Conflict of Canons

In his 1989 novel The Storyteller, Mario Vargas Llosa, Peruvian novelist and erstwhile presidential candidate, describes the Machiguenga, a scattered and wandering Amazonian tribe, the various clans of which are unified by the activities of the mysterious “hablador,”or “talker.” . . . . Continue Reading »

History According to the Village Atheist

The Arrogance of Faith: Christianity and Race in America from the Colonial Era to the Twentieth Century by forrest g. wood alfred a. knopf 517 pages, $29.95 I remember one of those 2:00 A.M. college bull sessions that gave a much younger me the beginnings of an education. On that night, we were . . . . Continue Reading »

Honor in the University

We live in a time when ethics has become big business: medical schools hire medical ethicists, business schools hire business ethicists. Congress has an ethics committee, and schools and universities are supposed to teach values. As a theologian trained in ethics, I suppose I should be happy about . . . . Continue Reading »

“J” in Bloom

The Book of J translated from the hebrew by david rosenberg interpreted by harold bloom grove weidenfeld, 340 pages, $21.95 The J of the title was discovered in 1711 by Henning Bernhard Witter, an obscure Lutheran pastor of Hildesheim, so obscure, in fact, that his role in the naming of this source . . . . Continue Reading »

The Things that Remain: An Episcopalian’s Credo

Fifteen years ordained and still serving in the parish. Still switching on the coffee at dawn Sunday mornings, still putting out the chairs for midweek Bible study, still riding with the youth group on ski trips. Still visiting at the hospital, still living with difficult people on the Vestry, still . . . . Continue Reading »

Back to Fundamentals

The Fundamentalist Phenomenon: A View from Within; A Response from Without edited by norman j. cohen eerdmans, 266 pages, $14.95This volume, containing sixteen essays (including the useful introduction by editor Norman Cohen), constitutes a valuable reference source on American Protestant and other . . . . Continue Reading »

Theology Through the Looking Glass

In Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, Alice has been having quite a run through the Garden of Live Flowers. “I declare it’s marked out just like a large chessboard!” she says. “There ought to be some men moving about somewhere—and so there are!” Alice gets excited by all . . . . Continue Reading »

Mortality: The Measure of Our Days

Men must endure Their going hence, even as their coming hither; Ripeness is all.  —King Lear For much of human history death was associated at least as much with infancy and youth as with old age. To live to be old was an achievement—a modest victory over death, and one often . . . . Continue Reading »

Briefly Noted

Religion in the New World: The Shaping of Religious Traditions in the United States by richard e. wentz fortress press, 370 pages, $19.95 Wentz, who teaches religion at Arizona State, set out to give the general reader an accessible overview of the diversities of religion in America. He has . . . . Continue Reading »