New books, 1/17/18

A book aiming to reinstall Cicero in the pantheon of political philosophy.

Brian McCall’s book on the classical law tradition.

Flannery O’Connor and her publisher.

Leo Strauss and his Catholic readers.

The works of the Church Fathers in St. Thomas, and his understanding of them.

Kevin Hart’s latest book of poems.

A Thomistic psychology of sin.

Fr. Weinandy’s new book on the Gospels.

Fr. Weinandy’s new book on St. Athanasius.

A family of Spanish conversos.

Roman sources for the history of American Catholicism.

D. C. Schindler’s translation of Homo Abyssus, Ferdinand Ulrich’s Thomistic engagement with modern philosophy.

Late nineteenth-century Celtic nationalism.

St. Maximus the Confessor on difficulties in Sacred Scripture.

Thomas Hobbes’s version of the natural law.

A biography of Lawrence of Brindisi, the leader of the Capuchin mission in Boehmia 1599-1602.

The Aristotelian tradition of natural kinds, and its demise.


New Books, 12/30/17

I’m compiling this list from my phone, so the format is a bit different.

The Value of Style

On the Ordinary and Extraordinary Magisterium from Joseph Kleutgen to the Second Vatican Council (Studia Oecumenica Friburgensia)

To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment

Slouching toward Utopia: The Economic History of the Twentieth Century

The Life of St Patrick and his Place in History (Cambridge Library Collection – Religion)

History of Egypt, Chaldea, Syria, Babylonia and Assyria: In the Light of Recent Discovery (Cambridge Library Collection – Egyptology)

Bronze Age Bureaucracy: Writing and the Practice of Government in Assyria

Plotinus: The Enneads

Learn Latin from the Romans: A Complete Introductory Course Using Textbooks from the Roman Empire

The Ancient Greek Historians: Harvard Lectures (Cambridge Library Collection – Classics)

Frege: A Philosophical Biography

Religious Talk Online: The Evangelical Discourse of Muslims, Christians, and Atheists

Augustine’s Theology of Angels

Great Christian Jurists in Spanish History (Law and Christianity)

Aristotle and the Arabic Tradition

Fichte’s Republic: Idealism, History and Nationalism

Aquinas’s Disputed Questions on Evil: A Critical Guide (Cambridge Critical Guides)

State Formations: Global Histories and Cultures of Statehood

Irish Political Writings after 1725: A Modest Proposal and Other Works (The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jonathan Swift)

Rethinking Punishment

Guide to Byzantine Historical Writing

The Bible on the Shakespearean Stage: Cultures of Interpretation in Reformation England

The Cambridge Companion to Edward Gibbon (Cambridge Companions to Literature)

The Measure of Homer: The Ancient Reception of the Iliad and the Odyssey

Aquinas’s Summa Theologiae: A Critical Guide (Cambridge Critical Guides)

Conservative Modernists: Literature and Tory Politics in Britain, 1900-1920

Aristotle on the Uses of Contemplation

Middle English Mouths: Late Medieval Medical, Religious and Literary Traditions (Cambridge Studies in Medieval Literature)

New Books, 12/5/17

Michael Burleigh’s latest history: our times.

The spiritual autobiography of John C. H. Wu, the eminent Chinese Catholic.

Obianuju Ekeocha’s first book, about the culture imperialism of western countries in Africa.

A study of the context and prejudices of those who sought the Historical Jesus.

A campaign book about Trump, written by two of his former aids.

Life advice from Jordan B. Peterson.

Bart Eherman’s got another.

John Calvin’s critics.

A biography of Robert de La Rochefoucald, “an aristocrat turned anti-Nazi saboteur.”

Nassim Taleb’s next book about risk.

Niall Ferguson’s new book appears to be about powerful hierarchies in history.

A biography of Chief Justice John Marshall.

John Banville, the novelist, has written a memoir.

Warren Treadgold’s proposal for a new university.

The story of the encounter between Montezuma and Cortés.

The title: Ten Battles Every Catholic Should Know.

Here is a book, a conspiracy theory, that proves JFK was executed by Nazis. The author assures us that he has “read over 130 books on the JFK assassination.”

Matthew Levering’s book out soon is called Dying and the Virtues.

The Episcopal Bishop of Newark is too Protestant for the Reformation.

A biography of Erwin Rommel.

New books, 11/21/17

Mary Beard has written a “manifesto” on woman and power.

Jean Tirole, the nobel laureate economist, has written a book about economics and the “common good,” now translated into English.

Caesar is getting the Landmark treatment.

There is now a biography of Steve Bannon.

Vladimir Nabokov’s dream diary.

A positive appraisal of Brutus.

An archaeologist’s book on the origins of the traditional crafts.

Another translation of the Confessions, this one by Peter Constantine.


New Books, 11/9/17

Some big names from the Catholic world: Archbishop Tagle, George Wiegel, and Christopher West (new paperback edition).

A massive, 830-page tome on John Sparrow, the former Warden of All Souls College.

Emily Wilson’s new translation of Homer’s Odyssey.

Nicholas Hardy’s recent book on religious textual critics and controversies in 17th-century Europe.

A “biography” of the man behind Atticus Finch.

Earlier this year, Josiah Ober’s new book on pre-liberal democracy.

Books, 10/20

CUA has collected some of the shorter writings of Yves Congar on the Holy Spirit.

James Chappel appears to advance the thesis in his new book, which is being published by Harvard, that the Catholic Church renounced her anti-liberal sympathies after seeing herself mirrored in Nazism.

The eminent Jesuit historian John O’Malley has written a book on the first Vatican council.

Joseph Epstein has another collection of essays.

It would appear that John Searle’s recent disgrace has not prevented Harvard from undertaking to publish his next book, which sounds mostly the same as several of his other books.

An intellectual biography of Ibn Khaldun.

St Augustine Press has brought together some of the collected essays of Vaclav Benda.

Oxford is reprinting their selections of many English authors, such as John Donne and Thomas Browne.

Routledge is reprinting a social history of prosecutors and informants in imperial Rome.

Jennifer Summit and Blakey Vermeule have co-authored a book on the ancient debate between action and contemplation.

The Brain of Gore Vidal

Some years ago when I was trying to decide for myself whom I would call the Great American Writer, I read a lot of and about Gore Vidal. I have since realized that no such Writer exists, and most of what I read about Gore has mercifully passed out of memory.

I am glad that I remember one passage, however, from the diaries of Jay Parini, about a meeting Parini orchestrated in Oxford between Vidal and the famous clown Isaiah Berlin. The passage is reproduced here. When Vidal came to visit him one term, Parini, knowing that his friend “liked meeting people with a reputation for intelligence and wit,” arranged for an evening with the “great historian of ideas.” The curtain rises:

After a long dinner at high table at Christ Church — roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, and string beans followed by lemon tart — Gore and I sit with Isaiah Berlin in the hushed Senior Common Room under a portrait of John Locke, one of the most illustrious of former students of the college.

In the tradition of Oxford, I get a bottle of port from the drinks table, although Gore wonders if there is any Scotch. There is, of course. Berlin looks at him sternly.

“That’s John Locke,” I say, nodding to the picture. “He was here in the middle of the 17th century. They pray to him every night after dinner.”

Berlin has intimidated Gore throughout the evening: I’ve never seen that before. He wore a look of childlike amazement on his face throughout the meal. Of course everyone in Oxford considers Berlin the best talker in the university, possibly in Britain. His lectures are flawless performances, without notes, full of quotations that he has memorized verbatim. He seems to have read everything, exuding a wisdom and calm that Gore has rarely encountered.

“I’m sure you know, Gore, that Locke influenced Jefferson,” says Berlin. “Called him the most important man in history, with Bacon and Newton his closest rivals.”

Gore shuffles through memory, looking for the correct notecard. “I think he quoted Locke in the Declaration of Independence,” he says.

“Indeed,” says Berlin. “He was among the first to see that the separation of Church and State was essential in a sane republic.”

“I would get rid of the Church altogether,” Gore says.

“No! We need the Church. I’m a Jew, but I like the fact that people pray. It opens them to an experience beyond the self.”

“Do you believe in God?” Gore wonders.

“That depends, as always, on one’s definition. We’d be very small in this universe without the idea of God.”

“Locke argued for tolerance,” I put in. “He’s the father of tolerance, when it comes to religious belief.”

Berlin nods eagerly. “We’re all liberals, aren’t we? We owe that to our man here.”

“Me?” Gore teases.

“Of course we mean you,” says Berlin. “You’re our guest tonight.”

I can think of nothing more devastating to say about him than what is contained in this portrait.