Book of the Dun Cow

Review of Book of the Dun Cow by Walter Wangerin, Jr.By KENDRICK KUOAesop’s fables, Narnia, and Animal Farm, all rolled into one, would produce something similar to Book of the Dun Cow (1978), although Dun Cow is in a league of its own. The book won the the National Book Award (1980), to tell you a little about the caliber of this book; yet it reads like a children’s novel in most respects.Book of the Dun Cow tells the story of two kingdoms, God’s Keepers, and the evil Wyrm. The two kin … [Read more...]

Slaughterhouse-Five

Review of Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt VonnegutBy COYLE NEALBilly Pilgrim has become unstuck in time. That is, he does not live from second to second as most of us do, but instead jumps to the future, and then back to the past, and then again to the present (whatever that means—it can be hard to judge what the “present” is when you’re unstuck in time). Along the way, he fights in the Battle of the Bulge, lives in a German POW camp in Dresden right before it is bombed by the Allies (someth … [Read more...]

Jesus Makes You Smarter

Review of Habits of the Mind: Intellectual Life as a Christian Calling, by James W. SireBy PAUL D. MILLERA colleague once asked me what makes a good analyst. I thought for a while, and answered “humility, courage, and integrity.” My colleague was surprised, having expected me to answer “a masters degree, high scores on standardized tests, and the ability to read and write.” I explained anyone who chooses a career defined by reading and writing already has, or could get, strong mental acui … [Read more...]

Christian Scholarship Doesn’t Have to be About Christianity

Excellence:  The Character of God and the Pursuit of Scholarly Virtue, by Andreas J. KostenbergerBy Justin HawkinsAndreas J. Kostenberger’s position at the top of evangelical Biblical scholarship affords him a particularly privileged vantage point to comment on the challenges and joys of the Christian scholarly task.  Yet his Excellence: The Character of God and the Pursuit of Scholarly Virtue is a work that does not live up to Kostenberger’s reputation for academic rigor and insightful a … [Read more...]

Screwtape Redux

Review of Operation Screwtape by Andrew FarleyBy COYLE NEALThis book probably needs no summarization. If you are any kind of literate Christian, you’ve probably been at least indirectly exposed to C.S. Lewis’ masterpiece The Screwtape Letters. Andrew Farley has updated Lewis’ work to meet the needs of the 21st century by providing this “translation” of a demon’s how-to manual. Broken into three broad categories (“Steal,” “Kill,” “Destroy”), the instructions walk through the ways in which … [Read more...]

Kafka’s World Without Grace

Review of The Trial, by Franz KafkaBy PAUL D. MILLERA hundred years ago, a German-speaking Czech insurance salesman—and a secular Jew—wrote three incomplete novels and a handful of short stories and died young. His reputation soared among literati, who speak of this man—Franz Kafka—in the hushed, awed tones reserved for the great and the gods. His name has become an adjective: to be in a Kafkaesque world is to be trapped in the clutches of an irrational, faceless authority, ensnared in the … [Read more...]

Smart Christians

Review of Jesus Christ and the Life of the Mind by Mark NollBy PAUL D. MILLERI previously blogged sympathetically about Mark Noll’s indictment of evangelical stupidity in his book The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind. That post spurred a bit of debate (see my friend Owen Strachan's response, and Carson Clark's response to Owen).  For my part, it seems only fair to consult Noll’s follow-up work, Jesus Christ and the Life of the Mind, in which he attempts to set out a positive agenda for Chr … [Read more...]

Reforming Hollywood: The Ups and Downs of Protestant Film Engagement

Review of Reforming Hollywood: How American Protestants Fought for Freedom at the Movies by William D. RomanowskiBy CHRISTIAN HAMAKERAs religious film criticism has carved out a niche in the broader world of the arts the past two decades, so has the literature on Christian film criticism and involvement. One of the better writers on the subject of Christian engagement with film is William D. Romanowski, whose books Eyes Wide Open (Brazos Press) and Pop Culture Wars (Intervarsity Press) … [Read more...]

Finding Your Soul-Mate

Review of The Sacred Search: What If It’s Not About Who You Marry, but Why?, by Gary ThomasBy ALEXIS NEALI’ve read a lot of marriage books. Not all of them, mind you, or even most of them. But as someone who tends to believe that there is no obstacle you can’t study your way over and no problem you can’t think your way out of, I have devoured marriage books like a chubby kid eats cookies the day before fat camp. The results of this literary quest have been middlin’ at best. There have bee … [Read more...]

Stupid Christians

Review of The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind by Mark NollBy PAUL D. MILLERHave you ever noticed the prominence of Catholics among American public intellectuals? George Weigel, Peggy Noonan, Robert P. George, Richard John Neuhaus, Ramesh Ponnuru, William F. Buckley, Jr., Russell Kirk, Hadley Arkes, Michael Novak, and others make up a growing body of conservative American Catholic thought on social, cultural, and political affairs in the 20th and 21st centuries. A majority of Justices on … [Read more...]