MARS HILL AUDIO Journal

Volume 29

Guests on Volume 29: Richard John Neuhaus, on the recent judicial usurpation of democracy; John Patrick Diggins, on Max Weber's insights into democracy and leadership; Norman Cantor, on how postmodern culture resembles the baroque period; Alan Jacobs, on William Faulkner as a modernist and a Southerner; Charles Marsh, on the theological depth of the civil rights movement; David Park, on how pre-modern Christians understood light; and Ted Libbey, on Franz Schubert's role in inventing Romanticism.

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Part 1

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    Richard John Neuhaus on the recent judicial usurpation of democracy

    The End of Democracy? The Judicial Usurpation of Politics (Spence Publishing Company, 1998)

    Father Richard John Neuhaus, editor-in-chief of First Things, discusses the controversy surrounding the symposium on the state of democracy, "The End of Democracy?". Neuhaus comments on the state of the neoconservative movement in the United States, and on the country as a continuing experiment.

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    John Patrick Diggins on Max Weber's insights into democracy and leadership

    Max Weber: Politics and the Spirit of Tragedy (Basic Books, 1996)

    John Patrick Diggins, author of Max Weber: Politics and the Spirit of Tragedy, discusses the views of the modern father of sociology, Max Weber, and outlines the reasons he believes Weber's political philosophy is unpopular in the United States. Weber's understanding of authority and his comments on the result of reason in political theory affect public perception of Weber's theories, according to Diggins.

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    Norman Cantor on how postmodern culture resembles the baroque period

    The American Century: Varieties of Culture in Modern Times (HarperCollins, 1997)

    Norman Cantor, author of The American Century, discusses his understanding of the contemporary age, viewing it as quite similar to the Baroque period which followed the Renaissance. Cantor discusses the growing decadence he observes in the university, the intellectual press, and in politics.

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    Alan Jacobs on William Faulkner as a modernist and a Southerner

    During his lifetime, William Faulkner (1897-1962) won several awards for his writing, including two Pulitzer prizes for fiction and the 1949 Nobel Prize for literature.

    Literary critic Alan Jacobs sees William Faulkner's view of Southern history as deeply tragic, because of its paradoxical commitment to both morality and slavery. Faulkner was heavily influenced by the worldview of the Greeks, but also by Christianity, according to Jacobs. Faulkner's version of the South meshed with his understanding of tragedy, and he applied this view in his fiction by emphasizing the continuing presence of the past in the present.

Part 2

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    Charles Marsh on the theological depth of the civil rights movement

    God's Long Summer: Stories of Faith and Civil Rights (Princeton University Press, 1997)

    Charles Marsh, author of God's Long Summer: Stories of Faith and Civil Rights, says that Andrew Hudgens was the most important evangelical preacher in Mississippi during the heady days of the civil rights movement in the 1960s because his preaching was decidedly not politically motivated. Marsh speculates that Hudgens may not have seen the gospel as pertinent to the Civil Rights movement, and highlights the dangers of disconnecting theology from society.

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    David Park on how pre-modern Christians understood light

    The Fire within the Eye: A Historical Essay on the Nature and Meaning of Light (Princeton University Press, 1997)

    Physicist David Park, author of The Fire Within the Eye: A Historical Essay on the Nature and Meaning of Light, views light as a spiritual phenomenon and a source of endless scientific research. Park references the work of St. Augustine (whose views on light are contrary to modern day notions), Dante, and Thomas Aquinas, who all viewed God as "a single point of blazing Light."

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    Ted Libbey on Franz Schubert's role in inventing Romanticism

    Franz Schubert , born in 1797, had a short but prolific career, composing over 950 works before his death in 1828.

    Music critic Ted Libbey explores the quiet demeanor of composer Franz Schubert, and explains how his demeanor fit the music he composed. His personality was suited for more intimate forms of musical composition; though his symphonies were well-known, he never had the expectations to be a masterful symphonist, according to Libbey.