The Cross and the Powers

Today’s militant atheists claim that religion, Christianity in particular, has corrupted “everything.” Believers don’t think Christianity is the source of the world’s evil, but we are haunted by the sense that Christianity hasn’t done all that much good either.Paul . . . . Continue Reading »

David Tracy, Our Erasmus

In May 2008 a conference was held at the University of Chicago in honor of David Tracy, who had retired the year before after nearly forty years on the faculty. The accolades of colleagues and friends were abundant and well deserved. Tracy, a Catholic priest, was the first theologian at the . . . . Continue Reading »

The Peculiar Peculiar Life of Sundays

So-called “cultural histories” are written with a general audience in mind. They are meant to be leisurely strolls in the park, not trips to the Amazon with a botanist. Observations of trees and plant life are made and distinctions noted with the goal of clarifying our aesthetic . . . . Continue Reading »

The May Issue Has Arrived

The new issue¯ First Things ’ contribution to the Spring¯has arrived at last: the first hints of new growth since the cold winter came upon us. More than hints, perhaps, for it is, in its way, as strong an issue as the magazine has ever published.There’s a new poem, for instance, . . . . Continue Reading »

Death on a Friday Afternoon

Exploration into God is exploration into darkness, into the heart of darkness. Yes, to be sure, God is light. He is the light by which all light is light. In the words of the Psalm, “In your light we see light.” Yet great mystics of the Christian tradition speak of the darkness in which the . . . . Continue Reading »

On the Anniversary of Tocqueville's Death

If Alexis de Tocqueville was right in observing that the American nation insists upon “perpetual adoration of itself,” why have Americans been such devoted readers of Democracy in America for almost two centuries now? Maybe initially Americans mistook the title itself for praise: Surely the . . . . Continue Reading »

Benedict in America

This article by Richard John Neuhaus, who passed away January 8, 2009 , was published in the August/September 2008 issue of First Things , and is reprinted below on the one-year anniversary of Pope Benedict’s visit. In saying that one must guard against superlatives in recounting Pope . . . . Continue Reading »

Between Market and State

By many accounts the rise to prominence of institutions other than the church or the state marks the transition from the medieval to the modern era. Even so, it is true that many Protestant reformers considered the right balance of the relations between church and state to be of first importance in . . . . Continue Reading »

On Graduate Study In Theology

I’m often asked by students, “Where’s a good place to study theology?” It’s not an easy question to answer. Lots of places have strengths¯and they also have weaknesses. More importantly, the most appropriate school has a lot to do with the student. Interests, . . . . Continue Reading »

Pontius Pilate: The Unjust Judge

As a lawyer and judge, my understanding of the Bible has naturally become colored by my experiences in, and knowledge of, the law and the legal system. Thus, in meditating on the gospel accounts of Christ’s interaction with Pontius Pilate, my focus in recent years has been on Pilate’s role as . . . . Continue Reading »