Of heroes and heroism

In 1898, the German pharmaceutical company Bayer developed a morphine substitute which they called ‘Heroin’. The name was inspired by the Greek word heros meaning hero. Instead of bravery and heroism, this Circean potion led many to doom and ruin. The ironic hero was born. I remember my first contact with heroes and heroism. It wasContinue reading “Of heroes and heroism”

History and timelines

One thing which distinguishes medieval from ancient history-writing is the timeline. From Herodotus to the historians of the Roman Empire, time was a stream flowing in a circle. It’s not that ancient historians didn’t understand the passage of time – they had a very good idea of what time does to matter and human consciousnessContinue reading “History and timelines”

Judging a book by its covers

Don’t judge a book by its covers, they say. The inside is what counts, they say. The advertising community is not so sure. The cover design is said to increase the marketability of a book by 50%, by a conservative estimate, and by as much as 80% in some cases. Which means that while weContinue reading “Judging a book by its covers”

[review] Roger Scruton’s ‘On Human Nature’: What makes us who we are

Roger Scruton’s latest book ‘On Human Nature’ is a delightful book. It is pithy, incisive, and written in a clear, flowing style. Although the title makes one think of ancient philosophical treatises (such as Aristotle’s or Cicero’s), it resists objectifications of what makes us human. The starting as well as the end point are notContinue reading “[review] Roger Scruton’s ‘On Human Nature’: What makes us who we are”

The Wicked Fairy at the Manger, a strategic mistake

Last night the church of All Souls Langham Place came alive with the students’ Christmas dinner. One highlight was Hugh Palmer, the rector, who dressed up as Father Christmas and told a poem – rather subversively, I should think, overturning the traditional roles of patron-client involved in dealings with the big fat man – outliningContinue reading “The Wicked Fairy at the Manger, a strategic mistake”

Tu, Doamne, însă ei…

Doamne, Tu ai spus ‘Să nu- şi caute nimeni folosul lui, ci fiecare pe al altuia’ Ei au răspuns: ‘non attrahas tibi res aliorum‘ (“nu te ocupa cu treburile celorlalți”, De Imitatione Christi) Tu ai spus că litera ucide, legea întunecă. Ei au inventat dreptul canonic Tu i-ai cerut Tatălui să îi țină în lume.Continue reading “Tu, Doamne, însă ei…”

Religious spambox: how one email can give you the boot

A recent news story on Christian Concern states: “A Christian doctor who was sacked for emailing a prayer to his colleagues has lost his clam for unfair dismissal, after an Employment Tribunal ruled that there was “no need” for religious references to be made at work. Dr David Drew (aged 64) took legal action against WalsallContinue reading “Religious spambox: how one email can give you the boot”

Lead codices to shed light on the early church

They could be the earliest Christian writing in existence, surviving almost 2,000 years in a Jordanian cave. They could, just possibly, change our understanding of how Jesus was crucified and resurrected, and how Christianity was born. A group of 70 or so “books”, each with between five and 15 lead leaves bound by lead rings,Continue reading “Lead codices to shed light on the early church”

Pastor calls Christian atheists to shed hypocrisy

Pastor Craig Groeschel is a recovering Christian atheist. He may have called himself a Christian all his life, but he didn’t always live as if God existed. It’s a struggle he’s had both as a layman and as a pastor, of one of the fastest growing and largest churches in the country. And it’s aContinue reading “Pastor calls Christian atheists to shed hypocrisy”

C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters: how it all began

The first of the Screwtape letters was published in The Guardian on 2 May 1941. Thirty more letters followed, one each week. Lewis was paid 2 per letter – but he would not accept the money. Instead, he sent the editor of The Guardian a list of widows and orphans to whom the 62 wasContinue reading “C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters: how it all began”