Humanities

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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The Fettmilch Attack on the Frankfurt Ghetto

Kenneth Austin— On August 22, 1614, Vincenz Fettmilch, a Calvinist gingerbread-maker, led an attack on Frankfurt’s ghetto, a single street known as the Judengasse (“Jews’ Lane”). When it was first established, the community had about 150 residents; by the early seventeenth century, this number had risen to almost 2,000. Its

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Don’t Call Me Angry

Barbara H. Rosenwein— We are tearing our body politic in two, and one reason why is that we simplify the idea of anger. We’ve all seen the headlines: “Global Anger Grows Over George Floyd Death”; “Indianapolis police fire tear gas to disperse angry crowds”; “Angry crowds set fire to Minneapolis

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Hannah Arendt on Zionism

Susie Linfield— It’s a pleasant day in the summer of 2013, and I sit with a Jewish-Israeli intellectual in a lively Tel Aviv café. She is a member of the far Left who advocates a one-state solution and is adamantly anti-Zionist. (She has since emigrated from Israel.) She asks me

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