Announcing the Tradition Project

Here is an item about a new research project that will interest many First Things readers. As reported in this story, the Center for Law and Religion at St. John’s University School of Law has received a major grant from the Bradley Foundation to launch the Tradition Project, a new, . . . . Continue Reading »

Briefly Noted

Boswell’s Enlightenment by robert zaretsky harvard, 288 pages, $26.95 When James Boswell met Voltaire, he was not content to pass on after a few pleasantries. Sitting in the French philosophe’s chaletin Ferney, Boswell pressed him to declare whether he believed in immortality and eternal life. . . . . Continue Reading »

The Word and the Rule of Faith

Evangelicalism is awash in the 3Rs: retrieval, renewal, and ressourcement. As Michael Allen and Scott Swain explain in Reformed Catholicity, recently published by Baker Academic press, various movements have emerged sharing the conviction that “the path to theological renewal lies in retrieving resources from the Christian tradition.” In their view, these efforts have been haphazard, and their book sketches a “programmatic assessment of what it means to retrieve the catholic tradition . . . on the basis of Protestant theological and ecclesiological principles.” Continue Reading »

Looking East

Turning to Tradition by d. oliver herbel oxford, 256 pages, $27.95 In 2010, Eastern Orthodox Christians in America awoke to a painful realization—there aren’t very many of us. Since the 1920s, various prelates and the pages of archdiocesan yearbooks have claimed that there were as many . . . . Continue Reading »

Singing Lessons

As my daughter and I travelled home over the Wicklow Mountains, our voices echoed between the cliffs, turning the heads of passing sheep as we rolled into the wooded hollows below. She knows these songs by heart from years of lullabies and sing-alongs since, but doesn’t yet realize that children . . . . Continue Reading »

The Enemies, and Friends, of the Humanities

A funny thing happened when Michael Novak brought Herbert Marcuse to lecture to his students. It was the early-1970s when campus rebellion had entered its darker phase, and Marcuse was an idol of the Movement. His theory of “repressive tolerance” served as an essential touchstone for protest, and his volatile mix of Marx and Freud seemed an edgy, relevant style of intellectualized activism. Continue Reading »

Tradition and the Individual Theologian

Catholics, Orthodox, and not a few Protestants have been known to reject theological novelties with a wave of the hand and an appeal to tradition. “Shouldn’t we follow the tradition rather than the judgments of an individual scholar?” Sometimes the modifier “idiosyncratic” is added to “judgments” for rhetorical oomph. “Tradition” is implicitly capitalized, for who can argue with a capital letter? Continue Reading »