Port and Nuts with the Eliots: A Review of Notes towards the Definition of Culture

Feast of St Andrew the First-Called Apostle

LIKE MOST important writers, Mr. T. S. Eliot is not a single figure but a household. This household has, I think, at least three permanent residents. First, there is the archdeacon, who believes in and practices order, discipline, and good manners, social and intellectual, with a thoroughly Anglican distaste for evangelical excess:

… his conversation, so nicely
Restricted to What Precisely
And... Continue Reading


Lives of the Mind: The Uses and Abuses of Intelligence from Hegel to Wodehouse

Feast of the Martyrs Marcian and Martyrius
Lives of the Mind: The Uses and Abuses of Intelligence from Hegel to Wodehouse by Roger Kimball

ADDRESSING intellectual hubris, critic Roger Kimball counters with a definition of intellectual humility: “Till we can become divine we must be content to be human, lest in our hurry for a change we sink to something lower” (Anthony Trollope). Kimball’s approach in Lives of... Continue Reading


Orthodoxy and The Everlasting Man

Feast of Our Righteous Father Theophilus the Confessor
Orthodoxy and The Everlasting Man by G. K. Chesterton

ORTHODOXY is surely one of the most famous apologies for Christian orthodoxy of the modern age. Chesterton's dazzling use of metaphor and paradox fits comfortably with his conviction that the world is neither unreasonable nor reasonable, but nearly reasonable, "a trap for logicians." This silent "swerving from accuracy by an inch" is... Continue Reading


The Hero Is a Hobbit: A Review of The Fellowship of the Ring

Feast of St. Methodia the Righteous of Kimolos
The Fellowship of the Ring: Being the First Part of the Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien

IN 1937 there appeared, without any fanfare, a book called The Hobbit which, in my opinion, is one of the best children’s stories of this century. In The Fellowship of the Ring, which is the first volume of a trilogy,... Continue Reading


Christianity & Culture

Feast of the Elevation of the Venerable & Live-Giving Cross
Christianity & Culture by T. S. Eliot

ELIOT'S point of departure is clear enough. He names it “the suspicion that the current terms in which we discuss international affairs and political theory may only tend to conceal from us the real issues of contemporary civilization” As poet, Eliot practices his craft in accord with that question –... Continue Reading


The God Who Believes: Faith, Doubt, and the Vicarious Humanity of Christ

Feast of the Holy Apostle Thaddaeus
The God Who Believes: Faith, Doubt, and the Vicarious Humanity of Christ by Christian D. Kettler

ST GREGORY of Nazianzus’ dictum ‘the unassumed is the unhealed’, insisting that the Son of God assumed our humanity in every single aspect except for sin, has been a plumb-line for sound theological thinking for sixteen centuries. Yet it has usually remained just that – a... Continue Reading


St Macarius the Spiritbearer: Coptic Texts Relating to Saint Macarius the Great

Feast of the Dormition of St Anna, Mother of the Theotokos
St Macarius the Spiritbearer: Coptic Texts Relating to Saint Macarius the Great translated with introduction by Tim Vivian

THIS VOLUME, paired with Four Desert Fathers, brings the lives and teachings of four Coptic monks to a wider audience than Gabriel Bunge and Adalbert de Vogue’s original, largely academic, French translations from the Coptic Palladiana. Dr. Tim Vivian, a... Continue Reading


Cosmic Liturgy: The Universe According to Maximus the Confessor

Feast of St Euphemia the Great Martyr

AN EXTRAORDINARILY bold statement: “Von Balthasar developed his view of the importance of the Confessor within the horizon of patristic thought but also in the broadest possible context of the history of thought. He considers this possible, because he begins with the assumption that there is, in the final analysis, one single question for human thought at every time and in every... Continue Reading


The Philokalia

Feast of St Macrina, Grandmother of St Basil the Great
The Philokalia – 4 volumes (of projected 5) compiled by St. Nikodimos of the Holy Mountain and St. Makarios of Corinth; translated from the Greek and edited by G. E. H. Palmer, Philip Sherrard, and Kallistos Ware

THE PHILOKALIA is a collection of texts written between the fourth and fifteenth centuries by thirty-six spiritual masters of the Orthodox... Continue Reading


God's Plagiarist

Feast of St Eulogios the Innkeeper of Constantinople
God’s Plagiarist: Being an Account of the Fabulous Industry and Irregular Commerce of the Abbé Migne by R. Howard Bloch

IN HIS REVIEW in the New Republic, Anthony Grafton describes God’s Plagiarist as “An unforgettable, Daumier-like portrait” of an “enterprising, austere and somewhat crazed merchandiser of sacred learning.” Grafton is right on the mark. This is the story of a... Continue Reading