The Demon in the Jewish Soul

Demons surface. For most people, demons surface in nightmares, but for us, for Jews, demons seem to surface in history. Pharaoh, Amalek, Nebuchadnezzar, Titus, Torquemada, Chmielnitsky, and Hitler were real demons. They killed real Jews. The night demons can be forgotten, but not the demons that . . . . Continue Reading »

Heaven Is My Home

It sometimes seems to me through the mists of memory that I spent my childhood in church. That is not actually the case, of course. There was the weekly Sunday morning service, preceded by Sunday School, and it was invariable, no more to be questioned or argued over than attendance at regular . . . . Continue Reading »

Insomnia

1. I start to dream I am waking and wake with a start from the dream. Shadows gather in the attic, in the hallways, bedrooms, walls: their smell, like gas, is everywhere. I start to dream I am waking . . . 2. Night falls, then falls again as if drunk, as if slipping on ice . . . . Continue Reading »

Worldly Wisdom, Christian Foolishness

Intellectuals who are also Christians face the continuing problem of the tangled relationship between their vocation and their faith. As intellectuals, they necessarily immerse themselves in the wisdom of this world; as Christians, they understand that wisdom to be in considerable tension with what . . . . Continue Reading »

Religion and the Life of Learning

What can we know? How should we live? In what or whom should we hope? A historian might fruitfully divide Western intellectual life into periods or cultures according to which one of these three questions was the central and controlling one for them. But this imaginary (and ambitious!) historian . . . . Continue Reading »

Being Modern

Sources of the Self: The Making of the Modern Identity by charles taylor harvard university press, 601 pages, $29.95  To describe Sources of the Self as a learned book would be a little like describing Michael Jordan as a skilled basketball player: accurate, but hardly adequate to the . . . . Continue Reading »