Essay / Education

The Ideal in Pride and Prejudice (Common Room)

Check out this conversation on a Jane Austen novel: it’s a chat among two philosophers and an Old Testament prof, so it gets philosophical and theological (Aristotle and Proverbs are both invoked). But it’s also powerfully good reflection on a book that all three participants

Essay / Literature

A Few Writing Tips

Some tips on writing that I posted on a friend’s blog back in 2010, but which have gone missing from the internet since then. Lightly revised and updated, they still represent my best advice about the craft of writing. 1. Read for craft. Once you’ve

Essay / Education

How to Read TWO Books (Erasmus Addlepate)

File this under “weird books I have encountered.” Erasmus Addlepate’s 1940 How to Read Two Books: It’s obviously a spoof of Mortimer Adler’s How to Read a Book. You can tell from Addlepate’s supposed other books like How to Get Up int he Morning that

Essay / Education

How to Use a Book Instead of Receiving It

In his 1961 book An Experiment in Criticism, C.S. Lewis describes the difference between reading a book to encounter what is in it, and using a book for other reasons. There are lots of other reasons to use a book, some petty and some profound,

Essay / Education

Torrey Cambridge 2017: Great Booklist in a Great Place

Every July, about forty students and three professors from the Torrey Honors Institute take a trip to Cambridge for an intensive four-unit class. It’s Torrey Cambridge, and it’s a blast. The curriculum each summer is anchored in a short book of the New Testament, and

Essay / Blog

T&T Clark Companion to the Atonement

This week, I submitted the manuscript for the T&T Clark Companion to the Atonement, an edited work with 18 major chapters and 85 shorter essays from scholars around the world, exploring the doctrine of the atonement from a variety of angles. The various essays explore

Essay / Literature

Silent No More: CS Lewis’ Cosmological Theory of the Atonement

According to C.S. Lewis’ Ransom Trilogy, our home is “Thulcandra—the silent planet,” for “it alone is outside the heaven, and no message comes from it. That is to say, no message came from our planet, until Ransom was kidnapped, and brought to Malacandra (or Venus). At a certain

Essay / Literature

The Flowering Crown

This post was featured on Biola’s Center for Christianity, Culture and the Arts’ Lent Project on Easter Sunday, March 27, 2016, and can also be found on Dr. Johnson’s website.  The crown of the thorns is a symbol of cruelty and oppression—but a poetic one.

Essay / Literature

The Chamber of Victory: Harry Potter and the Atonement, Part II

The Chamber of Secrets picks up where The Sorcerer’s Stone left off, continuing its provocative and creative exploration of salvation. There are angry demands for punishment (144; and the dismissal thereof (330)), an “heir” which will purge the school of unclean Mudblood filth (151, 224),

Essay / Culture

Why Read? By Eva Brann

This speech was originally given on March 3, 2016, by Professor Eva Brann of St. John’s College (Annapolis), as part of the Distinguished Lecture Series at the Torrey Honors Institute. The following is an excerpt. A link to her full speech is available on Open

Essay / Education

Reading Strategies

Our students read thousands of pages per semester—a daunting task threatening to compromise and undermine their health and well being if they are not careful. The key to doing all this reading, I would like to suggest, is setting up patterns and disciplines which will