Foreign Studies

The Abolition of Marriage
First Things, August/September 1996
"The Abolition of Marriage: How We Destroy Lasting Love" is a book by Maggie Gallagher. It is reviewed here by Kari Jenson Gold. This book explores the "culture of divorce." The author asserts that the triumph of the sexual revolution is largely resp
African Slavery 1996
First Things, May 1996
There are countries in Africa today which still practice institutionalized slavery. The Western media and the United Nations have known of this fact for some time. Why has the flame of indignation not spread against this practice as it did over aparthei
John Gay
What if God had not chosen Abraham, but rather another man to father God's chosen nation? Would that have changed the way the world views the Jewish race? The answer to this question divulges the true basis of anti-Semitism.
Apologizing to the Babies
First Things, October 1996
A large proportion of Japanese women have undergone one or more abortions. The procedure there has no religious or social stigma attached to it. But recently there has been a trend in which couples express regret over their past abortions with extended
China's Christian History
First Things, August/September 1997
The history of the West's efforts to bring Christianity to the Chinese is a rather tumultuous one. The issue of Western missionary work in China remains a vexing question in our time.
The Election of Israel
First Things, April 1996
"The Election of Israel: The Idea of the Chosen People" is authored by David Novak and reviewed by John T. Pawlikowski. This book addresses the issue of Jewish religious identity in the midst of modernity's challenges. The author, as in his previous wo
Evil Empire Speech
Ronald Reagan
President Reagan speaks out against totalitarianism, particularly the Soviet Union's form of it, in this speech before the House of Commons.
God's Chinese Son
First Things, June/July 1996
Christian missionaries had made great advances in China by the 1840's. Then an ambitious Chinese youth, Hong Xiuquan, read the missionaries' tracts and decided that he was also God's son, the younger brother of Jesus. He sought to begin a new dynasty for
Islam Partially Perceived
First Things, January 1996
Bernard Lewis reviews "The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World" (4 vols.) which is edited by Joseph Esposito.
The Jews as the Christians Saw Them
First Things, May 1997
The Holocaust and the founding of the state of Israel were occasions by which Christians were forced to reconsider their relations with Jews. The author reveals the original attitudes about Jews and Judaism that pervaded the early Church.
Jews in Multicultural America
First Things, December 1996
Where do the Jews fit into multicultural America? Where did they fit into pluralistic America? Answering these questions involve distinguishing between pluralism and multiculturalism as well as determining what it means to move from one to the other.
Judaism or Jewishness
First Things, June/July 1997
The author traces the series of historical efforts by which Jews sought to gain equality in America. Did this effort culminate in an effort to secularize American institutions?
Last Testament
First Things, August/September 1996
In May of 1996, a band of Islamic terrorists killed seven French Trappist monks after holding them hostage for two months. Prior to their captivity, the monastary superior, Father Christian de Cherge, had left this testament with his family, "to be opene
Law of Moses, Law of Nature
First Things, February 1996
The author outlines three political events which define the modern Jewish experience: Jewish citizenship in nation-states, the Holocaust, and the founding of the state of Israel. Each of these events is tied to an understanding of natural law. How does
Love, Hate, and Jewish Identity
First Things, November 1997
The author traces Jewish identity through modernity. He considers many historical and social factors as he concludes that the Jews have moved away from their religious heritage, the very thing that made them unique, in favor of secular principles.
Opinion: Berlin Again and Again; Hard to Remember; Swearing to Life
First Things, January 1996
The author reflects on his three visits to Berlin, each in a different decade. Its history may stir deep emotions as one recalls the terrible consequences of radical ideology merged with political power.
The Public Square: The Taming of the Church
First Things, November 1996
The author eloquently recounts the origins of the English Reformation. He makes clear the issues at stake which separated the English Crown from the Roman Catholic Church. He also ties this history into the current concerns about the relationship betwe
Rapture and Renewal in Latin America
First Things, June/July 1997
Pentecostal movements are sweeping Latin America. Attendants at Pentecostal services are filled with great enthusiasm at messages of personal repentance and reform. The author examines this movement in the context of Latino culture.
Religion and State in the American Jewish Experience
First Things, October 1997
Authors Jonathon D. Sarna and David G. Dalin argue in their new book, "Religion and State in the American Jewish Experience," that the Jewish movement toward the separationist position has not always been this way. Reviewed by Elliot Abrams.
Review Essay: Daniel Goldhagen's Holocaust
First Things, August/September 1996
Richard John Neuhaus reviews Daniel Goldhagen's book, "Hitler's Willing Executioner: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust." In this book, Goldhagen presents his thesis that the German people were anti-Semitic since the early 19th century: they wanted the
Robert Graham, S.J.
First Things, June/July 1997
Father Robert Graham, S.J. was a tireless defender of Pope Pius XII against accusations of indifference toward the fate of Jews in World War II. Several years after his death, the Pope became the target of vehement criticism in this regard.
Sympathetic Attractions
First Things, May 1997
Patricia Fara studies the historical development of science in a society in her book "Sympathetic Attractions: Magnetic Practices, Beliefs, and Symbolism in Eighteenth Century England." Reviewed by Hugh Ormsby-Lennon.
To Be A Prophet for the People
First Things, January 1996
In the late twelfth century, Moroccan Jews were faced with a terrible choice: affirm Islam or perish. But could those who had publicly renounced their faith under persecution still practice it privately and remain a Jew in good standing?
Ukraine: Christians in Conflict
First Things, March 1997
Freedom in the Ukraine has been met with markets, libertine mores, corruption, as well as civil and religious unrest. The people of the Ukraine and the Orthodox Church survived persecution under communism. Can they now survive freedom?
Virtually Normal: An Argument About Homosexuality
First Things, January 1996
Elizabeth Kristol reviews "Virtually Normal: An Argument About Homosexuality" by Andrew Sullivan. The author, an admitted homosexual, makes the unusual claim that legalizing same-sex marriages would have a conservatizing effect on society.
When Words Kill
First Things, June/July 1996
Jewish law, tradition and sentiment demand the protection of each human life at virtually any cost. The author examines this principle in an historical context and even relates it to the assasination of Yitzhak Rabin.
Who is 'Israel' and What is Her Future?
Jonathan Went
The author discusses the issue of what, biblically, is meant by the term 'Israel,' and what God has planned for the future of the Jewish nation.