Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

The Myth of the Sixties

Once again, college students are in angry rebellion—against almost everything, it seems. I remember the feeling. But it is more than half a century since I smelled the anger and the tear gas. Here are my best recollections of an earlier time of rage, revolt, and high expectations. It is 1965, . . . . Continue Reading »

Valuing Celibacy

The question of married priests is primarily a Christological and ecclesiological one. But it has important practical and pastoral aspects, as well. Many claim that eliminating the celibacy requirement would increase the supply of priests, thereby increasing the pastoral capacity of the Church. This . . . . Continue Reading »

Briefly Noted

In the late sixth century, the monk John Moschos called the Judean Desert a “spiritual meadow,” one blossoming with men and women seeking God alone. Fourteen centuries later, William Dalrymple retraced Moschos’s footsteps in From the Holy Mountain: A Journey Among the Christians of the . . . . Continue Reading »

A Good Editor Is Hard to Find

In graduate school, I was a teaching assistant for a course on postwar novels, and I observed over the course of two semesters that no one ever wrote a truly good paper on Ian McEwan’s Atonement or a truly bad paper on Muriel Spark’s The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. Something about . . . . Continue Reading »

Benevolent Autocrat

The sinister character ­Salazar Slytherin, of Harry Potter fame, was named after Antonio de Oliveira Salazar, prime minister of Portugal from 1932 to 1968, whom J. K. Rowling had learned to revile during her two years living in Porto in the early nineties. By contrast, the American . . . . Continue Reading »

The Real Sherman

If William Tecumseh Sherman is known for one thing, it is the scorching of Atlanta in November 1864 as he and his army set off on their March to the Sea. Like so much else that is associated with Sherman, the popular image of ruined Atlanta is an exaggeration. (About 70 percent of the city’s . . . . Continue Reading »

Eminent Boomers

Every generation thinks itself the best, or the worst, or the first, or the last. Anything to distinguish it from the generations that came before. Intergenerational contempt is nothing new, even if it purports to be: It was there even as Marcus ­Tullius Cicero was beheaded in Rome in 43 b.c. But . . . . Continue Reading »

When Campion Met Miss Anscombe

Edmund Campion (1540–81) and Elizabeth Anscombe (1919–2001) were among the most brilliant of their generations of Oxford students: he at St. John’s College, she at St. Hugh’s. Later, each held fellowships in the university and delivered sermons in the university church of St. Mary the . . . . Continue Reading »

Lincoln’s Almost Chosen People

In his wonderful book Land of Lincoln, Andrew Ferguson recalls meeting an immigrant family from Thailand who ran a restaurant in Chicago just a few blocks from the Orthodox Jewish neighborhood where I grew up. This couple, Oscar Esche and his wife, had developed a passionate devotion to . . . . Continue Reading »

Evangelicals and Race Theory

For many years, apart from sporadic eruptions in American society, the issue of race has played Banquo’s ghost at the American evangelical banquet: an unsettling, unwelcome, somewhat passive guest. But recent trends in American public opinion, fueled by reports of police violence, have made race . . . . Continue Reading »

Filter Tag Articles