Category: Great Ideas

Dare We Hope That All Men Be Saved?

Hell is everywhere we look. It is integral to religious belief systems, literature, and even popular TV shows. As editor of the new compilation “The Penguin Book of Hell,” Scott Bruce explores 3,000 years of this damnation, from Odysseus traveling to Hades to Climate Change as Hell on Earth. While doing so, he reckons with […]

On Education and a New Semester

As we welcome students from break and from Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we offer some timely thoughts from the Boston University alum. In his paper “The Purpose of Education,” King argues for education that extends beyond logic into an more enlightened education of the soul. While education must help people achieve their goals, he […]

From The Chronicle of Higher Education: Engineers Need the Liberal Arts, Too

STEM has its roots in the humanities. If our intellectual foundations are uprooted, then, naturally, the natural sciences and their applications are in danger of withering away. This is a strong reason for the protests that followedPresident Trump’s beginning attempts to deforest our education, which might have had in mindthe prospect of recreating America in […]

From TheTLS: In Praise of Narcissism

Shahidha Bari must be applauding her article for the TLS, ‘In Praise of Narcissism”, which attempts a reappraisal at the figure some of us have the pleasure of finding staring us in the mirror. Many wild theories have been proposed to explain these beautiful people, including ones that have expanded their definition of narcissism to […]

Left Augustinianism: Original Sin for a Secular Age

Many thanks to Prof. Rabinovitch for bringing this to our attention! We know from our readings of Augustine’s City of God that the saint believed in a world of souls stained by original sin. Over in Britain, however, fifth-century ascetic Pelagius denied that nagging evil lurking within souls, pointing instead to a world born to […]

From The New York Times: Books Can Take You Places…

“Donald Trump doesn’t want you to go,” the title goes on, reminding us that it is actually not going where he wants some to go that is the real problem for those people. Hisham Matar at the New York Times shares an imaginative column with us in which he describes reading as getting to know […]

From The New York Times: ‘How Propaganda Works’ Is a Timely Reminder

Michiko Kakutani reviews a book that is timely because it comes likes an alarm clock, How Propaganda Works, by Professor Jason Stanley. It is not boring, so promise you will not be needing to hit the snooze button; but, in fact, the book will keep you engaged while serving as a prophylaxis against the opposing […]

From The TLS: Women Swooned

“Anxiousness reminds us of existence; happiness momentarily forgets it existed.” The power of ‘it’ in that wonderful bit of existentialism comes in the ambiguity of its reference, and so reminding us of the closeness between ‘anxiety’ and ‘existence’, almost anagrams. One of the appeals of the existentialists, then, comes in their trying to work out […]

From Literary Review: Righteous Reformations

Eric Ormsby at Literary Reviewengages in his latest review with Christopher de Bellaigue’sThe Islamic Enlightenment. The relationship between the two has not been easy, but that it has been unrequited for either is a misimpression that has gained popularity in some circles, namely populist ones. That is too bad, because de Bellaigue argues that the […]

Christopher Marlowe and the Mythology of Shakespeare

Gary Taylor, lead general editor of The New Oxford Shakespeare, departs from the usual collections of Shakespeare’s plays. For the first time, the three Henry VI plays add the name of Elizabethan tragedian and “bad boy of the English Renaissance,” Christopher Marlowe, as co-author alongside the Bard. But that’s not all–fourteen other plays from the […]