SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Leticia Ochoa Adams
December 14, 2017
A heady brew of personal reminiscences, geopolitical commentary and insightful cultural analysis was served up by Peter Millar in The Germans and Europe: A Personal Frontline History (Arcadia Books, 460pp, £20). The book meanders and, for once, that’s no bad thing. Millar makes everything interesting, from his driving lessons in a Lada in East Berlin
November 16, 2017
Heroes of the Catholic Reformation by Joseph Pearce, Our Sunday Visitor, £12.99 For Joseph Pearce, the term Counter-Reformation is “an ugly label for such a beautiful thing”. The Catholic Church’s strides towards reform and renewal during the 16th century were about much more than rebutting the Protestant threat. This is a fair point, which is
November 09, 2017
Timidity has never been admired in Vatican secretaries of state. Poor old Fabrizio Paolucci, who held the top job twice in the early 1700s, would be dismissed by one contemporary as “a thoroughly good-hearted man, but one of no great ability, and depending on the pope with a sort of terror”. Then again, when secretaries
November 02, 2017
Gainsborough: a Portrait by James Hamilton, Weidenfeld, £25 Thomas Gainsborough, it seems, could be a lot of fun. He enjoyed a drink, was loyal to his friends, unless they pressed their luck too far, and his banter with those who sat for his portraits usually went down well. Yes, as James Hamilton concedes in this
October 05, 2017
The Great Mystery by Alister McGrath, Hodder, £20 Alister McGrath reminds us that the big questions about life’s purpose and meaning take on special urgency in “a time of crisis and disenchantment”. We should have moved beyond crackpot Enlightenment optimism and faith in the “crystalline clarity of rationalist certainties”. If, after the chaos of the
September 07, 2017
The Witch: a History of Fear, From Ancient Times to the Present by Ronald Hutton, Yale, £25 The study of witchcraft in early-modern Europe has, as Ronald Hutton explains, matured into “one of the most dynamic, exciting and thickly populated areas of scholarship”. It is a model of interdisciplinarity, archival endeavour and cautious deployment of
September 07, 2017
It requires notable generosity of spirit for a Jesuit pope to regard Blaise Pascal as a potential candidate for beatification. In his 18 Provincial Letters, written between January 1656 and March 1657, Pascal (under a pseudonym) accused the Society of Jesus of having “forgotten the law of God, and quenched the light of nature”. Jesuits,
September 02, 2017
The Klan is known mainly for its racism, but it also long harboured a virulent strain of anti-Catholicism