Category: History

Reading “In Praise of Folly” in 2020

From across the political spectrum, it seems the one thing everyone can agree on right now is that we’ve lost the ability to speak to each other, much less persuade one another. Our seemingly irreconcilable differences about social and political...

/ October 28, 2020

Honor Thy Boomer

Boomers have had all the luck of cod in a cask in recent generational warfare. Lyman Stone declared at The Atlantic that “The Boomers Ruined Everything.” Joseph Sternberg accuses the Boomer bloc of The Theft of a Decade, stealing Millenials’...

/ October 20, 2020

Hansel & Gretel Disenchanted: A Response to Eugene McCarraher’s “The Enchantments of Mammon”

We know the story. There wasn’t enough to eat. The children had been turned out to fend for themselves, and had, hungry, found a gingerbread house to snack on. The gingerbread boys and girls outside the house were good advertising....

/ August 24, 2020

Rise of the Scops: Wonder After the Pandemic

It was Virginia Woolf who wryly observed, “On or about December 1910, human character changed.”[1] I had no idea what this meant, until I stumbled into a fairy wood where a gilded volume by W.B. Yeats waited patiently for my...

/ April 7, 2020

Who’s Afraid of John Calvin? Answer: Thomas Jefferson

In 1822, Thomas Jefferson was enjoying a quiet retirement at his beloved Monticello. His family troubles gave him sleepless nights but he found solace in his correspondence and, as always, in his books. The former president’s mind turned over Virginia’s...

/ November 18, 2019

“Are You Alone Wise?”: Luther’s Answers for Today’s Protestants

A decade after he began advocating for reform, Martin Luther had become highly attuned to the fundamental issues at stake in the debates with his adversaries. Having made Sola Scriptura his rallying cry, he was forced to face the chaos...

/ September 3, 2019

The Protestant World of Shakespeare

By E. J. Hutchinson It is a monstrous waste of time to try to convince oneself, rocking anxiously back and forth in one’s pajamas, that William Shakespeare was a Roman Catholic—or a Protestant. It is difficult to imagine a more...

/ April 26, 2019

Book Review: The Life of Roman Republicanism by Joy Connolly

By Coyle Neal In some ways, Dr. Joy Connolly’s introduction to the formal study of Rome mirrors my own. “I began to study the republican tradition in earnest in 2001, at a time when the promise of rescue it offered—by...

/ February 19, 2018

Notes on Edgardo Mortara from a Protestant Onlooker

Last week First Things, as the colloquialism earthily says, stepped in it. The occasion for this unpleasantness was the publication of an essay by Romanus Cessario, O.P., arguing that the church was within its rights when Pope Pius IX abducted Edgardo Mortara,...

/ January 15, 2018

American History, Structural Racism, NFL Protests, and the Kingdom of God

I’m pleased to publish this piece from Michael Graham. It’s a bit meandering, but what it does well is define terms, place the debate within a broader context, and walk through the steps of the argument needed to understand the...

/ September 28, 2017