Category Archives: History

A Prophet Against Anonymous Dictatorship

“If you do not watch out, what the dictators wanted to achieve in a few years will materialize in fifty or a hundred; the result will be the same: the State will have conquered all, absorbed all; you will have … Continue reading

Posted in History, Literature, Philosophy, Politics, Religion

Molnar on Bernanos

“If such a thing could be at all stated of a Christian… Bernanos could be called an ‘alienated man,’ somewhat in the sense in which Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and Kafka were alienated. In reality, such a man is the least alienated … Continue reading

Posted in History, Literature, Philosophy, Politics

A Hermit’s Tale for the Holidays

This Christmas Eve I found myself reading a biography of Paul of Thebes (c. 226 – c. 341), written by another saint – Jerome, the famous translator of the Bible into the Latin Vulgate. Paul is considered the first Christian … Continue reading

Posted in History, Religion

Rebels, Greeks and Pedants

I am venturing into Albert Camus’ The Rebel: An Essay on Man in Revolt with a mixture of curiosity and caution. I never quite know where Camus is going, and his thoughts are expressed in prose that is both dense … Continue reading

Posted in Existentialism, History, Philosophy, Politics, Theodore Dalrymple

Myson the Misanthrope, And Other Sages

Diogenes Laertius recounts that one day Myson of Chenae (fl. 6th c. B.C.), one of the early Greek philosophers, “was seen laughing to himself in a lonely spot; and when someone suddenly appeared and asked him why he laughed when … Continue reading

Posted in History, Philosophy

The Rosenberg Distraction: A Lesson in Ideology

I first perused Ian Kershaw’s classic study The Hitler Myth: Image and Reality in the Third Reich about thirty year ago and decided to reacquaint myself with the volume on a recent trip. It is a remarkably facile read for … Continue reading

Posted in History, Politics

The Ambivalence of History

“We all work together to one end, some of us with conscious understanding, others without knowing it…”–Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, VI.42 There are happy coincidences when the things we read all seem to be making the same point. Or perhaps we … Continue reading

Posted in History, Philosophy, Religion

The Last Pagan Emperor

Abbot Giueseppe Ricciotti’s fascinating study of the last pagan emperor, popularly known as “Julian the Apostate” (331-363), is well worth reading. The book was first published in 1960, and later reissued as a paperback. According to a contemporary Kirkus Review: … Continue reading

Posted in History, Philosophy, Religion

Epicurean Ethics and Friendship

To continue my discussion of Epicurus, the Hellenic philosopher followed thinkers like Democritus in being a materialist. He held that the world was composed of particles of varying sizes and arrangements, with the soul merely consisting of atoms of a … Continue reading

Posted in History, Philosophy

Epicurus Examined

Why study Epicurus? After all, he was condemned by many philosophers, including Cicero, as a mere libertine. And such has been his legacy in subsequent eras, even though his real outlook was a bit more nuanced. There is always something … Continue reading

Posted in History, Philosophy