Garry Wills is the subject of a Festschrift published by Northwestern’s Garret-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Nation and World, Church and God: The Legacy of Garry Wills. His latest book is What the Qur’an Meant: And Why It Matters. (February 2018)

FEATURED

Our Moloch

The gun is our Moloch. We sacrifice children to him daily—sometimes, as at Sandy Hook, by directly throwing them into the fire-hose of bullets from our protected private killing machines, sometimes by blighting our children’s lives by the death of a parent, a schoolmate, a teacher, a protector. The gun is not a mere tool, a bit of technology, a political issue, a point of debate. It is an object of reverence.

IN THE REVIEW

A Wild and Indecent Book

Max Ernst: The Virgin Chastising the Christ Child Before Three Witnesses: André Breton, Paul Éluard, and the Painter, 1926

The New Testament: A Translation

by David Bentley Hart
It was subtle of God to learn Greek when he wished to become an author, and not to learn it better. —Friedrich Nietzsche on the New Testament At last a man comes riding to the rescue of the English Bible. Condemning earlier translations of the New Testament, David Bentley Hart …

Big Rocket Man

Donald Trump
Donald Trump has threatened “Little Rocket Man” with “fire and fury like the world has never seen”—not even seen, presumably, at Hiroshima or Nagasaki. We possess, after all, many more and much better (that is, much worse) explosives than were used by President Truman in 1945, when he incinerated those cities without Congress or the American people knowing we even had them. The fact that President Trump (“old lunatic”) has a legally absolute power to destroy Kim Jong-un (“short and fat”) over dueling insults is so scary that Senator Edward Markey and Representative Ted Lieu are trying to restrict that absolute power, so that only Congress would have the authority to declare nuclear war. This seems not only reasonable but constitutionally necessary. The Constitution in fact denies the president the power to declare war and reserves it solely to Congress. More than that, the framers clearly opposed the massing of power in the executive—lest it become the monarchy they had opposed with a revolution.

Where Evangelicals Came From

Donald Trump posing for photographs after he delivered the convocation at Liberty University, an evangelical university in Lynchburg, Virginia, January 2016

The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America

by Frances FitzGerald
Every few years, it seems, conservative religious groups, quiescent or unnoticed, come blazing back onto the national scene, and the secular press reacts like the bad guy in the 1971 western Big Jake who says to John Wayne, “I thought you were dead.” Wayne drily answers, “Not hardly.” Now, in The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America, Frances FitzGerald answers the recurrent question, “Where did these people come from?” She says there is no mystery involved. They were always here. We were just not looking at them.

NYR DAILY

The Emperor’s Hairdo

A waxwork of President Donald Trump, Madame Tussauds, London, January 18, 2017

What would happen to Donald Trump if he lost his hair (or what passes for it)? The first thing is that he would save a great deal of time in the creation and maintenance of such an artifact. It’s amazing what forty minutes here and forty minutes there adds up to, day by day, week by week. He would, furthermore, gain all the time he has to spend finding out what people say about his hair, his wonderful attractiveness, his non-loser look.

Crowding Around the Nativity

In the earliest crèches, the figures were life-size and the scene centered on the Holy Family. But during the Baroque period, the scale was vastly reduced while gaining complexity with the addition of peasants, merchants, dogs, goats, and even water buffalo. The artistry reached a peak in eighteenth-century Naples, when the largest ensembles would often fill several rooms.

Disciples of Distrust

I think a deeper crisis underlies Trump’s following: the shuddering distrust of every kind of authority—a contempt for the whole political system, its “establishment,” the Congress, its institutions (like the Fed), its “mainstream” media, the international arrangements it has made (not only the trade deals but the treaty obligations under NATO and other defense agreements). What has caused this bitter disillusion?

NYR CALENDAR

Spotlight

The script, written by the film’s director Tom McCarthy and the academic- and-showbiz marvel Josh Singer, is amazing in its mastery of the complex material, since many strands converged for the paper to break the hold of the hierarchy over the city.