29 Jan


Category: What We're Reading
By: Amy L. Graeser
Published: 01/29/03

Bibliographic sources from the liner notes of various editions of the Journal.

A guest on Volume 55 of the Journal, John Kelsay's Islam and War: A Study in Comparative Ethics (Westminster/John Knox Press, 1993) is a comparison of the Western tradition of just war and the Islamic tradition of war. In this book, Kelsay argues that generally, in the just-war tradition, religion is never a just cause for war, whereas in Islam, religion is the only just cause. Kelsay also co-edited (with James Turner Johnson) Cross, Crescent, and Sword: The Justification and Limitation of War in Western and Islamic Tradition (Greenwood, 1990). See also Human Rights and the Conflicts of Culture: Western and Islamic Perspectives on Religious Liberty (University of South Carolina Press, 1988), co-edited by Kelsay, David Little, Abdulaziz A. Sachedina, and Frederick Denny. Bernard Lewis's The Political Language of Islam (Chicago, 1991), traces the development of Islamic political philosophy from the very beginnings to the present. Lewis is also the author of The Shaping of the Modern Middle East (Oxford, 1994), The Assassins: A Radical Sect in Islam (Oxford, 1987), Islam and the West (Oxford, 1994), and The Multiple Identities of the Middle East (Schocken, 2001). Of this last book, the review in the Library Journal noted; "His new work should be required reading for all Westerners who have any serious interest in understanding how the history and religion of this dynamic area have led to very different interpretations of such traditional Western notions as nation, citizenship, and patriotism. Lewis ably communicates the primary importance of Islam in forming the core personal identity for area Muslims." [Posted June 2002, ALG]

Bernard Lewis discusses the similarities and differences between Islam and Western Civilization on Volume 59 of the Journal; his book What Went Wrong: Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response is published by Oxford University Press (2001). Bat Ye'or has researched extensively the history of the treatment of Christians and Jews in Islamic societies and documented the effects of the formal discrimination which conferred dhimmi status on Jews and Christians. Her books include The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam: From Jihad to Dhimmitude (Fairleigh Dickinson, 1996) and Islam and Dhimmitude: Where Civilizations Collide (Fairleigh Dickinson, 2001). Rudolph Peters has assembled an anthology of texts documenting the understanding of the idea of jihad in his book Jihad in Classical and Modern Islam: A Reader (Marcus Wiener Publishers, 1996). Daniel Pipes has recently observed (in "Jihad and the Professors," Commentary, November 2002, available on-line) that many academic scholars of Islam have been publicly denying the military connotations of jihad. Pipes, a veteran Middle East scholar, is also the author of the recent study Militant Islam Reaches America (Norton, 2002). Stephen Schwartz's Two Faces of Islam: The House of Sa'ud from Tradition to Terror (Doubleday, 2002) looks at the rise of Wahhabism, the movement which originated in the eighteenth century in an effort to purify Islam from various contaminants (Schwartz discusses this history on Volume 61 of the Journal). Two books that examine Islam more in the light of Christian apologetics than politics are Answering Islam: The Crescent in Light of the Cross (Baker, updated 2002), by Norman Geisler and Abdul Saleeb, and Islam at the Crossroads: Understanding the Beliefs, History, and Conflicts (Baker, 2002), by Paul A. Marshall, Lela Gilbert, and Roberta Green. [Posted January 2003, ALG]

12 Jan

1996 Interview

Category: What We're Reading
By: Ken Myers
Published: 01/12/03

In honor and memory of Roger Shattuck's intellectual brilliance and moral seriousness, MARS HILL AUDIO is making available the two parts of his 1996 interview with Ken Myers which appeared on volume 24 of the TAPES as a free downloadable mp3 file. It may be obtained by clicking HERE. [Posted January 2006, KAM]

In honor and memory of Roger Shattuck's intellectual brilliance and moral seriousness, MARS HILL AUDIO is making available the two parts of his 1996 interview with Ken Myers which appeared on volume 24 of the TAPES as a free downloadable mp3 file. It may be obtained by clicking HERE. [Posted January 2006, KAM]

22 Nov

The Virtues of Orwell's Windowpane Prose

Category: Sound Thinking
By: Amy L. Graeser
Published: 11/22/02

Professor Paul J. Griffiths explains why Christians should read George Orwell's works.

George Orwell is known, in part, for his disdain for system- and doctrine-endorsing institutions, Catholicism and Christianity included. At first glance, it may not seem as if his writings would be particularly advantageous for Christians to study, but in "Orwell for Christians," published in the December 2004 issue of First Things, professor Paul J. Griffiths takes a closer look at Orwell and commends his work to Christians for some valuable lessons. In addition to explaining that Orwell's prose demonstrates the consequences of affirming that there is a describable, natural order to the world, Griffiths writes: "The virtue [Christians] can learn from Orwell is to see the power of language to depict and of thought to grasp the meaning of what is depicted, and to strive to use language in such a way that it more fully realizes that power." [Posted November 2004, ALG]

14 Feb

The New Atlantis

Category: What We're Reading
By: Amy L. Graeser
Published: 02/14/02

Hoping to encourage thoughtful reflection in America on the larger questions surrounding technology and human nature, the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington has founded The New Atlantis: A Journal of Technology & Society. The premiere issue, published in the spring of 2003, featured articles by such heavyweights in the world of bioethics as Leon R. Kass and Gilbert Meilaender. For information about subscribing to the quarterly Journal, its mission and editorial board, or to browse the available issues, visit The New Atlantis's web pages. [Posted February 2004, ALG]

13 Feb

Prometheus's Yellow Light of Caution May Not Be Enough

Category: Sound Thinking
By: Amy L. Graeser
Published: 02/13/02

Gilbert Meilaender, a guest on multiple volumes of the MARS HILL AUDIO Journal, was invited to present a paper on bioethics for the Ethics and Public Policy Center's semi-annual conference on religion and public life in December 2004. A transcript of his talk, complete with a reply from a journalist attending the conference, is available on-line.

In "Bioethics and Human Nature: Exploring Some Background Issues," Meilaender emphasizes the need for morally serious thinking about bioethics grounded in an understanding of human nature. Before one can wisely recommend implementation of bioethical practices, one ought to have a firm grasp on what it means to be human. Meilaender points out that bioethics offers four ways of unpacking that very question, and he attends to each way in turn, devoting the bulk of his paper to setting the stage for further reflection about bioethical issues. The four themes Meilaender examines are: the unity and integrity of the human being; human finitude and freedom; the relation between the generations; and suffering and vulnerability. He closes his discussion with the tale of Prometheus, and he advocates not only the caution advised therein, but also the ability and willingness to stop "progress" if necessary. He writes, "Now, quite often, of course, proceeding with caution is perfectly sound advice. . . . But if we really want to be morally serious, the ability to stop, to decline to go forward, may also sometimes be needed . . . ."

"The Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC) was established in 1976 to clarify and reinforce the bond between the Judeo-Christian moral tradition and the public debate over domestic and foreign policy issues. Its program includes research, writing, publication, and conferences." (Quote taken from the web pages of the Ethics and Public Policy Center.) [Posted February 2005, ALG]