First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

Articles from No. 260, February

An Artist at Vatican II
An Artist at Vatican II The Memoirs of Louis Bouyer BY LOUIS BOUYER TRANSLATED BY JOHN PEPINO ANGELICO, 272 PAGES, $19.95This memoir is a joy to read. Louis Bouyer (1913-2004) writes so beautifully about his childhood in fin-desiècle Paris it almost...
Anecdotal Shakespeare: A New Performance History
Anecdotal Shakespeare: A New Performance History BY PAUL MENZER BLOOMSBURY, 253 PAGES, $29.95Did you hear the one where... ? Paul Menzer has heard it. He's heard the one with the drunk Richard III, the one with the fat Ghost of Hamlet's Father stuck...
Civil Obedience
Civil Obedience The Barefoot Lawyer: A Blind Man's Fight for Justice and Freedom in China BY CHEN GUANGCHENG HENRY HOLT, 352 PAGES, $30Annihilating a civilization that has withstood more famines, invasions, peasant revolts, civil wars, and tyrants than...
Culture by Subtraction
Could I get some mayonnaise with these fries?" I asked the garçon in my broken French, imagining I was being a bit chic in eschewing ketchup. "Impossible1" he replied. I tried to rephrase the question in the certain knowledge that I am among the world's...
Declaiming Homer
Declaiming Homer The Iliad TRANSLATED BY PETER GREEN UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, 608 PAGES, $29.95A translator of Homer is like a pentathlete, who needs not just sheer stamina but a variety of skills. The first example of European literary writing adapts...
Essay: A Critical Memoir
Essay: A Critical Memoir BY DONALD REVELL OMNIDAWN, 64 PAGES, $17.95Donald Revell did not write Essay: A Critical Memoir for the essayists, the critics, or the memoirists. He wrote it for the poets. And a poet, for Revell, is any person who loves.A two-time...
Fie upon Phi
A venerable rule of predication is that certain words-or, at least, certain homonymous terms-admit of univocal, equivocal, and analogical acceptations. That is to say, there are times when a term has precisely the same meaning in two or more discrete...
Five Grueling Days of Joy
When the woman came for our daughters, we were crowded around a small round metal table, eating damp French fries and day-old bagels. It was early evening, and we'd had a long day, and now another stranger was giving my wife a piece of paper. Was this...
Gaul Divided
The January 7, 2015 terrorist attacks provoked the largest demonstrations in France since the liberation of Paris. The impressive spectacle of many thousands calling themselves "Charlie" suggests that the French all accept the scatologists of Charlie...
Hamlet the Confessor
Two millennia ago, a Jewish rabbi declared that he had the authority to forgive sins or "send away mistakes" and transferred that authority to his closest followers. An early follower, Tertullian, called the action of repentance and forgiveness a "plank"...
Letters
DARK POWERSR. R. Reno's "The Nazi Taboo" section in his "Public Square" (December) immediately piqued my interest, but I am still not sure where the thesis was headed. Is the sudden emergence of ISIS an example of our vulnerability to an "upsurge in...
Making the Garden
It has taken me almost fifty years to understand fully that there is a necessary connection between God and architecture, and that this connection is, in part, empirically verifiable. Further, I have come to the view that the sacredness of the physical...
Mosebach's Art
Mosebach's Art What Was Before BY MARTIN MOSEBACH TRANSLATED BY KÁRI DRISCOLL SEAGULL, 248 PAGES, $27.50A woman asks a man what his life had been like before they met, and he tells her of a glittering world now gone: A group of well-to-do Germans gathers...
New Monasticism and the Transformation of American Evangelicalism
New Monasticism and the Transformation of American Evangelicalism BY WES MARKOFSKI OXFORD, 384 PAGES, $35Young Christians across the United States are selling their possessions, moving into intentional communities, and dedicating their lives to the "inward...
Omnibus of Fallacies
Omnibus of Fallacies Faith versus Fact: Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible BY JERRY A. COYNE VIKING, 336 PAGES, $28.95Faith versus Fact is some kind of achievement. Biologist Jerry Coyne has managed to write what might be the worst book yet published...
Populism
The rise of populism in Europe-and here in the United States by way of Donald Trump-is a rebellion against postmodern weightlessness. Political commentators are right to point out voter concerns about immigration, economic distress caused by globalization,...
Post-Protestant WASPs
The notion that we've become more egalitarian over the last two generations is hogwash. All of our presidents since Ronald Reagan are Ivy League graduates of one sort or another. Half of the men who lost to them in the general elections are as well....
Reading Recommendations
At the end of November, I had a scheduled surgery. It required a few weeks of recovery, which meant I had long stretches for reading. Three novels stood out. One was by Turkish writer and Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk, A Strangeness in My Mind. The story...
Refugees in Germany
As I am writing these lines at the end of November, the county and city of Passau (where I am from) is putting up more refugees than whole countries in Eastern Europe have agreed to accept. Winter is coming, so things must be done safely and well. I...
The Decline of Mercy in Public Life
The Decline of Mercy in Public Life BY ALEX TUCKNESS AND JOHN M. PARRISH CAMBRIDGE, 318 PAGES, $29.99Though mercy is a Christian virtue, our post-Christian society shies away from relying on it. Lenient criminal sentences, pardons, and debt forgiveness...
The Perils of Religious Liberty
On January 24, 1774, the young James Madison, twenty-two years old and two years out of Princeton, wrote an exasperated letter to his college friend William Bradford, who lived in Pennsylvania. In Virginia, Madison wrote, a season of intolerance had...
Vigils
January 6, Epiphany and the first day of Mardi Gras,in the year of Our Lord 2015The quiet alone is holy and enoughSo long as night still darkens into dawnAnd fallen starlight rises from a lawnWhose snowflakes twinkle deep in matter's stuff.And on this...
Way below the Angels: The Pretty Clearly Troubled but Not Even Close to Tragic Confessions of a Real Live Mormon Missionary
Way Below the Angels: The Pretty Clearly Troubled but Not Even Close to Tragic Confessions of a Real Live Mormon Missionary BY CRAIG HARLINE EERDMANS, 281 PAGES, $22Craig Harline, a professor of European history at Brigham Young University, has written...
While We're at It
Katholisch.de is the website for the Catholic Church in Germany. In late November, it featured an illconsidered posting by Björn Odendahl that was critical of Pope Francis. I'm not shy about criticism, but when taking Francis to task for highlighting...
Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.