Magazine October 29, 2018, Issue

A School for Eternity

C.S. Lewis (Flickr)
The Year of Our Lord 1943: Christian Humanism in an Age of Crisis, by Alan Jacobs (Oxford, 280 pp., $29.95)

A couple of years ago, W. H. Auden scholar and Baylor humanities professor Alan Jacobs published an essay asking what had become of all the Christian public intellectuals (“The Watchmen,” Harper’s, September 2016). Whereas once America’s public sphere seemed to comprehend a wide variety of voices, prominent Christian ones among them, in our age Christian intellectuals have retreated into the comfortable isolation of magazines and journals whose readership consists exclusively of the already converted.

Provocative though it was, Jacobs’s account struck me as in several ways distorting both our present “naked public square,” to use Richard John Neuhaus’s old phrase, and

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