Marilynne Robinson: What Literature Owes the Bible

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This wonderful piece was published last week in the New York Times. Authored by the writer and novelist Marilynne Robinson, it begins this way: The Bible is the model for and subject of more art and thought than those of us who live within its influence, consciously or unconsciously, will ever know.Literatures are self-referential by nature, and even when references to Scripture in contemporary fiction and poetry are no more than ornamental or rhetorical — indeed, even when they are u … [Read more...]

Reformation Day – and What Led Me To Back to Catholicism

That is the title of my latest entry over at The Catholic Thing. Here's how it begins: October 31 is only three days away. For Protestants, it is Reformation Day, the date in 1517 on which Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to that famous door in Wittenberg, Germany. Since I returned to the Catholic Church in April 2007, each year the commemoration has become a time of reflection about my own journey and the puzzles that led me back to the Church of my youth.One of those puzzles was … [Read more...]

The Bible Made Impossible: Why Biblicism is Not a Truly Evangelical Reading of Scripture

That is the title of a new book by Notre Dame sociologist, Christian Smith. I received my copy of it yesterday, and I cannot put it down. (Readers of Return to Rome may recall that in June I blogged about Professor Smith's other recent book, How to Go From Being a Good Evangelical to a Committed Catholic in Ninety-Five Difficult Steps (Cascade Books 2011). My endorsement of the book is on its back cover). Unsurprisingly, The Bible Made Impossible is causing quite a stir on the internet.Over at … [Read more...]

Powerful words: Romans 12:9-21 and the Christian life

Have you ever had this happen? You read a passage of Scripture that you had read many times before, but this time it hits you like a ton of bricks. This is what happened to me tonight when I read this passage from the Book of Romans (12:9-21): Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in … [Read more...]

The King James Bible and the World It Made, 1611-2011: a conference of Baylor’s Institute for Studies of Religion

Baylor's Institute for Studies of Religion is hosting a major conference April 7-9, 2011, The King James Bible and the World It Made, 1611-2011. Confirmed speakers include: Robert Alter (University of California, Berkeley), David Bebbington (University of Stirling), Philip Jenkins (Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion), Laura Knoppers (Penn State University), Alister E. McGrath (Kings College, London), Mark Noll (University of Notre Dame), Lamin Sanneh (Yale University), N.T. Wright (Unive … [Read more...]


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