a concise, clear scholarly expression, Francis seeks the striking images and strong characterizations of the storyteller. Over here are the good guys, over there the bad. Continue Reading »

Overlooked Philosophy

Peter Adamson’s Philosophy in the Hellenistic and Roman Worlds accepts a noble challenge announced in the book’s subtitle: A History of Philosophy without any gaps. It’s an impossible objective, of course. Adamson knows this, but admirably proceeds to outline three areas of philosophy that are often overlooked in the hustle of contemporary academic discourse: “Hellenistic philosophy” (the inheritance of Plato and Aristotle), “late antique philosophy among pagans, and ancient Christian philosophy.”

Necessity of the Good

We are all disciples of ­Aristotle. Whether we realize it or not, whenever we are talking about the Good we are working with ideas that are Aristotelian in origin. We speak of good food and good company, good behavior and good outcomes. These modes of the Good share a basic assumption: The . . . . Continue Reading »

Personal Plato

When scientists like Laurence Krauss and Neil deGrasse Tyson call philosophers to answer for their crimes today, the lovers of wisdom aren’t accused of anything as exciting as corrupting the youth.

Backing Down from Gregory of Nyssa’s Ascent

The early Church’s appropriation of Greek philosophy is easily caricatured as an exchange that left Christianity intellectually enriched but spiritually impoverished. In reality, the Church Fathers converted Plato before they baptized him. That is, they found Greek metaphysics useful, but they used it for their own purposes. Still, the question remains: Christians changed Plato, but how much did Plato change Christianity? Continue Reading »

Plato against Otherness

I’m still trying to understand God’s word to the woman in Genesis 3:16, connecting the difficulties of childbirth, the woman’s desire for her man, and her man ruling over her. In the narrative context of Genesis, this connection clearly looks forward to the patriarchal households of Genesis, . . . . Continue Reading »

Carl’s Rock Songbook #63: ALMOST FAMOUS, Pt. 5

Having written one , two , three , four ALMOST FAMOUS-driven posts and now this one, I obviously do think it is an excellent film. Its one weakness is a certain complacency, underlined by its ending. I don’t have a problem with happy endings per se, but the one it provides really is too easy. . . . . Continue Reading »