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  • The Witches of Macbeth: A Weyward Translation

    February 22, 2018

    Imagine a smoking cauldron rising from the trapdoor of the Globe’s center stage as you hear echoes of thunder from the attics. Three bearded men cloaked in black rags and tattered capes slink onto the stage as they chant. It might be the middle of the afternoon, but Shakespeare…

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  • Sources, Scholarship, and Sense: Shakespeare’s Use of Holinshed in Macbeth

    February 21, 2018

    1 The study of sources and influences suffers a bad reputation in Shakespearean scholarship, for the most part, deservedly so.  Earlier generations of scholars too much entangled themselves in the literary genetics of Shakespeare’s plays or enraptured themselves in contemplating the creative impulses of the great bard’s mind.  They…

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  • Shakespeare after Theory

    February 20, 2018

    Shakespeare after Theory. David Scott Kastan. New York: Routledge, 1999.   Theory is dead—if the title is the message of David Scott Kastan, English professor at Columbia University, distinguished critic and editor, anthologizer of contemporary criticism, and prominent proponent and practitioner of New Historicism. If so, this twenty-odd-year-old orthodoxy, which…

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  • Shakespeare’s Unorthodox Biography: The Epitome of Anti-Stratfordian Scholarship

    February 19, 2018

    Shakespeare’s Unorthodox Biography: The Epitome of Anti-Stratfordian Scholarship. Diana Price. Santa Barbara: Praeger, 2000.   1: Overview I do not care who wrote the plays conventionally attributed, in part or in whole, to William Shakespeare of Stratford and of London.  For me, the play’s the thing.  Yet I have…

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  • The Shakespeare Authorship Question: E Pluribus Unum

    February 19, 2018

    Questions about the Question 1 To my students who asked me whether Shakespeare wrote the plays attributed to him, I answered, no: they were written by another man with the same name.  To the public who ask this question, anti-Stratfordians answer, no: they were written by another man who…

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  • Ukrainians Don’t Get Enough Credit

    February 18, 2018

    This week, the Trump Administration proposed a $14-billion cut in funding to USAID and other State Department programs designed to help struggling economies around the world. In response to a similar proposal last year, Secretary of Defense James Mattis told members of Congress at a National Security Advisory council…

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  • Spoiling One’s Story: The Case of Hannah Arendt

    February 17, 2018

    In 1925, Hannah Arendt was a nineteen-year-old philosophy student at the University of Marburg.  She kept a journal, one fragment of which is titled “Shadows.”  It traces two paths within her psyche, each productive of a different future, with the option to choose between them.  On the first path…

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  • The Denial of Being: Ideology as False Metaphysics

    February 16, 2018

    Ideology is a highly misunderstood concept.  People use it all the time to describe what, or more precisely, how they think despite the fact that they may not actually be engaged in the theoretical or practical application of ideology.  By doing this, they are unwittingly giving ideology power that…

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  • Existential Roots of Apocalyptic Violence

    February 15, 2018

    I should have put a question mark behind the title of my essay in order to signify that the intention to investigate existential roots of apocalyptic violence implies several questions and that these questions perhaps do not find satisfying answers. The questions are: (1) Can one single out a…

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  • Voegelin, Freud and Totem and Taboo

    February 14, 2018

    In his writings Voegelin makes several references to Sigmund Freud, but he never engaged in the type of sustained philosophical analysis that he carried out with figures like Hegel, Marx, or Nietzsche. However, he did make enough comments to make it clear that he regarded Freud as falling within…

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  • Eric Voegelin and the German Left

    February 13, 2018

    The memory of Eric Voegelin as a political philosopher is overshadowed in the USA and Germany by his reputation of having been a proponent of conservatism.  In both countries the conservative label sealed his intellectual image.  The ideological label is somewhat curious since neither the American nor the German…

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  • Philosophy and the Crisis of the Modern World

    February 12, 2018

    To find a way out of the current confusions and rifts in modern Western societies, and for its various countries to regain workable cultural identities, a necessary, but not sufficient condition would be to have an allegiance to a divine conception of reality. This allegiance is not sufficient because…

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Along with a growing number of my fellow evangelicals, I have learned to qualify the Reformation cry of sola scriptura by asserting the foundational authority of the ecumenical councils that formed the creeds. I have learned too to drink deeply at the patristic well: not raising Sacred Tradition to the same level as the Bible but according a greater weight…

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Why Plato Wrote. Danielle S. Allen. Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.
As part of the Blackwell Bristol Lectures Series on Greece, Rome, and the Classical Tradition, Danielle S. Allen has produced an extraordinary book that not only offers an answer to the title question of her book, Why Plato Wrote, but also examines the nature of philosophical writing, the relationship between philosophy and politics, and…

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The Ancient Quarrel between Philosophy and Poetry. Raymond Barfield. Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press, 2011.

 
From its beginnings, philosophy’s language, concepts, and imaginative growth have been heavily influenced by poetry. Drawing upon the works of a wide range of thinkers throughout the history of Western philosophy, Barfield explores the pervasiveness of poetry’s impact on philosophy and, conversely, how philosophy has sometimes resisted…

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The Musical Structure of Plato’s Dialogues. J.B. Kennedy. Acumen Press, 2011.
J.B. Kennedy’s The Musical Structure of Plato’s Dialogues seeks to establish that Plato divided some, if not all, of his dialogues into twelve equal sections. These twelve sections, Kennedy argues, correlate with the Pythagorean twelve division multi-octave musical scale. From his analysis of the Symposium and Euthyphro, Kennedy argues that Plato…

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Plato: The Republic. Translated by R.E. Allen. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.
As with his other works on Plato’s dialogues, R. E. Allen’s translation of the Republic is a faithful, smooth-flowing, and intelligent rendition of the material for students and the general reader. For scholars, it is another major translation of Plato’s dialogue in the tradition of Cornford, Grube, Waterfield,…

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The Republic. The Comprehensive Student Edition. Andrea Tschemplik. Rowman & Littlefield, 2005.
Tschempilk's The Republic is an excellent textbook for undergraduate students. It is based on the translation of John Llewelyn Davies and James Vaughan (1852), with the archaism and Briticism eliminated from the text. The book is organized in the traditional ten books with the Stephanus numbers. At the beginning of…

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Plato’s Republic. Alain Badiou with Susan Spitzer, trans. Polity Press, Cambridge, 2015.
 
In the first two parts of this essay I outlined the millenarian Platonism of French Maoist philosopher Alain Badiou and the theoretical basis behind his attempt to rewrite Plato’s Republic entirely for a 21st century communism. I would now like to look closely at a couple of aspects of this…

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Plato’s Republic. Alain Badiou with Susan Spitzer, trans. Polity Press, Cambridge, 2015.
 
Part 2: Voegelin and Girard on Badiou.
This is the second instalment in a three-part essay on the millenarian Platonism of the French philosopher Alain Badiou. What is most interesting is that Badiou has at least some conception of the millenarian question. In his little book Saint Paul: The Foundation…

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Plato’s Republic. Alain Badiou with Susan Spitzer, trans. Polity Press, Cambridge, 2015.
 
Plenty of books have been written about Plato’s Republic. However, as far as I can tell, there have only been a couple of efforts to rewrite it entirely. One is Douglas Woodruff’s amusing old skit Plato’s American Republic in which a Toquevillean Socrates visits the country during the prohibition era.[1]…

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Plato’s Meno. Scott, Dominic. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.
As part of the Cambridge Studies in the Dialogues of Plato, Scott’s Plato’s Meno is an excellent contribution.  His approach to the dialogue is a balance between those commentators who discount the dramatic elements of the dialogue as mere dressage for analytical arguments and those who excessively focus on the drama at the…

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