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  • Learning’s Legal Spirit: Montesquieu on Education as the Study of Law

    February 15, 2019

    The history of political philosophy is the history of education. Its content, its prospects, its goals—all receive copious attention, from Plato’s Republic to the Scholastics, from Locke and Rousseau to Nietzsche and Rawls.  For education is a central concern to any political community, doing much to form the character,…

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  • Modernity, Friendship, and the Purpose of Liberal Education

    February 14, 2019

    Thank-you Professor Cheng, the Lingnan University Office of Global Education, and the sponsors of this conference for inviting me to join you at this crucially important conference in this beautiful hotel. It is a great honour to come all the way from Canada to speak to you today. The…

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  • How to Recover China’s Censored Reality

    February 13, 2019

    Surviving the State, Remaking the Church: A Sociological Portrait of Christians in Mainland China. Li Ma and Jin Li. Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications (Wipf and Stock Publishers), 2017.   For people whose country is known for censorship and self-censorship, writing in a foreign language is like taking refuge in…

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  • Varieties of Chinese Nationalisms and Their Implications on Religions

    February 12, 2019

    Religion and Nationalism in Chinese Societies. Cheng-tian Kuo, ed. Amsterdam University Press, 2018.   A Varieties of Chinese Nationalisms and Their Implications on Religions This volume is a collection of papers discussing “the origin, development, content, and implications of religion-state relations” in mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong (10).…

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  • Reading Augustine’s Confessions in Dalian Labor Camp with Liu Xiaobo

    February 11, 2019

    Liu Xiaobo was the Chinese dissident writer and 2010 Nobel Peace Prize recipient who passed away this past June. He died of liver cancer while serving out the eleven-year sentence he received in 2009 for his role in the Charter 08 movement that modeled itself after the Charter 68…

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What was most surprising to you as this book’s author?
There may yet be further surprises for me as time passes and I think back upon it. But let me share with you where I am on this right now. First, I was invited by the Dean of our local Episcopal Cathedral in Boise, ID, to offer a brief theological workshop…

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Your Kin-dom Come: The Lord’s Prayer in a Global Age.  William Thompson-Uberuaga.  Eugene, Oregon: Cascade Books, 2018.
 
The purpose of this book, William Thompson-Uberuaga tells us at the beginning, is the recovery of the “one heart” that unites what Pope John Paul II called the “two lungs” — the Eastern and Western Christian traditions— of the one universal Christian community.  In…

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Consider the American family, never so vexed. Take marriage in particular. Writing in The Christian Science Monitor, Stephanie Hanes reports:
"In 1950, married couples represented 78 percent of households in the United States. In 2011, the US Census Bureau reported, that percentage had dropped to 48 percent . . .
[In 2014], for the first time, the number of unmarried American adults…

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“Live not by lies,” was the advice that Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (born December 11, 1918) gave his compatriots when they asked him how to stand up to the crushing might of the Soviet Union.  He did not seek an open confrontation with the regime.  Neither resistance nor violence could succeed in the face of a remorseless killing machine.  Individuals would simply…

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In our world today there appears to be a considerable anxiety surrounding the idea of greatness.[i] Specifically there is a fear of being great; that is, a weariness towards people striving after greatness or declaring others great.
This hesitation, I believe, is due to recent populist uprisings that have associated their improbably successful campaigns with the re-establishment of greatness. US President…

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Pope Francis, in his wise reflections on holiness in Gaudete et Exsultate (“Rejoice and Be Glad”), discusses Gnosticism and Pelagianism as “two subtle enemies of holiness.”
The Pope calls them “anthropocentric immanentism disguised as Catholic truth.” That is, they are both unhealthy patterns by which humans stay focused on themselves and on worldly concerns.
His discussion of Gnosticism notes how its essential…

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The making of the modern market economy is often attributed to Adam Smith. Though free market theorists see the primary roots here, the view is not shared by all.
Murray Rothbard is among the prominent theorists who understand the Late Scholastics as the main protagonists. The Scholastics had moral considerations as the original basis and their reflections, which in turn developed…

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Does Eric Voegelin's philosophy provides an inter-disciplinary basis for a free economy, rooted in the priority of the human person; that human beings are endowed with inherent dignity and worth. This essay will consider why free markets, despite their success in material outputs, have not gained the moral high ground in recent surveys; especially of millennials. With millennials reportedly concerned…

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The Idol of Our Age: How the Religion of Humanity Subverts Christianity. Daniel J. Mahoney. New York: Encounter Books, 2018.
 
Machiavelli accuses Christians of un-civic softness. His attention distracted by Heaven, the Christian neglects reality on earth. Since material reality turns out to be the only kind Machiavelli admits, head-in-the-clouds Christians bemuse themselves, sometimes to the Florentine’s amusement but more usually…

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When the Visigoths sacked Rome in 410, the city that had taken the world captive had fallen into captivity. The event was a transformative moment in Western history. It marked the final eclipse of antiquity and the beginning of late antiquity. Rome’s sacking also shattered the emergent idea of imperium Christianum, the idea that Rome had a special role in the…

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