Rousseau’s Ecology

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) was one of the major philosophes of the French Enlightenment along with Voltaire, Montesquieu, and Diderot. He was also one of the great Romantic writers like Wordsworth and Coleridge in England and Lamartine and Hugo in France. In the last year of his life he wrote a masterpiece, The Reveries of a […]

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Law and Disorder: The Calas Affair

In 1761, a controversial trial in Toulouse, France, provoked an uproar through the country. A Protestant, Jean Calas, was accused of murdering his own son, Marc-Antoine, because the latter was planning to convert to Catholicism. In an overwrought atmosphere of religious zealotry, Calas was quickly tried, found guilty, and executed. Following the lead of a […]

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Another Form of Meditation

When comparing Christian liturgy to Buddhist forms of prayer, it can be argued that Christian prayer offers a number of similarities with Eastern meditation practices that we usually do not recognize or appreciate. Peter Conroy is Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois-Chicago where he taught French language and literature for 34 years and served […]

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Joan Of Arc: Is She A Saint?

Joan of Arc is one of the most important figures in all of French history. She defeated the British in the Hundred Years’ War. She was admired for centuries as an inspirational heroine. She was canonized as a saint by the Catholic Church in 1920. But in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries Joan […]

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Yes, You Do Speak Latin!

We all believe that Latin is a dead language; that no one speaks it anymore, and that no one even teaches it anymore. This is wrong. As I hope to show, we all speak Latin even as we talk English. I am not referring to etymologies here, I am referring to real, whole Latin words […]

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The Saint Bartholomew Day’s Massacre

While not at all known by most Americans, in France Saint Bartholomew’s Day is notorious as the date of a horrendous massacre of Protestants by Catholics, a bloody act of religious intolerance and hatred that stood out even in an age of outrageous interdenominational warfare. This morning I would like to evoke for you the […]

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Who Wrote The Gospels?

All of us think that we have a fairly good knowledge of the Gospels and of what is contained in them. Yet we have probably never asked ourselves basic questions like who actually wrote the good news and what information was or was not included there. These are fundamental questions and the answers to them […]

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