Old Testament

Biden vs. Bork, 1988: Democrats Smear a SCOTUS Nominee

Editor’s note: this article originally appeared in the May 1988 print edition of Crisis. It has been edited for brevity. Many people have asked me what it was like to live through the nomination and hearings of my husband, Robert Bork. I usually answer that it was like being besieged in a battle where the reinforcements [...]

Why Judaism (and then Christianity) Rejected Homosexuality

Editor’s note: The following essay by Dennis Prager first appeared in the September 1993 print edition of Crisis Magazine. When Judaism demanded that all sexual activity be channeled into marriage, it changed the world. The Torah's prohibition of non-marital sex quite simply made the creation of Western civilization possible. Societies that did not place boundaries [...]

The Feast of Weeks and the Significance of Pentecost

The feast of Pentecost, known as the birthday of the Church, marks the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and the bestowal of the Spirit’s gifts that enables the apostles to leave the Upper Room and preach the Gospel. The grace imparted by the Spirit causes the apostles to proclaim the Good News, [...]

The Face of Jesus

We know very little about Christian imaging before the fourth century. Persecutions and other upheavals have erased all but traces, making the tantalizing remnant all the more fascinating. Anyone searching for images of Christ is struck by an astonishing fact: There are hardly any direct representations of Him. Those one finds are bare sketches, focused [...]

On Leadership and Virtue: A Conversation with Alexandre Havard

What makes an effective leader? Aristotle, Augustine, and Thomas Aquinas said it was virtue. French-born lawyer Alexandre Havard agrees: As founder of the Havard Virtuous Leadership Institute (HVLI), he's developed a leadership model based on aretology -- the philosophy of virtue -- that is resonating with top-level leaders in government, the private sector, and the [...]

The Theology of Waiting Around

"Time," the man said, "is God's way of keeping everything from happening at once." Another way of looking at the same thing is Arnold Toynbee's remark that some people think "history is just one damned thing after another." As Christians, we believe that time, history, and the sequence and interplay of events in human affairs [...]

The Fatherhood of God

In July and August of 1939, just before World War II began, Msgr. Ronald Knox gave five sermons on the "Our Father" -- my edition of his Pastoral Sermons does not indicate where, probably at Oxford. Some 60 years later, Pope John Paul II asked us to devote the final year of the 20th century [...]

Questioning God

Most people know there is a rather intimidating portrait in the Old Testament of a stormy Yahweh thundering from Sinai. It is a portrait to give one healthy pause. It reminds us that "our God is a consuming fire" (Heb 12:29), the awful and perfect Judge who can see into the tiniest cranny of conscience [...]

Calling Their Bluff

Faith draws on far more resources of head and heart than the formal reasoning that flashes through our frontal cortex can account for. Religious sentiment and habits of piety formed in early life can lay down trails we will endlessly retrace in future decades. Conversely, pieties denied us when we were young will be harder [...]

The Parable of the Dishonest Steward

This past weekend, the Church set before us one of the most mysterious parables Jesus ever told, the Parable of the Dishonest Steward (Lk 16:1-12). It's the sort of thing that makes homilists all over the world feel their collars tighten and gives them an overwhelming urge to just skip the Gospel and focus on [...]

Intellectual Poison: How Thomas Hobbes Ruined Biblical Scholarship

Granting all the wonderful, important things modern scriptural scholarship has given us, it bears within it something dreadfully wrong. If you have had the misfortune of coming into earshot of all too many of our contemporary scriptural scholars, they will assure you that scholarship, properly speaking, must strip both the Old and New Testaments of [...]

Visit the Sick

  We moderns can be awfully smug when it comes to Old Testament laws about ritual impurity. As heirs to post-Enlightenment thought, it's easy for us to basically assume they were nothing but pre-scientific attempts to avoid disease, as though the Old Testament was principally concerned with, "How do I avoid trichinosis?" but kept slipping [...]

Wielding Our Little Tridents

Recently, one of my readers wrote me: Here is a thought I've come back to after a time. Understand that I come at this as someone who has a bit of detachment from the idea of "love one's country," etc.; not of disdain, or despite of fellow man, but as one who can look hard [...]

The Lord Is with Thee

  The Rosary is a deeply scriptural prayer, and the words "The Lord is with thee" root that profoundly Christian prayer, not merely in Scripture but in Old Testament Scripture. One of the things that marks the writers of the New Testament is their appreciation for the fact that, since Scripture is primarily the work [...]

Hail Mary

In the Old Testament, the standard protocol for angelic appearances is as follows: First, the angel appears. Then, the human to whom he appears either: a) Does not realize he is an angel and so behaves as he would toward a fellow human being (that is, he makes the angel a nice meal and is [...]

Infectious Speech

   I have a few -- okay, more than a few -- macabre interests that reach back into my childhood. One of them is an intense curiosity about fatal infectious diseases. (I blame early and frequent viewings of Little House on the Prairie, which seemed to have an epidemic threat each season.) I spent some [...]

On Earth as It Is in Heaven

Our Lord teaches us to pray that God's will be done "on earth as it is in Heaven." But I sometimes fancy that we (and I know for certain that I) have seldom given any thought to what that means.   I think that, in part, it's because we don't quite know what to make [...]

Coming to Our Senses: The Anagogical Sense of Scripture

  Bound up with the biblical understanding of God from the get-go is the conviction (one almost wants to call it the foregone conclusion) that God knows the future.   This isn't always necessarily the case with those delightful works of pagan imagination called "the gods." In some pagan myths, one gets the impression that [...]

Coming to Our Senses: The Moral Sense of Scripture

  Discussing the moral sense of Scripture would seem easy. After all, we're talking the Good Book here. Even when they were busy abandoning Christianity as supernatural revelation from God, Americans for the past couple of generations still tended to treat the Bible as a Solid Moral Code Enshrining Tested Values with some lingering respectability. [...]

Coming to Our Senses: The Allegorical Sense

  We noted last week that one of the principal problems of trying to treat Scripture as a purely human book is that, though God can supernaturalize nature, we cannot naturalize the supernatural. God can assume a human nature and join it to His divinity, but we cannot take a supernatural thing and reduce it [...]

Literalischtick

Bill Maher is on the loose with his new film Religulous. Proving yet again that within the breast of every dime-store atheist beats the heart of a Christian fundamentalist crank, the latest pop paladin of Truly True Scientific Atheist Thought sallies forth to combat the ravages of faithheads like Louis Pasteur who promote irrational superstitious [...]

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