Millionaire Migrants, Broke Postdocs

This is a guest post by Dr. Justin Tse of the Comparative Religion Department at the University of Washington. I am on the postdoc market myself and hope to avoid some of the problems he describes below: =================== Two of my journalist colleagues in Vancouver may have broken the Internet in Vancouver and Hong Kong. I am not a journalist. However, as an academic, I get the occasional interview from journalists, and I have learned that what it means to be a ‘colleague’ with a journalist … [Read More...]

The Ghent Altarpiece has everybody looking on and nobody ingesting.  (Jan van Eyck, The Mystic Lamb, 1432; Source: Wikimedia Commons, PD-Old-100)

See and Taste the Lord is Good: Ocular Communion as Real Communion

Yesterday's post on the curious practice of ocular communion included a brief citation that Ann Astell excerpted in her Eating Beauty. That brief citation from Image as Insight: Visual Understanding in Western Christianity and Secular Culture caused the most consternation, because it argued that in medieval practice and popular piety (lex orandi, lex credendi?) ocular communion was considered to be real communion, even superior to ingesting the Eucharist.Here is a much fuller bite of Image … [Read More...]

Eucharistic adoration is real communion (arish church "Saint Martin" in Diex in the community of Diex - Devotional picture; Source: Wikimedia Commons, PD)

Hand? Mouth? What About the Third Way of Receiving Communion?

There are way too many silly debates on how to take Communion. Being a contrarian at heart I like to receive it in a way that the priest does not prefer. Receiving communion is the main point, not the manner, and to be honest most of them don't care. I do admire Katrina R. Fernandez for taking her stand for communion in the mouth during her grandmother's funeral. And if some of you think this is impious and I'm in the saying things in the wrong spirit when it comes to the Mysteries then you have … [Read More...]

Grasshoppers/Locusts are a symbol of immortality and good luck, but they also make great snacks (Jacek Malczewski, Resurrection,

Daily Life in the Time of Jesus: Locust Eating 101

Biblical references frequently remain abstractions until they collide with our reality. After opening Henri-Daniel Rops' Daily Life in the Time of Jesus and read ingabout locust eating I searched for (what else?) a youtube video (see below). That's when I realized that locusts are merely grasshoppers in their swarming stage.I've spent some time in Norway where they have unusual foods like reindeer salami (you feel a little like you're eating Bambi's mother) and whale steak. My paternal … [Read More...]

You'd think the body is the locus of sin from some depictions of this scene. (Peter Paul Rubens, Adam and Eve, 1597; Wikimedia Commons, PD-Old-100)

For Catholicism the Spirit is the Root of Evil not the Body!

March 25th is the Feast of the Annunciation. This commemorates the day when God took on flesh and made a mess of human thinking on a lot of topics. For much of ancient thought the body was the seat of evil. The goal was escaping the body into the realm of pure spirit where you could enjoy your soul in peace from all those horrible distractions caused by the body.Christianity took all that and turned it upside down. Here is Fabrice Hadjadj from an extended interview I'm translating for Ethika … [Read More...]

Yes, that's Bibi Sr.

Netanyahu Understands the Inquisition Better than Zmirak (Who is Closer to Cruz)

The Black Legend of the Inquisition persists because it takes popular opinion a couple of hundred years to catch up with propaganda. The Inquisition propaganda has its roots in the Reformation and Enlightenment polemics against Catholics. It was used as a foil to make those two groups look better in comparison with Catholics. Ideas have a life of their own independent of their origins, therefore the Inquisition persists to this day in various present day polemics.John Zmirak (for background … [Read More...]


Deneen, MacIntyre, Schindler, Dreher? For John Zmirak I’m Ahead of Them All!

John Zmirak is a Catholic intellectual of limited credibility. He has an MFA, surprisingly enough a PhD in English (the sort of thing a libruhl would have, although these days they give diplomas to just about anyone--I'm living proof), and recently became an armchair commando on the fart-right website World Net Daily. If we were talking about anyone else the latter development could be described as a fall from grace, but that's totally inappropriate here.Zmirak has wasted the last couple of … [Read More...]

natural theology

Theological Beliefs Might Be Natural, BUT Are They Rational?

I have this nasty little habit of reading several books simultaneously. The variety of my reading experiences spices things up by helping me make connections between several texts.Right now I'm reading Gadamer's Truth and Method, Levering's The Theology of Augustine, and Mosebach's novel What Was Before. After starting a blog series on atheism with the pieces Those Christians Who Think there is an Atheist Worldview Deserve a Tinfoil Hat and John Gray: Waiting for an Atheist Morality is Like … [Read More...]

Apparently there are no classical paintings with tinfoil hats, so here's the Polish king's court jester. (Source: Jan Matejko, Stańczyk, 1862; Wikimedia Commons, PD-Old-100)

Those Christians Who Think there is an Atheist Worldview Deserve a Tinfoil Hat

The post "John Gray: Waiting for an Atheist Morality is Like Waiting for Godot" sparked something resembling a debate the last two days. Some of it was very constructive. Some of it was like this:The funniest thing about it, besides the racism (atheists aren't magically immune apparently), is how the anonymous writer is hiding behind a screen name derived from Oscar Wilde's Picture of Dorian Gray. It's funny because, first of all, Dorian Gray shares a last name with John Gray … [Read More...]

gray marionette

John Gray: Waiting for an Atheist Morality is Like Waiting for Godot

John Gray is one of our most fascinating public intellectuals and one heck of a muckraker. He likes to take on all comers in a Voltarian fashion. This is why he is featured on my Ethika Politika post "Neither Nye Nor Gopnik: 10 Atheists Who Engage Religion Charitably." I put Gray's Heresies: Against Progress and Other Illusions on that list. Now he has a new book coming, The Soul of the Marionette: A Short Inquiry into Human Freedom. It's going to be a barnburner if it's anything like his latest … [Read More...]