Anestis Keselopoulos on St Gregory Palamas: Repentance and Purification

In the third chapter of his book Passions and Virtues, Anestis Keselopoulos expresses the teaching of St Gregory Palamas on repentance. ‘Repentance is not a short-lived contrition arising from the awareness that some sin has been committed. It is a permanent spiritual state…the new frame of mind and correct spiritual course that must accompany man until the moment of his […]

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Sebastian Faulks’ A Week in December (2009)

This novel follows a group of characters during the week preceding a large dinner party held in London at the end of 2007. Two narrative lines are developed in detail. A young man has joined a group of young Muslims planning an act of terror that may impact on the lives of other characters, while a hedge fund trader in the City plots […]

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Christopher I. Beckwith’s Empires of the Silk Road (2009) (ii)

The decline of Central Eurasia has been going on for some centuries, but the explanation Christopher Beckwith offers for what he sees as its cultural destruction in the twentieth century is the influence of modernism and its political consequences. ‘The core idea of Modernism is simple, and seems harmless enough by itself: what is modern – new and fashionable – is […]

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Anestis Keselopoulos’ ‘Passions and Virtues according to Saint Gregory Palamas’ (2004)

Gregory Palamas (1296-1359) has become very influential in recent Orthodox thought, especially for the distinction he drew between the divine essence and energies and the way in which this clarified such questions as the nature of grace and the possibility of being in contact with God. The study of Anestis Keselopoulos, originally published in Greek in 1982, is rather concerned with […]

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Joe Bageant on the United States

A friend who borrowed from a library a new book of essays by the American writer Joe Bageant (Waltzing at the Doomsday Ball, 2011) was so impressed that she passed it on to me before returning it, and it’s indeed very interesting. Bageant is not only a socialist capable of discussing class in a way few Americans do but he writes as a […]

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Christopher B. Kreb’s A Most Dangerous Book Tacitus’ Germania from the Roman Empire to the Third Reich (2011)

At the end of the first century AD the Roman historian Tacitus wrote a work describing people he refers to as Germans. In contrast to the Romans, these people emerge from Tacitus as a hardy and vigorous folk who had preserved their purity of blood, being free of any taint from inter-marriage. Such a portrayal was congenial to later Germans (who may have had little in […]

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Stephen Pinker’s ‘The Better Angels of our Nature’ (2011)

This is a book with a heartening argument: as time passes, humans are becoming less violent. Beginning with statistics that seem to show that fewer people are being killed in warfare, Pinker goes on to examine the decline in capital punishment and slavery, and the various recent movements for civil, women’s, homosexual and animal rights.  If this were not enough to […]

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