Lindsey Brigham Knott Dec 23, 2020

What a year . . .

. . . a year in which public calamity and private hardship rolled in endless-seeming succession, in which the nation’s leaders vacillated between unreasonable vigilance and irresponsible negligence, in which it could be said of both natural and human affairs that if they could go wrong, they would.

Joshua Gibbs Dec 22, 2020

Prior to the Enlightenment, there was no such thing as “society.” There may have been a society of butchers in New York or a society of Methodists in London, but a society was always a particular group of people who shared a common identity. A society was a knowable and definite body of people.

Brittany Martin Dec 22, 2020

Many moons ago, during my undergraduate days at a state university, I decided to discuss my Creationist views with my chemistry professor.  After he informed me that I was brainwashed and headed for a dead-end career if I didn’t accept evolution, he asked me how I defined science.  I repeated the answer I had been taught, that science is the study of observable and reproducible phenomena in the natural world.  To this answer he laughed and said I was, “so 19th century.”  This answer entirely befuddled me…wasn’t he the Darwinist?  Wasn’t he the one who was “so 19th century?”  I spent 20 year

Zach Sherman Dec 17, 2020

If you ask a bleary-eyed high school teacher how things are going at school, he’ll likely mention grades within a few sentences. "Grades were due last night and I’m spent”... “I was up late emailing a parent about a grade.”  Scores of teachers burn out of the classroom every year, many of them citing the grading load. And there is nothing quite like the existential despair that grips a man when he looks at a stack of 100 essays that he knows he must grade. 

Joshua Gibbs Dec 16, 2020

In the lately released Oxford Handbook of Christmas, a certain theme quickly emerges insofar as Christmas traditions are concerned: the origins of most Christmas traditions are a little obscure. Many Christmas traditions can be traced to a certain century and a certain country, but not to a particular person or event.

Annie Crawford Dec 15, 2020

My husband and I have spent more time walking in our neighborhood together since March of 2020, when much of our city shut down. Rooting ourselves more deeply to home and place has been an unexpected blessing. 

Joshua Gibbs Dec 15, 2020

The latest episode of Proverbial is devoted to a saying from The Divine Comedy that the modern Christian finds particularly knotty (and naughty, perhaps):

“Fame, without which man’s life wastes out of mind,

Leaving on earth no more memorial than foam in water,

Or smoke upon the wind.”

Ryan Klein Dec 10, 2020

As I sat at my desk one evening grading papers, I got stuck on a poem. It was the final paper in a stack I’d been working on for nine hours. I stared and stared at it. I read it aloud once, twice, three times. I counted the syllables in each line. I wrote out the rhyme scheme. I walked away and came back. I read it aloud again. And I just could not tell what it was saying. 

Joshua Gibbs Dec 9, 2020

If you have read this column with any sort of regularity over the last several years, you have indirectly benefitted from the work of Harold Budd, who passed away on December 8th at the age of 84. Harold Budd is one of perhaps just three musicians who I listen to while writing. He was my regular companion while drafting essays on pedagogy, tradition, and classic literature.

James Ranieri Dec 8, 2020

“Knowledge is power” is a quote often attributed to Francis Bacon, and its sentiment is responsible for much of the dissolution of our modern souls.