by Russell Kirk
“In some ages, what Thoreau says is true: most men lead lives of quiet desperation. They endeavor to evade answering the question ‘What is the purpose of human existence?’ As children, they entertain vague expectations of some future happy condition and achievement; but commonly those hopes are dashed or much diminished once they flap or tumble out of the parental nest. After that, they may live as birds do, from day to day, until they starve or are caught by a cat. Nevertheless, many men and women are haunted by such nagging questions as ‘What is this all about?’ or ‘Is life worth living?’”
In this Epilogue to his remarkable third-person autobiography, Russell Kirk looks back on a long life of literary conflict and reflects on just what it might all be about.
by Rev. John J. Bombaro
In the first three parts of this series, Rev. Bombaro discussed the theocentric metaphysics, the aesthetics, and the Scholastic philosophical heritage of Jonathan Edwards, colonial intellectual and revivalist preacher. Here, in the final installment, Bombaro shows how Edwards’s notions of ‘excellency’, idealism, and law-like relational dispositions work together to make manifest the glory of God.
Dante’s imagery in the Inferno is haunting. But, for all the care he took in crafting his canti, recent scholarship has revealed errors of scale and proportion in his descriptions of the infernal environs. Was he just a lousy arithmetician? Was he deliberately undermining his narrative with a bit of ironic miscalculation? Or are Dante’s apparent mistakes in fact occasions for him to explore a fundamental question about man’s redemption?
The legions of health-food shoppers and the interminable discussions of sustainability bear witness to what is by now a well-established feature of our cultural landscape: the organic movement. But Wendell Berry, one of the most influential champions of the cause, turns his pen (and his plow) against the seductive idea that what is properly a way of being can be re-branded and shrink-wrapped into a movement.
Rev. John J. Bombaro
In the first two installments of this series, Rev. Bombaro discussed the theocentric metaphysics and aesthetics of Jonathan Edwards, one of colonial America’s greatest preachers and scholars. Here, Bombaro juxtaposes the language of dispositions that Edwards uses to describe God with its Scholastic philosophical heritage, reminding us of Edwards’s peculiar vantage point at the cusp of modernity.
As a young man Russell Kirk traipsed over the braes of East Ayrshire, Scotland, to a tiny village with a rich history. Known to Dr. Johnson as the residence of his friend Boswell’s family, the place had, by Kirk’s time, little left of its former vitality. Worse, few seemed to care: there was a new cinema a few towns over, and that was, well, new, if nothing else. In this essay from 1969, Kirk argues that community decline cannot be understood – let alone reversed – without participation in the ever-threatened tradition of literary continuity.
During a dinner conversation with Russell and Annette Kirk in Washington, D.C., just five months before Dr. Kirk’s death, Russell turned to me and quipped, with his familiar chuckle and impish smile, “Vigen, they are now calling me a theologian!” I did not ask him who was saying such a thing…
Divine Comprehensiveness and Edwardsean Panentheism: The Formulation of Jonathan Edwards’s Theocentric Metaphysics (Part II of IV)
John J. Bombaro
Scholar and minister in colonial New England, driving force of the First Great Awakening, and finally president of Princeton University, Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) was one of early America’s most important intellectuals. In this second of four articles, Rev. John J. Bombaro takes us beyond the sermons and into a deep metaphysical panentheism and shows us how, in Edwards’s theology, it is in God that we live and move and have our being.
Politics & Poetics, a new peer-reviewed journal of the humanities with a focus on philosophy, invites high quality submissions on the topic of Tragic Poetry for its inaugural edition.
Many of us tend to look at prayer life as a mental thing: we praise, we thank, we confess to, and we confide in God – with words. And yet, while we think or pronounce our prayers, our bodies, too, are at work expressing and shaping our souls. In the Coptic tradition, liturgical postures and gestures involve the whole person, proclaiming and realizing the union of body and soul. It is in just this unity that God creates and saves the human person.