First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

Articles from No. 214, June/July

A Bumping Boxcar Language
I await with great delight the first translation of the Novus Ordo Mass into English. The bland, Scripture-muffling, colorless, odorless, gaseous paraphrase American Catholics have had for forty years often was not a translation at all, nor even a paraphrase...
Ancient Destinations, Modern Journeys
Ancient Destinations, Modern Journeys Examined Lives: From Socrates to Nietzsche BY JAMES MILLER FARRAR, STRAUSS, AND GIROUX, 422 PAGES, $28People saying things: That is all that the history of philosophy is, and everyone knows it." Thus did the curmudgeonly...
A Prophet Wrongly Honored
Terry Eagleton made his name in the 1980s by demonstrating that it is possible to write wittily and even elegantly about literary theory. At the time this was something of a revelation. Theory was almost synonymous with what its advocates might have...
Blessed John Paul II and His Times
The beatification of Pope John Paul II on May 1, 2011, six years after his holy death, became, appropriately enough, the occasion to remember a spiritually radiant personality: a Catholic priest and bishop who, contrary to all expectations, captured...
Christians and Pagans: The Conversion of Britain from Alban to Bede
Christians and Pagans: The Conversion of Britain from Alban to Bede BY MALCOLM LAMBERT YALE, 336 PAGES, $50By the second century, Roman soldiers were bringing their new faith to Britain, and in the middle of the third century St. Alban became Britain's...
Creating Catholics: Catechism and Primary Education in Early Modern France
Creating Catholics: Catechism and Primary Education in Early Modern France BY KAREN E. CARTER UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME PRESS, 328 PAGES, $40Before the seventeenth century, few rural French laymen knew basic prayers, let alone many tenets of the Christian...
Elective Antipathies
Elective Antipathies Simone Weil BY PALLE YOURGRAU REAKTION BOOKS, 189 PAGES, $16.95, PAPERSimone Weil continues to fascinate. Civilization could be saved, she contended, only by a Platonic Christianity stripped of its carnal, Jewish side, through identification...
Fig Leaves and Falsehoods
The exposé of Planned Parenthood engineered by Live Action has not only disclosed some illegal and immoral operations of Planned Parenthood, it has also revealed sharp divergences in the pro-life movement and Catholic community about what counts as lying....
God's Patient Stet
It is a sobering thought that Richard Wilbur, the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning poet (1957, 1989) who was named poet laureate of the United States in 1987, is now ninety years old. David Orr, in a recent Sunday book review in the New York Times, has...
Huck Finn the Israelite
Huck Finn the Israelite The Instructions BY ADAM LEVIN MCSWEENEY'S, 1030 PAGES, $29Using the kind of comprehensive, pick-a-fight judgments that characterized American literary criticism in a bolder, fiercer era, Leslie Fiedler once called the nation's...
In Ishmael's House: A History of Jews in Muslim Lands
In Ishmael's House: A History of Jews in Muslim Lands BY MARTIN GILBERT YALE, 448 PAGES, $35In his book In Ishmael's House: A History of Jews in Muslim Lands, the prolific British historian Martin Gilbert ventures into the political minefield of historical...
Letters
CHALLENGING EVANGELICALSIf Gerald McDermott is right, Martin Luther is the person ultimately responsible for liberal theology ("Evangelicals Divided," April). Like those evangelicals McDermott labels Meliorists (a term none of us uses), Luther dared...
Missing Religion
Missing Religion Does God Make a Difference? Taking Religion Seriously in Our Schools and Universities BY WARREN A. NORD OXFORD, 344 PAGES, $29.95With regard to religion," writes Warren Nord, "American education is superficial, illiberal, and unconstitutional....
Modern and American Dignity: Who We Are as Persons and What That Means for Our Future
Modern and American Dignity: Who We Are as Persons and What that Means for Our Future BY PETER AUGUSTINE LAWLER ISI BOOKS, 2.78 PAGES, $2.6.95In this stimulating collection of essays written while he served on the President's Council on Bioethics, Peter...
Playing the Long Season
Unlike many in our society, I find myself becoming less rather than more interested in the NCAA basketball tournament, otherwise known as "March Madness." And I am surely one of very few who think that 64 teams is at least 32 - and perhaps even 48 -...
The Preferential Option for the Poor
A year or so ago I got together with some college friends. Good guys - careers, families, some churchgoers, others not, all involved in their communities. For the most part bourgeois in the best sense. But a few were perplexed. They wanted to know why...
The Spirit of Father Damien: The Leper Priest
The Spirit of Father Damien: The Leper Priest BY JAN DE VOLDER IGNATIUS, 2Z8 PAGES, $15-95The physical barriers of the wild, wind-ravaged, and isolated Hawaiian Kalaupapa peninsula are a fitting symbol of the world's understanding of the legacy of Fr....
The Truth about Greenhouse Gases
The object of the Author in the following pages has been to collect the most remarkable instances of those moral epidemics which have been excited, sometimes by one cause and sometimes by another, and to show how easily the masses have been led astray,...
Westernizing Islam and the American Right
At the end of The Searchers, John Wayne stands framed by the darkened doorway of a cabin, and with the dry scrub and John Ford vastness behind him he contemplates the house his successful search party has just entered. He looks inside for a second, half...
While We're at It
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has announced that men seeking to spay or neuter their pets are eligible for a free vasectomy in solidarity with their soon-to-be sterile dog or cat. The winner will be selected based on how well he argues...
Wilhelm Röpke's Political Economy
Wilhelm Röpke's Political Economy BY SAMUEL GREGG EDWARD ELGAR, 216 PAGES, $115Once upon a time, a political economist could write a book titled An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations and another one titled The Theory of Moral...
Worship and the Reality of God: An Evangelical Theology of Real Presence
Worship and the Reality of God: An Evangelical Theology of Real Presence BY JOHN JEFFERSON DAVIS INTERVARSITYPRESS, 231 PAGES, $22.During the past two decades an unlikely wave of liturgical enthusiasm has swept over American evangelicalism, but it is...
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