First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

Articles from No. 158, December

Advent Windows
Holy Holle, Mother Winter,Shakes her eider till it flutters,Till the ticking frees its feathers,Drifting, shifting into snowflakes,Soft as swansdown, slowly falling,Blanketing the world in whiteness.Robed in furs of spotless whiteness,Rapt, the Snow...
Almonds to Zhoof-The Year in Books
The era of the book is coming to a close. No one knows the day or hour, but inventor Ray Kurzweil says it will be soon. The fate of the book is merely a detail in the sweeping vision of Kurzweil's The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology...
Correspondence
Executing JusticeJoseph Bottum's prudential claim ("Christians and the Death Penalty," August/September) that Christians must deny secular democracies the right to enact stories of high justice is challenging and attractive. After all, who wants to grant...
Domesticating War
Joining the continuing debate over whether pacifism and just war doctrine share a prima facie "presumption against war" are Helmut David Baer of the University of Texas and Joseph Capizzi of the Catholic University of America. Writing in the Journal...
East of Eden
East of Eden FALLEN by DAVID MAINE St. Martin's, 256pages, $23.95THE PRESERVATIONIST by DAVID MAINE St. Martin's, 240pages, $21.95SCRIPTURE MAY CALL for exegesis, but literature requires interpretation. This makes fiction based upon Scripture peculiarly...
God on the Internet
Even diligent students of the papacy may be unfamiliar with the pontificates of Michael and Pius XIII. Pope Michael, born David Bawden, was crowned on July 16,1990. He has spent his papacy mostly at home, in Delia, Kansas, where he writes selfpublished...
Jewish Babies
New Square is a small village in Rockland County, New York, less than an hour's drive from Manhattan. With fewer than five thousand residents, it would not be of particular interest to the average passerby. But New Square is unique: much like the old...
Orphans by Design
"Orphan" is one of those words that seems old-fashioned to modern ears -a word that evokes abject poverty in a Dickens novel. But in the years ahead, our reproductive technologies may lead us down a new, terrible path of creating orphans by design. In...
Our American Babylon
Once upon a time-it was the 1976 bicentennial of the American founding, to be precise-I wrote a book on the American experiment and the idea of covenant. Time magazine picked up on it and reported, "On the day of judgment, Neuhaus wants to meet God as...
Persons and Rights
Persons and Rights WHO Is MY NEIGHBOR? PERSONALISM AND THE FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS by THOMAS D. WILLIAMS The Catholic University of America Press, 342 pages, $69.95WHEN THE CHRISTIAN churches incorporated "human rights" as a philosophy and project,...
Scientific Orthodoxies
Back in the 1970s, when my wife Celeste was in the seventh grade at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the Bronx, her teacher, a Holy Cross Brother, tried to start one science class with a bang. Brandishing a textbook picture of nearly identical-looking embryos...
Strange Spirits
Strange Spirits RESTLESS SOULS: THE MAKING OF AMERICAN SPIRITUALITY by LEIGH ERIC SCHMIDT HarperSanFrancisco, 3 52 pages, $26.95WHERE TWO OR THREE Americans are gathered, they will sooner or later discuss religion. In blue states and cities, the tone...
The 45 Years That Might Have Been
It is a commonplace that American public life is today "polarized" to a degree it has never been before. A short definition of polarization is that people no longer view one another as neighbors but as opponents; conversation is displaced by political...
The Impossibility of Religious Freedom
THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM by WINNIFRED FALLERS SULLIVAN Princeton University Press, 328 pages, $29.95A valuable contribution to "churchstate" studies, a genre of which there likely will be no end. Sullivan, a dean at the University of Chicago's...
The Literary Bible
The Literary Bible NORTHROP FRYE: RELIGIOUS VISIONARY AND ARCHITECT OF THE SPIRITUAL WORLD by ROBERT D. DENHAM University of Virginia Press, 373 pages, $37.50NORTHROP FRYE WAS one of the half-dozen most influential literary critics of the twentieth century,...
The Secret of the Self
Consider the obituary column in your local newspaper-not the obituary of anyone famous but just an ordinary obituary of an ordinary person from an ordinary place.Consider it first as a surviving family member or friend, the one who has to gather the...
While We're at It
* "Chrismukkah." That was last December's commercial novelty in the service of mclusiveness. The Catholic League and the New York Board of Rabbis were not amused. They issued a joint statement: "We are deeply concerned about the spiritual misrepresentation...
Who Would True Valour See?
Who Would True Valour See? JOHN BROWN-ABOLITIONISI: THE MAN WHO KILLED SLAVERY, SPARKED THE CIVIL WAR, AND SEEDED CIVIL RIGHTS by DAVID S. REYNOLDS Knopf, 592 pages, $35THE VIOLENT abolitionist John Brown, whose assault on the federal arsenal at Harper's...
Wicca's Charm: Understanding the Spiritual Hunger Behind the Rise of Modern Witchcraft and Pagan Spirituality
WICCA'S CHARM: UNDERSTANDING THE SPIRITUAL HUNGER BEHIND THE RISE OF MODERN WITCHCRAFT AND PAGAN SPIRITUALITY by CATHERINE EDWARDS SANDERS Shaw, 256pages, $13.99paperCatherine Edwards Sanders argues that modern women turn to witchcraft and Goddess-worship...
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