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Origen’s Ladder

No Christian writer of the early centuries elicited greater hostility among critics of the new religion than did Origen of Alexandria. He was born toward the end of the second century, at a time when Greek thinkers began to sense that Christians presented a formidable social and intellectual . . . . Continue Reading »

Karl Barth

No theologian has exercised a greater influence on me than Karl Barth. I first encountered his work while I was a student at Haverford College. In those years, I was smitten with Carl Jung and Paul Tillich, who fed my growing interest in matters spiritual. But Barth did not traffic in the soft . . . . Continue Reading »

Law of Nations

Whatever international order there is today, it certainly is not beholden to political theology for its justification. Nevertheless, William Bain, a professor of international relations at the National University of Singapore, shows in this book that the idea of international order was justified in . . . . Continue Reading »

Unsolitary Grandeur

“The mountains are my church.” So said an old parishioner of mine who tended cattle in the Wet Mountains of Colorado. He meant this hackneyed comment (you can still see it on bumper stickers) to explain his infrequent Sunday visits. I recalled it as I embarked with my family on a long December . . . . Continue Reading »

Seeing the Whole

A few years ago, I visited Albi, a small town in southern France famed for its Cathedral of Saint Cecilia. Constructed of the rose-colored brick typical of the region, the building was begun in the thirteenth century, about a hundred years after the Albigensian Crusade against the region’s . . . . Continue Reading »

Letters

I appreciated Sohrab Ahmari’s generous review of my book Live Not by Lies (“Resist in Truth,” November), and I credit his observation that what I deem “authentic liberalism”—­tolerant and pluralistic—is difficult to sustain. But it’s hard to see any realistic . . . . Continue Reading »

Rigorous Divinity

Theology is born of wonder. We see the sun and ask: What light illumines this light? We read of a bush that burns but is not consumed and wonder: What fire burns without need for fuel? Wonder before the realities presented to us by the Book of Nature and the Book of Scripture leads us to wonder . . . . Continue Reading »

Last Things

In 1972, I took part in a Christian panel addressing senior students at a government high school in rural Australia. Afterward, a student approached me to discuss our Catholic claims. He was an unbeliever who was also seeking answers from a small Protestant group. I lost out when I explained that . . . . Continue Reading »

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