Theology


  • George Prochnik’s Stranger in a Strange Land

    George Prochnik’s Stranger in a Strange Land

    In my review for the LA Review of Books, I delve into George Prochnik’s intriguing and beautiful book, Stranger in a Strange Land. This work masterfully intertwines Prochnik’s memoir with the intellectual biography of Gershom Scholem, a renowned Kabbalah scholar. Scholem, a pivotal figure in Jewish intellectual history, revolutionized the study of Kabbalah, transforming it…

  • The Story of Reason in Islam by Sari Nusseibeh

    The Story of Reason in Islam by Sari Nusseibeh

    As a Westerner for whom the intellectual history of Islam is something of a mystery, reading Sari Nusseibeh’s timely and sweeping new book was like swimming on the surface of an unfamiliar ocean. This delightful survey is packed with intriguing details of what the giants of Islamic thought struggled with and argued about, but ultimately…

  • George Boole, the Holy Trinity, and the Birth of the Computer

    George Boole, the Holy Trinity, and the Birth of the Computer

    Since it first emerged in the early days of Christianity, the concept of the Holy Trinity— Father, Son and Holy Spirit as three components of a single God-head— has been a head-scratcher for non-Christians and an unending source of conflict within the Church. The concept was already rattling around among the earliest Church Fathers in…

  • Donald Trump, Theologian

    Donald Trump, Theologian

    Recently, James Carroll wrote a sensitive piece in the New Yorker (“The Radical Meaning of Pope Francis’s Visit to Juarez”) about the testy exchange between Pope Francis and Donald Trump regarding immigration. Midway through the brief article and on his way to making the point that the pope held the ethical high ground in the debate,…

  • Encountering Bible and Sword by Barbara Tuchman

    Encountering Bible and Sword by Barbara Tuchman

    Last weekend I faced a solitary thousand-mile roundtrip drive from the Bay Area to San Diego down the largely featureless California Central Valley, a chore that became a delight as I spent the time listening to a book I’d never read, Bible and Sword, by a writer I’ve long admired, Barbara Tuchman.

  • Fred Donner and the Early Days of Islam

    Fred Donner and the Early Days of Islam

    One of the pleasures I’ve discovered in time I’ve spent so far on my current project is meeting interesting people, and also discovering how generous some people can be with their time and expertise. This was brought home to me most recently when I met Fred Donner, a distinguished scholar of Islam and of Near…