Humanities

Mystics and Lovers

Arthur Green— There is only One. That is the great truth of mysticism, found within and reaching beyond all religions. That One embraces, surrounds, and fills all the infinitely varied forms that existence has taken and ever will take. We Jews call that truth out twice daily in reciting Shema‘

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The Endangered Species of the Polymath

Peter Burke— People are talking more and more about polymaths these days, but at the same time, living examples of this intellectual species are becoming more and more difficult to find. By polymath I mean, like the ancient Greeks who coined the term, someone who has mastered many intellectual disciplines,

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The White Evangelical Alliance with Donald Trump

Thomas S. Kidd— From Eisenhower to Romney, white evangelical voters had supported Republican candidates who seemed to model personal dignity and respect for religion, even if they did not have evangelical bona fides. At times Republican evangelicals have been credulous about Republican candidates, especially Richard Nixon. But 2016 found white

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American Religion and the Marriage Debate

William N. Eskridge Jr.— From the beginning of the marriage equality debate, the main critics of marriage between persons of the same sex were religious intellectuals and public figures such as Phyllis Schlafly, Josef Ratzinger, Jim Dobson, Phil Burris, Lou Sheldon, Lynn Wardle, Maggie Gallagher, Robby George, Richard Land, and

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Trouble in Sant’Anna

Luigi Pirandello— Without knowing how or why, one fine day Jaco Naca found himself the owner of the whole sunny hillside below the city, from which there was a magnificent view of the open countryside, of hills and valleys and plains, and in the distance the sea, far away, after

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Vasily Grossman’s Life and Fate

Alexandra Popoff— Vasily Grossman began Life and Fate, a powerful anti-totalitarian novel, when Stalin was still alive. Back then he had no prospect of publication. But after the dictator’s death, when the regime admitted half truths about Stalin’s crimes, there was a glimmer of hope. Despite knowing that the repressive

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The Lizzie and Its Founder

Walter Goffart— Yale’s Elizabethan Club was founded in 1911, a big year not just at Yale. A pandemic in Manchuria was an unpromising start. This pneumonic plague was fully checked by the wearing of cloth facial masks. A tragic note was struck again by the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in

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What Kind of Life Are We Saving?

Bernard-Henri Lévy— The only debate that has truly engaged Europe and the United States is the one about the comparative vices and virtues of the Korean and Chinese, Thai or Singaporean, Confucian or liberal models for compelling people to meet health requirements. To their credit, a number of so-called learned

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Voting about God at the Council of Nicaea

Ramsay MacMullen— At Nicaea in AD 325 some 200 bishops assembled. The total is not certain: perhaps a little below that figure, probably a little above it. Not all who attended signed, as was not unusual at the end of councils nor surprising at this one, given its special difficulties.

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The Historical Context of the Book of Job

Edward L. Greenstein— Determining the time and place of the book’s composition is bound up with the nature of the book’s language. The Hebrew prose of the frame tale, notwithstanding many classic features, shows that it was composed in the post-Babylonian era (after 540 BCE). The poetic core of the

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