The Golden Legend: Readings on the Saints

Feast of the Ecclesiastical New Year and St Symeon the Stylite
The Golden Legend: Readings on the Saints by Jacobus de Voragine; translated by William Granger Ryan; introduction by Eamon Duffy

Golden_Legend_Square.jpgTHE FIRST complete English rendering of the most widely read medieval collection of saints’ lives, originally compiled in about 1260, and without peer until replaced by Butler’s Lives of the Saints four hundred years later. The 182 readings... Continue Reading


St John Damascene: Tradition and Originality in Byzantine Theology

Feast of St Irenaeus of Lyons
St. John Damascene: Tradition and Originality in Byzantine Theology by Andrew Louth

Damascene_by_Louth_square.jpgWHEN A theologian sings, a special order of attention is due: his teaching has been transmuted into praise. St. John of Damascus (+ ca. 750), whose writings are often (if erroneously) marked as the close of the Patristic Age, gave us not only some of the greatest dogmatic treatises of all... Continue Reading


On the Dormition of Mary: Early Patristic Homilies

Feast of the Dormition of the Holy Theotokos
On the Dormition of Mary: Early Patristic Homilies, Introduction and translation by Brian E. Daley, S.J.

Daley__Dormition_Homilies_Square.jpgTHIS COLLECTION of patristic homilies on Mary’s dormition, or “falling asleep” in the Lord, offer a rich look at Mary’s central importance in Christian faith and spirituality. Through the words of Bishop John of Thessalonica, St. John of Damascus, St. Andrew of Crete, and St.... Continue Reading


The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future

Feast of the Holy Apostle Matthias
The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future (Or, Don’t Trust Anyone Under 30) by Mark Bauerlein

Bauerlein_Dumbest_Generation_Square.jpegTHE AUTHOR, Emory University English professor and former director of research and analysis at the National Endowment for the Arts, is not saying that “the Millennials”—those youth who’ve grown up in the Digital Age—are less intelligent than their predecessors. He... Continue Reading


The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains

Feast of St Salome the Holy Myrrhbearer
The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr

Carr__The_Shallows_Square.jpgTAKE SERIOUSLY the subtitle of this book: Carr’s fascination with recent brain research threads continuously through all the excursions and speculations he offers. The key to many of Carr’s convictions is the increasingly important role of neuroplasticity in scientific descriptions of brain structure (go ahead and toss off the... Continue Reading


The Case for Books: Past, Present and Future

Feast of St Joseph the Righteous of Arimathea
The Case for Books: Past, Present and Future by Robert Darnton

Darnton__Case_for_Books_Square.jpgNEITHER A Luddite lamenting the digital age, nor an unabashed futurist trumpeting paper and ink’s demise, Robert Darnton (former journalist, eighteenth-century historian, and director of Harvard University Library) offers a perspective as modern as his electronic publishing project, Gutenberg-e, and as timeless as that of Italian classicist Niccolo Perotti, who... Continue Reading


Sanctifying the World: The Augustinian Life and Mind of Christopher Dawson

Feast of the Glorious Prophet Elijah
Sanctifying the Mind: The Augustinian Life and Mind of Christopher Dawson by Bradley Birzer

Sanctifying_the_Mind.jpgTHIS SCHOLAR of culture and history was one of the most counter-cultural of all intellectuals,” writes Bradley Birzer in his sympathetic biography of Christopher Dawson. “As the world rejected God, Dawson embraced God. As the world rejected myth, Dawson embraced myth. As the world rejected . . . prophets,... Continue Reading


The Rise of Western Christendom: Triumph and Diversity, 200-1000 AD

Feast of Nicodemus the Righteous of Mount Athos
The Rise of Western Christendom: Triumph and Diversity, 200-1000 AD by Peter Brown; 3rd edition

Brown_Christendom_Square.jpegPETER BROWN tackles an enormous topic in a short space in this tenth anniversary, revised edition of the 1997 original. In an important new 47-page preface, Brown sums up recent arguments in the field of Late Antiquity and points the reader to a “short selection” of... Continue Reading


A Guide to Living in the Truth: St Benedict's Teaching on Humility

Feast of St Kyriake the Great Martyr
A Guide to Living in the Truth: Saint Benedict’s Teaching on Humility by Michael Casey

807398_5.jpgON THE understanding of written texts, philosopher and classicist Allan Bloom remarks, “The hardest thing of all is the simplest to formulate: every word must be understood. It is hard because the eye tends to skip over just those things which are most shocking or call into... Continue Reading


Defending Constantine

Feast of Peter and Paul, the Holy Apostles
Defending Constantine: The Twilight of an Empire and the Dawn of Christendom by Peter J. Leithart

Defending_Constantine_Square.jpgAND THE search for the historical Constantine continues. Reexamining the major primary sources on Constantine and the emperor’s own recorded words, the ever-engaging Peter Leithart paints a very different picture from the one promoted by Constantine’s pagan enemies, and ultimately transmitted to us by Gibbon... Continue Reading