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The Myth of Medieval Paganism

They don’t look very Christian—those strange faces made of leaves, and those women displaying cartoonishly enlarged genitals on the walls of medieval churches. Most people who have explored the medieval architecture of Western Europe have heard a tour guide explain that a particular carving . . . . Continue Reading »

Oppression by Indifference

Almost all Western democracies other than the United States provide public support to parents who wish to send their children to private schools with a distinctive religious character. In the Netherlands, this policy was ­formalized by the Pacificatie of 1917, which resolved seven decades . . . . Continue Reading »

American Pilgrimage

We began just after daybreak. One by one, the brigades filed out of the parking lot, each singing a different hymn. Turning away from the water, the lengthening line of pilgrims snaked up the hill toward a colossal statue of St. Isaac Jogues. This St. Isaac was not the bashful youth of prayer cards. . . . . Continue Reading »

Civil War Catholics

In recent decades, the Civil War has received an increasing amount of attention from historians. Some of this scholarship has focused on the role religion played in the war. In The Civil War as a Theological Crisis (2006), Mark Noll describes the Civil War as a turning point in the . . . . Continue Reading »

Soul Proprietor

In the history of Western thought, two conceptions of the soul have competed for dominance, one associated with Plato and the other with Aristotle. For the Platonist, your soul is the real you, and your body merely a vehicle to which it is temporarily attached—indeed, your body is a kind of . . . . Continue Reading »

Letters

I don’t suppose it will be easy for Carl Trueman (“Turning Inward,” December 2019) and me to avoid talking past each other, but let’s give it a try. My book, The Meaning of Protestant Theology, is not an effort to engage with secondary literature. (Gerhard Forde? Never read him; don’t . . . . Continue Reading »

The World Turned Upside Down

After the Second World War, American intellectuals promoted a grand narrative about the origins and development of Western civilization. The purpose of this narrative was less academic than political. Its goal at home was to catechize a diverse country in an open-ended story that celebrated the . . . . Continue Reading »

Thirty Years at First Things

This is our 300th number, marking thirty years of publication. In early 1989, Richard John Neuhaus had no inkling that he was about to found First Things. A Lutheran pastor noted for his incisive religious and political commentaries, he was busy running the Center on Religion and Society. The Center . . . . Continue Reading »

Loving to Know

In many spheres, the question not just of what we know but of how we know is urgent and vital. I have tried to develop the notion of love as the ultimate form of knowledge and to explore its wider relevance. My history with this question begins in the 1980s, when I was growing concerned by profound . . . . Continue Reading »

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