Essay / Culture

Roger Lundin (1949-2015)

I remember him larger than life. He was a big man—tall, solidly built, with a voice that boomed and the occasional flair for the dramatic. To this day, nearly twenty years later, the lasting image I have of Roger Lundin finds him crawling across the

Essay / Education

“Homer is Like Sirens… His Myths are Not There for Fun”

Bishop Eustathius of Thessalonica (1115-1195) wrote a long, Greek commentary on the Iliad, which he introduced with this commendation of Homer. He thinks everybody should read Homer, but his strategy seems to be making the poet seem deep, dark, and dangerous: Homer is like Sirens.

Essay / Literature

Basement of the Museum

On the second page of a long book about the plays of Aeschylus, critic Thomas Rosenmeyer explains how he intends to proceed. He wants to help modern non-specialists, readers who are getting their Aeschylus in English, by showing them how to avoid “some of the

Essay / Blog

The Metaphysics of Candlelight

Nature’s Distilled Sunlight Have you ever wondered why you loved candlelight? And what is so mesmerizing about the embers of a campfire? It is as though the depths of wisdom were contained in the spectrum of reds, oranges, yellows and blues, glowing and pulsing with life.

Essay / Culture

The Theologian’s Stone: Atonement In Harry Potter, Book I

This post originally appeared on Dr. Johnson’s website. “It is a monstrous thing, to slay a unicorn…. Only one who has nothing to lose, and everything to gain, would commit such a crime. The blood of a unicorn will keep you alive, even if you

Essay / Culture

Because of Fairies

Recently, I spent twelve hours discussing Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with sophomores in the Torrey Honors Institute. (What a job!) I love this play more and more. It’s easy to miss its richness–it’s such a romp! Here’s the thing that struck me in reading

Essay / Literature

Some Books Just Aren’t Long Enough

Some books just aren’t long enough. I wasn’t more than a hundred pages into The Lord of the Rings by J.R. Tolkien when I began to dread the ending—not because it was so far away, but because it was going to come all too soon.

Essay / Blog

When He Became a Child, the Affection Came

Francis Spufford wrote not long ago of “why, despite everything, Christianity can still make surprising emotional sense.” The great paradoxes of the faith–incarnation and crucifixion–would seem to resist any attempt to “make sense” of them. But, if one best enters these mysteries bowed low in

Essay / Literature

Beginnings and Creations in the Magician’s Nephew

In October 2014, five of the faculty of the Torrey Honors Institute had a public discussion of C.S. Lewis’ The Magician’s Nephew as part of Biola’s annual University Day. There was a lovely audience there, but we barely let them get a word in. Did I

Essay / Literature

Hermeneutics with Samuel Johnson

Samuel Johnson gives some excellent advice in his Preface to Shakespeare (1765) that applies to reading in general, and especially well to Bible reading. Johnson advises readers to plow straight through a Shakespeare play, keeping up a good pace even when passages aren’t clear. To

Essay / Literature

Wordsworth in the West

William Wordsworth perfected a certain type of nature poetry, a particularly spiritual sort of nature lyric. He celebrated the movements of the infinite Spirit making itself known to humanity through the forms of nature as contemplated by poet-prophets who were the universe’s appointed spokesmen. Nature

Essay / Literature

Recommended: Schumacher’s Dear Committee Members

As the academic year rolls back around, I usually end up reading a late-summer silly novel. Nothing eases the pain of being a grown-up with a job quite like a dose of Wodehouse –though Alexander McCall Smith and Jack Handey also work pretty well. I