textual interpretation

The Latest Absurd Manifestations of Transgenderism

At Cromwell High School in Connecticut, a 15-year-old boy with a mustache recently crushed female competitors in track and field, to the great dismay of the girls who have spent many intense days training so hard. This doesn’t seem fair, does it? It does in the left’s brave new world of fundamental transformation. The boy, [...]

Another Progressive Academic Gets Scripture Wrong

Scholarship, like cooking, is as much a function of what one leaves out as much as what one puts in. Luke Timothy Johnson’s recent Commonweal  essay on Scripture and trans-sexual issues is a case-in-point: what he chose to de-emphasize is as important (I would argue even more so) that what he emphasizes. Johnson seeks to [...]

Mona Lisa’s Mustache

The other day on an obscure channel on TV I saw a fundamentalist preacher interviewing two young Catholics at the Minnesota State Fair. The two Catholics were utterly unable to match wits with the Protestant old-time-religion preacher. It was painful to watch, almost as painful as reading Vatican press releases over the last several years [...]

“Mutual Submission” between Husbands and Wives in Ephesians 5?

Since the promulgation of St. John Paul II’s Mulieris Dignitatem in 1988, Catholics often speak of a “mutual submission” between husbands and wives. Proponents of the idea of mutual submission between spouses, including John Paul himself and Pope Francis in Amoris Laetitia, often cite Ephesians chapter 5, and particularly verse 21—“submitting to one another out [...]

Getting Scripture Wrong: A Response to Harriet Murphy

Dr. Harriet Murphy has taken a leap off a cliff of her own making in her broadside against my essay in Crisis on the female deaconate. She concludes that anyone (namely, me) who accepts the "literal" interpretation of 1 Tim 2:12-14—“I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man"—is somehow [...]

Undermining the Bible for Centuries

In parish lectures I am frequently confronted by parents distraught over their children’s experiences in their Bible courses at colleges and universities across the country. It is not only in the religion departments of state and private universities, but also in Catholic colleges and universities where their children encounter doubts and outright skepticism concerning the [...]

Are We Still A Nation of Laws?

Recent weeks have seen a sudden slew of bureaucratic and judicial action on the question of public accommodation of self-identified transgendered individuals. In one of the latest moves, a decision from the Fourth Federal Circuit struck down a Virginia school board ruling that children must use the bathroom corresponding to their biological sex. As Hadley [...]

What to Look for in a Supreme Court Justice

As we brace ourselves for the political firestorm that is already beginning around filling the vacancy on our highest court, it would be useful to engage in a little “cultural catechesis” on the nature and purpose of the office in question. Though some will decry the “politicization” of the selection process, an honest review of [...]

How Not to Interpret Scripture

There is a class that most college students will take at one point in their academic career. It is the course on Western Civilization—“Western Civ” for short. It is a feeble attempt to supplement the modern college curriculum (typically in two freshman-level courses) with what used to be the very backbone of a liberal education. [...]

A Critical Look at the Koran

“May Allah accept this from me.” “I’m doing it in the name of Allah.” “To establish Islamic law—Allah’s law on earth.” The above are statements made by would-be and successful jihadists to explain their motivations for planning or executing acts of terror in America. Jihadists in other parts of the world say much the same [...]

The Noah Film and Biblical Interpretation

Bible stories were an important part of my childhood. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know that David slew Goliath and that Cain slew Abel. Meditations on Jacob’s deceitful usurping of Esau’s blessing, and on David’s lamentation over the dead Absalom, formed some of my earliest ideas about the nature of justice and [...]

Using Fiction to Vindicate the Gospels

Recently, I reconnected with a friend from long ago, one of those “reunions” made possible, though impersonal, by the Internet. In the course of catching up with each other, one Facebook message at a time, he revealed that he had abandoned his once vibrant Christian faith because he could not overcome doubts provoked by the [...]

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