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Alan Jacobs

Dr. Alan Jacobs is Distinguished Professor of the Humanities in the Honors Program at Baylor University. He was professor of English at Wheaton College in Illinois from 1984–2012. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Virginia and his B.A. from the University of Alabama. His professional interests include literary theory and the history of criticism, British Commonwealth literature, and religion and literature. Jacobs is a popular essayist and columnist and has been published in The American Scholar, Christianity and Literature, Harper’s, Books and Culture, and First Things. More information about his interests and his writing may be found on his website.

Selected bibliography

Breaking Bread with the Dead: A Reader’s Guide to a More Tranquil Mind (New York: Penguin Press, 2020)

“Patience: Terrence Malick’s A Hidden Life (The Point, March 5, 2020)

The Year of Our Lord 1943: Christian Humanism in an Age of Crisis (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018)

How to Think: A Guide for the Perplexed (New York: Currency Books, 2017) [discussed on Vol. 142]


In addition to having been a guest on the Journal many times, we have produced an audio edition of one of Alan Jacobs’s books, and he has been featured on three of our Conversations.

On the Journal

Volume 142

On how contemporary communications media discourage thinking, especially charitable thinking

Volume 4

On Robert James Waller’s The Bridges of Madison County, and why sentimentalism in life and in art is a moral problem

Volume 3

On P. D. James’s The Children of Men