menu
March 25, 2018

In this post, I’m going to lay out what I think the film The Last Jedi is about, and why the film is, for me at least, a thorough-going success, rivaling the original trilogy. This is not to deny the validity of many of the criticisms that have been made. The film doesn’t, for instance,  do a good job of explaining why the situation is so desperate and why the Republic appears to have failed entirely. But on the other hand,… Read more

December 16, 2017

I’ve been working on a series of blog posts on Brad Gregory’s The Unintended Reformation, which was published five years ago and which I finished reading about a year ago. So it probably shouldn’t surprise that I am now writing not about the new Star Wars (which I’m going to see on Tuesday) but the last one, which I only just watched last night (in preparation for seeing the new one). I’d heard a lot of mixed reports on it–many… Read more

December 10, 2017

(image: public domain)Chapter One of The Unintended Reformation is probably the most often cited. Indeed, many of the negative reactions to the book focus on the thesis Gregory argues here. Ironically, the chapter is atypical inasmuch as the root of modern secularism identified here lies not in the Reformation itself but in late medieval theology, specifically the work of Duns Scotus. According to Gregory, Scotus’ concept of “univocity” radically altered the traditional Christian understanding of God. In traditional Christian theology (i.e.,… Read more

December 3, 2017

Several weeks ago, I finally watched Martin Scorsese’s film Silence. Given the title and the theme, it’s probably appropriate that it’s taken me so long to write about it, though that’s fairly typical for me.For people who don’t already know the film: it’s based on a book by the Japanese novelist Shusako Endo, which is in turn based on historical events of the early 17th century during the Japanese persecution of Christians. A Portuguese Jesuit missionary, Christovao Ferreira, has disappeared… Read more

November 1, 2017

As usual, I’d meant to have posted more on the Reformation leading up to the 500th anniversary tonight, including a series on Brad Gregory (only one post out in that so far). However, this is only the anniversary of the posting of the Theses, which is typically seen as the public beginning of the Protestant movement. So I’ll be posting more in the months–and years–to come, perhaps up to (or even beyond) the anniversary of the Peace of Augsburg in 1555…. Read more

October 22, 2017

I have been meaning for some time to write a review of Brad Gregory’s The Unintended Reformation, which came out five years ago now and attracted a lot of attention. Reformation scholars, at least those focusing on theology, have, generally, panned the book, while Catholic apologists of course find it red meat.Personally, I greeted it with delight when I first began to read it, as the book I would have wished to write myself if I had had the time… Read more

October 20, 2017

My friend David Schell has asked me (and several other prolifers he knows) to respond to the viral post describing Patrick Tomlinson’s supposedly deadly challenge to the prolife position. Several good responses have already been written, including some fine posts on David’s FB page. Here’s mine.In Tomlinson’s scenario, we have a choice between saving a five-year-old child or 1000 embryos from a fire. This is, of course, a variant of the “trolley problem,” and as in all such dilemmas, the… Read more

October 8, 2017

The Episcopal priest Sarah Condon has just written a defiant blog post expressing her frustration with (male) Protestant clergy who mourn the Reformation. She gives three basic reasons (or sets of reasons) for celebrating the Reformation:1. Women can be ordained and clergy can be married (openly and legally–she points out correctly that a large number of medieval priests lived in illicit but tacitly accepted relationships with women, and that the women involved were called “whores” and had a low social… Read more

October 7, 2017

High and Low is a 1963 movie by Akira Kurosawa which I saw a few days ago. It’s a modern police procedural, with the rather cliched plot of a kidnapper who taunts the father of his victim by phone and seems to have uncanny abilities to see what his target is doing. (Actually, perhaps it wasn’t cliched in 1963.)Except that the target of the extortion demand, played by Toshiro Mifune, isn’t actually the father of the victim. The kidnapper has… Read more

September 17, 2017

In a key scene from the 2006 German movie The Lives of Others, the playwright Georg Dreymann plays a piece of music called Sonata for a Good Man to his girlfriend Crista-Maria Sieland, and comments, “how can anyone listen to music like this and be a bad man?” It’s a lot of weight to hang on music (admittedly haunting and effective music) composed specifically for the film by Gabriel Yare. (The original story that the film-maker, Florian Henckel von Donnersmark, took… Read more




Browse Our Archives