short writings

(a small selection among shorter-than-book-length pieces, some published & some not; the first date given is that of composition, to the best of my recall; I note publication details when there are any; I’ll populate this page more fully with time; & you’re free to make any use you’d like of anything provided here)


2017: against judicial execution. This appears on the First Things website, and will shortly appear in the December 2017 print edition of the same.


2017: to the university, with love –– a version of this was published during the summer of 2017 in Commonweal, and in the Chronicle of Higher Education.


2016: saeculum–ecclesia–caliphate: an eternal golden braid –– text of a lecture given in June 2016 at a conference on tradition, secularization, and  fundamentalism, sponsored by the Orthodox Christian Studies Center at Fordham University.


2016: review of wahlberg/revelation as testimony –– forthcoming in something like this form in the Journal of Religion.


2016: review of brague/on the god of the christians –– a version close to this was published in The Thomist 80/3 (2016), 463-467.


2015: celan for catholics –– a shorter version of this appeared in Commonweal (11 September 2015), 25-27.


2015: priestly theologians –– a version derived from this was published in James Keating, ed., The Priest & Theological Study (Omaha, Nebraska: IPF Publications, 2015), 73-95.


2014: review of rodriguez/darling –– this appeared in First Things 242 (April 2014), 58-59.


2014: theological disagreement – what it is & how to do it –– a plenary lecture given at the annual meeting of the Catholic Theological Society of America in 2014, and afterwards published, essentially in this form, in the Proceedings of the Catholic Theological Society of America 69 (2014), 23-36.


2014: review of meconi/one christ –– approximately as published in in Nova et Vetera, 13/4 (2015), 1289-1292.


2014: review of nongbri/before religion –– approximately as published in Pro Ecclesia, 24/2 (2015), 245-248.


2014: review of leithart/gratitude –– approximately as published in Commonweal 141/13 (15 August 2014), 36-38.


2014: response to judith gruber –– as published in Studies in Interreligious Dialogue 24/1 (2014), 57-58.


2014: did mary die? –– A talk given at various places in 2014 and 2015. A version derived from this was published in Nova et Vetera 13/2 (2015), 379-398.


2014: on pruss’s one body –– A version close to this appeared in Roczniki Filozoficzne 83/3 (2015), 87-105.


2013: threnody or spoliation –– a version derived from this was published in James Heft & Una Cadegan, ed., In the Logos of Love (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015), 49-66.


2013: beatitude –– a version similar to this was published in Michael Root & James Buckley, ed., Heaven, Hell, … And Purgatory? (Eugene, Oregon: Cascade Books, 2015), 65-79.


2013: kierkegaard on apostolic authority –– A version derived from this appeared in Paul Martens & C. Stephen Evans, ed., Kierkegaard and Christian Faith (Waco, Texas: Baylor University Press, 2016), 55-71.


2013: review of dehart/aquinas & radical orthodoxy –– a version close to this was published in Religion & Theology 204 (2013), 563-566.


2013: natural right to property & the impossibility of owning the intangible –– a proof copy of the version published in the University of St. Thomas Law Review 10/3 (2014), 590-602.


2013: review of pettigrove/forgiveness & love –– as published in Philosophy 88 (2013), 635-639.


2013: review of agamben/highest poverty –– a shorter version appeared in Commonweal (10 January 2014), 26-27.


2012: what are catholic theologians doing when they do comparative theology? –– published in Studies in Interreligious Dialogue 24/1 (2014), 40-45.


2012: secularity & the saeculum –– In James Wetzel (ed) Augustine’s City of God: A Critical Guide (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 33-54.


2012: review of nightingale/once out of nature –– approximately as published in Augustinian Studies 44 (2013), 136-141.


2012: review of lear/a case for irony –– substantially as in Commonweal (9 March 2012), 22-23.


2011: which are the words of scripture? –– the version published in Theological Studies 72 (2011), 703-722.


2011: review of rose/love’s work –– (on the occasion of its reprinting) –– a version close to this appeared in Commonweal (17 June 2011), 26-28.


2011: christian kitsch –– this is close to the version published in Divinity Magazine, a publication of Duke Divinity School, fall 2011, p. 36. Various reprints & translations.


2010: tears and weeping – an augustinian view –– the version published in Faith & Philosophy 28/1 (2011), 19-28, & reprinted in Sarah Coakley (ed), Faith, Rationality, and the Passions (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012), 81-90.


2010: bellah’s religion –– a version derived from this was published in R. R. Reno & Barbara McClay, ed., Religion and the Social Sciences (Eugene, Oregon: Cascade Books, 2015), 9-17.


2010: defending life –– an address given at Baylor University; a shorter version was published in Christian Reflection (2013), 19-25.


2009: the liturgical drowse –– a slightly different version of this was published in Commonweal on 27 February 2009, 15.


2009: from curiosity to studiousness –– a version derived from this was published in D. Smith & J. Smith, ed., Faith, Learning, and Christian Practices (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 2011), 102-122.


2009: cross as the fulcrum of politics –– a shorter version of this was published in Douglas Harink, ed., Paul, Philosophy, and the Theopolitical Vision (Eugene, Oregon: Cascade Books, 2010), 179-197.


2009: the quietus of political interest –– the version published in Common Knowledge 15/1 (2009), 7-22.


2009: gaudium et spes, luctus et angor –– a version derived from this was published in Nova et Vetera (English edition), 8/2 (2010), 269-281.


2009: how my mind has changed –– a version derived from this was published in Christian Century (3 November 2009), 26-31. Various reprints, including in Best Spiritual Writing 2011.


2008: the religious alien –– a version derived from this was published in Chad Meister, ed., The Oxford Handbook of Religious Diversity (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), 115-126.


2008: desire deranged –– an inaugural lecture delivered at Duke Divinity School in 2008; a text derived from this was published in First Things in December 2009 as ‘The Nature of Desire.’


2007: is there a doctrine of the descent into hell? –– a shorter version of this was delivered at the annual meeting of the Karl Barth Society of North America in San Diego in 2007; this is the version published in Pro Ecclesia 17/3 (2008), 257-268.


2007: self-annihilation or damnation? a disputable question in christian eschatology –– a version derived from this was published in Pro Ecclesia 16 (2007), 416-444.


2007: disowning knowledge –– the text of a lecture given at the University of Durham (UK), subsequently published in various forms and various places.


2006: on the future of the study of religion in the academy –– as published in Journal of the American Academy of Religion 47/1 (2006), 66-74.


2006: on the mistake of thinking reason’s products transparent to its gaze –– a version derived from this was published in Pro Ecclesia 15/4 (2006), 472-482. Various reprints.


2005: purgatory –– Approximately as published in Jerry Walls, ed., The Oxford Handbook of Eschatology (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 427-445.


2004: culture’s catechumens –– something close to this was published in Robert P. Imbelli, ed., Handing on the Faith (New York: Herder & Herder, 20060, 44-59. An abbreviated version appeared in Boston College Magazine (fall 2004), 50-54.


2004: nontheistic conceptions of the divine –– approximately as published in William Wainwright, ed., Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Religion (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), 59-79.


2004: orwell for catholics –– a version derived from this was published in First Things 148 (2004), 32-40.


2003: legalize same-sex marriage –– published in Commonweal (23 October 2003), 10-14. Various reprints.


2003: christians and the church –– approximately as published in Gilbert Meilaender & Bill Werpehowski, ed., The Oxford Handbook of Theological Ethics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), 398-412.


2003: religious allegiance and political sovereignty –– a version close to this was published in The Sacred & the Sovereign, ed. John D. Carlson & Eric C. Owens (Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2003), 247-255.


2001: on dominus iesus –– delivered at the Catholic Theological Society of America in 2001; a similar version later published in Concilium 39 (2003), 22-24.


2001: reading as a spiritual discipline –– as published in Stephanie L. Paulsell & L. Gregory Jones, ed., The Scope of Our Art: The Vocation of the Theological Teacher (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 2002), 32-47.


2000: nirvana as the last thing? the iconic end of the narrative imagination –– a version derived from this was published in Modern Theology 16/1 (2000), 19-38. Various reprints.


1999: lotus sutra as good news –– as published in Buddhist-Christian Studies 19 (1999), 3-17.


1999: how epistemology matters to theology –– as published in Journal of Religion 79 (1999), 1-18.


1994: what else remains in sunyata? –– with Hugh B. Urban, as published in Journal for the International Association of Buddhist Studies 17 (1994), 1-25.


1994: coda –– as published in Faith & Philosophy 11 (1994), 286-289. <to be read together with 1993: ‘stump, kretzmann, & historical blindness’>


1993: modalizing the theology of religions –– as published in Journal of Religion 73 (1993), 382-389.


1993: stump, kretzmann, & historical blindness –– as published in Faith and Philosophy 10 (1993), 79-85. <to be read together with 1994: ‘coda’>


1992: limits of narrative theology –– a descendant of this was published in Keith E. Yandell, ed., Faith and Narrative (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), 217-236.


1989: omniscience in the mahayanasutralamkara –– as published in Into-Iranian Journal 33 (1990), 85-120.


1989: buddha and god –– as published in Journal of Religion 69 (1989), 502-529. Various reprints.


1989: why buddhas can’t remember their previous lives –– as published in Philosophy East & West 39 (1989), 449-451.


1988: an apology for apologetics –– as published in Faith & Philosophy 5 (1988), 399-420.


1984: wainwright on mysticism –– with Delmas Lewis; as published in Religious Studies 20 (1984), 293-304.


1982: notes towards a critique of buddhist karmic theory –– as published in Religious Studies 18 (1982), 253-267.


1981: concentration or insight –– as published in Journal of the American Academy of Religion 49 (1981), 605-624.


1981: buddhist hybrid english: some notes on philology & hermeneutics for buddhologists –– as published in Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 4 (1981), 17-32.

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