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Christian Humanist Profiles, Episode 18: Centering Marginalized Voices

Victoria Farmer

Christian Feminist Podcast

As children attending Sunday School, it is easy to become enthralled with stories of important, holy people, people who, though they had otherwise ordinary jobs and problems, God seemingly hand-picked to further His kingdom through their daily lives and families. While it is certainly good to notice how often God uses ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary ends, it is also important to notice the facets of the everyday less often represented in Biblical texts. In her book Prostitutes, Virgins, and Mothers: Questioning Teaching about Biblical Women, Dr. Paula Trimble Familetti does just that, giving voice to Jesus’ female family members and disciples in a unique way. We’re delighted she’s here on Christian Humanist Profiles today.

Book Review: “The Third Covenant: The Transmission of Consciousness in the work of Pierre Teilhard De Chardin, Thomas Berry, and Albert J. LaChance”

Dan Dawson

The Third Covenant: The Transmission of Consciousness in the work of Pierre Teilhard De Chardin, Thomas Berry, and Albert J. LaCThird_Covenent_coverhance

By Albert J. LaChance and Rebecca LaChance Goodwin

192 pp. North Atlantic Books. $14.95.

I found this book very difficult to review mainly because it doesn’t lend itself to easy digestion. The book, written by a father-daughter team (LaChance a psychologist and Goodwin a theologian, respectively) is a summary of sorts of the theological and philosophical system that has been the life’s work of LaChance, and makes frequent references to his previous work. As someone who was born and raised on a steady diet of Western Enlightenment-steeped philosophy, theology, and science, I found the glimpse into the Eastern ways of thinking in these areas that this book provides interesting, occasionally insightful, but ultimately frustrating and unsatisfying.

The main body of the book is divided into three parts, the first two written by LaChance, and the third written by Goodwin. LaChance also provides a brief background chapter to open the book, while Goodwin provides an introduction to the themes of the book. Finally, both LaChance and Goodwin provide afterwords.

In the opening material we see immediately where the book is going. For LaChance and Goodwin are not merely describing a theological system for understanding Christianity and its relationships to other traditions. Rather, they are taking the bold and explicit step of arguing for the advent of an entirely new religion. LaChance is, helpfully, very clear in the beginning of Part I about the origins of the name for this new religion: namely he claims to have had a vision of the crucified Christ who informed him in no uncertain terms that the theological system of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was a new revelation from God Himself, and that he should explicitly call it the “Third Covenant”.

The first two parts of the book LaChance turns to fleshing out this vision by ruminating on the works of two individuals: Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and Thomas Berry, and here lies one frustration I have with the book. For, if Teilhard de Chardin (a 20th Century French Jesuit Priest who sought to extrapolate biological evolution to an overriding cosmic and divine principle) is such an important figure in this new revelation (LaChance calls him a “shoot of Yeshua” in the same way Christ was a shoot of Jesse), one would think that he would be described in more than just fleeting terms. Much of the section of the book ostensibly devoted to him barely touches on the man himself, referring the reader to other works for this purpose. Instead, one gets the vaguest of sketches of Teilhard de Chardin’s theology that is so interspersed with LaChance’s own interpretations and distracting asides that it is nigh impossible for the reader to tell where one ends and the other begins.

A similar criticism applies to the section on Thomas Berry. However, this section fared somewhat better in this regard, particularly a chapter outlining Berry’s 12-point theological treatise on the relationship of humanity to the rest of the universe. Nevertheless, I still finished these chapters barely knowing anything more about the man other than that he was a mentor to LaChance, and I had similar difficulties understanding where Berry’s theology and philosophy ended, and LaChance’s began. In brief, LaChance spends most of this part of the book describing various encounters with Berry and how Berry’s theology informed Lachance’s own musings, but does so in such a scattershot way as to be dizzying.

As for the content of the Third Covenant itself, the orthodox Christian, for one, will find it hard to stomach the idea that we should do away with the concept of monotheism, and instead embrace “monosacrality”, which is the idea that everything is sacred or divine and ultimately one. How this and other similar concepts that the book presents differ from traditional pantheism never even enters the book’s radar screen, which strikes me as an odd omission. Of course, taken on the book’s own terms, the fact that a Christian (or a Muslim, Jew, or atheist for that matter) would find it hard to embrace this shift wouldn’t be such a problem if LaChance and Goodwin didn’t also repeatedly claim throughout that the previous covenants (the so-called “Second Covenant” constituting Christianity and Islam) could “remain alive, differentiated, and active within the Third Covenant”.  But, on the other hand, they spend a great deal of time extolling the virtues and superiority of their new syncretistic universal religion that has no need for the trappings of the former. In other words, it seems they want to have their cake and eat it too, or rather, to offer this non-choice to current members of the previous covenants. But, for example, the difficult but crucial question of how an orthodox Christian who is committed to Christ as the unique Son of God can simultaneously affirm the Third Covenant’s claim that Jesus was merely one of a long line of “avatars” of the “monosacred” (that includes Buddha, Krishna, and Mohammed), is never truly engaged. But, explaining how this might be strikes me as absolutely critical to their project, and frankly, their presentation as it stands currently suffers from the same problems that plague many other syncretistic meta-religious projects throughout history.

It doesn’t help that along the way, LaChance takes several gratuitous swipes at traditional Christianity, bizarrely insists without any justification that the religious expressions of indigenous peoples constitute a purer expression of the “monosacred Voice of the planet”, and tacks on a demonization of alcohol for good measure (along with another bizarre claim that if only the minds of these peoples were free from alcohol, they would save the planet). To be fair, given LaChance’s own admission of alcohol abuse, such an aversion is at least understandable, but it’s the totalizing of this aversion that concerns me. Additionally, he introduces so many idiosyncratic concepts, words, and phrases (such as “ChristLogos”, the “Avatar Voice”, “one-ly”, and others) without clear differentiation and definition as to often make it very difficult to follow the thread of the discussion.

This isn’t to say that I found nothing of value in the book. For one thing, I very much resonate with its underlying angst in regards to the indifference much of the modern West has towards the ecological health of the planet. But LaChance and Goodwin would do well to acknowledge that many traditional Christians care about these things as well, and one doesn’t need to regard the Creation as fundamentally divine to understand that we should take care of it as a precious gift of God. Along these same lines, I think I would also agree with the unspoken indictment of Western Christian theology in regards to viewing humanity as being radically distinct from the rest of Creation. We are in fact deeply and inextricably entwined with the health of the ecosystems and planet as a whole. I would even go so far as to say that the more mystical threads of Christian thought through the ages should be given a longer and more respectful look by those of us who tend to emphasize, consciously or not, a more dualistic Enlightenment-based perspective on human knowledge and experience. We may well find that there indeed is some sort of deeper connection of our souls to the rest of Creation that is similar to what LaChance and Goodwin are describing. As an aside, I find the mystical experiences described by C. S. Lewis in “Surprised by Joy” to be an excellent starting point for thinking about these ideas (and I myself have had similar experiences).

Finally, I found Goodwin’s sections in Part 3 (those describing the work of her father LaChance) to be a far clearer exposition of the concepts LaChance himself introduced previously. I only wish they had come sooner. For example, she discusses an interesting attempt to expand upon Jungian Psychology (of which I know nothing about, so cannot comment upon its efficacy or standing in modern Psychology) in line with the concept that human consciousness supervenes on a deeper level of consciousness ascribed to the whole planet, and ultimately the entire cosmos. While I’m highly skeptical of such exercises, at least there is a systematic attempt here to flesh this out. That being said, Goodwin (or LaChance) provides mostly speculation throughout most of this part. For example she wonders whether human psychological disorders are somehow inextricably linked to ecological ills of the planet, but provides little or no supporting evidence. As a scientist, the first thing that comes to mind here is “correlation does not imply causation”, which is one of the first principles a scientist is taught to embrace. Goodwin mostly throws this principle to the wind. At one point in regards to this presumed connection, she muses (emphasis original), “The degradation of life anywhere affects life everywhere. How do we know? Because we can feel it.”

There’s much more I could say, but the above constitutes my main impressions of the book. In summary, while at times I found “The Third Covenant” provided some interesting insights and musings on our place within Creation and our relationship with and apprehension of God, these positive factors were mostly outweighed by the utter inability of the book to live up to its own stated and overly-ambitious objective of ushering in a new religious dawn, which at the end of the day turns out to be another iteration of long-standing pantheism. This inability manifests in 1) the short shrift the authors give to the impressive weight of traditional Judeo-Christian understandings of God and Creation, 2) vague and idiosyncratic descriptions of their proposed religious system that would supposedly transcend all the former ones, and 3) a failure to explain how the former systems would operate intact within the new, especially with so many glaring (at least apparent) conflicts which are barely acknowledged, let alone seriously discussed.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.

Wittgenstein Wednesdays, Section 4: Philosophical Investigations Sections 87-139

Nathan P. Gilmour

Want to read along with us? Get Philosophical Investigations from amazon.com.

Once again I’ve waited until the day that Emmanuel College’s Wittgenstein group meets to write the latest blog post. It’s November.  Give me a break.  As with previous posts, numbers refer to section numbers, not page numbers.

Who Needs What?

No sentence needs an explanation; instead, we need explanations if we misunderstand the sentence (87).  Thus begins the exploration of whether quests for “exact” with our language, to find the “essence” of language.  Ultimately Wittgenstein keeps referring and deferring the inquiry to the particular moment. Focusing there, he insists, both limits the possibilities for valid inquiry and opens up ways in which the inquiry can go, but as with previous sections, there’s little room either for total abandonment of “rules” or for “rules” that govern the totality of language.  Instead language remains an open system, always susceptible to novelty (thus “open”) while following the rules that usage lay down (thus “system”).  Or, to put it another way, the fact that sentences make sense means that “there must be perfect order” in any language that we experience as language (98).

The quest for an ideal distorts the ways that we see and think about language.  An ideal is not for the sake of ruling things in and out but for the sake of thinking about our thinking.  To see the “actual application” (100) of the term “game,” description is ultimately a more important task than definition, whose main concerns are ruling-in and ruling-out.  Undue concern with our ideal definitions fools us into dissatisfaction with language as it actually occurs (105), and the more we examine language as it actually occurs, the more distance opens up between abstract rule-sets and real languages (107).  In a side box after section 108, Wittgenstein proposes, for the sake of illustration, that asking “What is a word, really?” is something like asking “What is a piece in chess?”  The wrong sorts of abstract questions lead to entirely unhelpful questions, as if the sort of wood or plastic or stone were the “essential” property of a rook.

This is What Philosophy Does

Does a subject-verb statement, properly analyzed, always yield some variation of “This is the case”?  Such might seem an esoteric question at first glance, but just underneath is the question of what philosophy actually does.  If in fact the nature of language doesn’t reduce easily to one form of statement (as Wittgenstein himself posited earlier in his career, quoting his own folly in section 114 of Philosophical Investigations), what does philosophy actually do in the face of language?  The answer, to put things briefly: philosophy describes things.

Wittgenstein writes about a process of discovery (119) at the heart of philosophy, not a smoothing-out of bumps but an attention precisely to the places where assumed rules don’t hold and an ad-hoc concern with those bumpy places.   Thus when philosophy asks what philosophy is, that’s not “second order” but precisely the primary thing that philosophy does (121).  So the practice, as Wittgenstein sets it forth, is concerned precisely with the ways in which “philosophy” as a concept is part of “philosophy” as a practice, and if that defies the rules we think we bring, so much the better.

Thus, for what my reading is worth, the central claim of this section: “Philosophy must not interfere in any way with the actual use of language, so it can in the end only describe it” (124).  I have to assume that Wittgenstein is aware, as he writes that sentence, of Karl Marx’s famous call for philosophy not to interpret the world but to change it.  Either way, Wittgenstein has mapped out a very particular role for philosophy, such that he can speculate that “If someone were to advance theses in philosophy, it would never be possible to debate them, because everyone would agree to them” (128).  Just before that (why retain the original order of things?), he claims, along similar lines, that “The work of the philosopher consists in marshalling recollections for a particular purpose” (127).

Wittgenstein’s project is not to make language more “scientific,” then, but to observe language as language happens, to describe things so that those of us who are disposed towards abstractions (of the positive or the negative sort) and remind us actually to look at what’s happening.  It’s at once a humble and a revolutionary project: since observation and reporting observation are always so closely related, such a task means seeing what, in other circumstances and for other reasons, we’ve rendered ourselves incapable of seeing.  And because language is always on the move, it’s an ongoing project, not something to be completed and then relayed to the public but always on the way.

In the last few pages the group read for last time, Wittgenstein writes in a side note that “There is not a single philosophical method, though there are indeed methods, different therapies, as it were” (133d).  That’s what the book has been doing up to this point, and that’s what it continues to do as we keep reading together.  For a philosophy of language to be whole, parts must neither remain “cut off” by artificial designations nor be indistinguishable because we’ve given up on “rules.”  Instead the project unfolds as we go, and the philosopher acts as a therapist (how right Boethius was, no?), helping us to see what before we refused to see and to stop pretending that we see what we’d only prefer to see.

The Christian Humanist Podcast, Episode #149: Dead Poets Society

Michial Farmer

Dead_poets_societyNathan Gilmour converses with Michial Farmer and David Grubbs about Dead Poets Society, the second of our Robin Williams trilogy. The trio takes on the strange, truncated readings of poetry in the film, as well as the conceptions of conformity and friendship that arise.

Christian Humanist Profiles 17: Building a Better Teacher

Nathan P. Gilmour

CHProfiles17Democracy, as a way of life, requires that the citizens of the democracy share an education in common, a set of stories and aptitudes and even experiences from which we can draw so that there’s an “us” there to govern. Thus the education of the citizenry is always a live question, and to pursue that question, Christian Humanist Profiles is pleased and proud to partner with Craft Lit, a podcast about crafting and literature, to present this interview with Elizabeth Green, whose new book, “Building a Better Teacher,” explores some of the often-neglected angles of public-education policy, namely what we teach teachers when we teach them to teach. Many thanks to Heather Ordover, the host of Craft Lit, as well as to Kristen Fillipic, our publicity liason, who set this up.

Building a Better Teacher by Elizabeth Green

Do you want this man to win???

Nathan P. Gilmour

Comply with Daylight Saving Time!

Book of Nature, Episode 2: Science vs. Scientism

Todd Pedlar

Galileo_facing_the_Roman_InquisitionEpisode 2: Science vs. Scientism

In the second episode, Todd Pedlar hosts a discussion of an important distinction for scientists of any kind, let alone Christians who are active in the disciplines of science.  That is, the distinction between science and scientism. Several major figures in science who have popular appeal promote a kind of “science worship” that many who practice science, both Christian and non-Christian alike, find objectionable. Today we explore some of this territory. A few of the major landmarks for Episode 2 are:

  • Silly banter about weather and Canadian Thanksgiving
  • Dan sets the stage, defining our subject: Science and Scientism
  • Charles lays out the critical distinction between methodological and metaphysical naturalism
  • The trio pontificates on The Scientific…er…Method
  • Charles ponders the peculiar power of presuppositions: how one’s prior commitments impact the way one practices scientific inquiry, and potentially even the results of one’s studies
  • How Far is Too Far in Science? The threats that scientism represents for Christians in the sciences and for the general population
  • Concluding Thoughts

The Christian Humanist Podcast, Episode #148: The Fisher King

Michial Farmer

the-fisher-king1Mea Culpa: In this episode, I (Michial) say that Amanda Plummer is British. In fact, she is the daughter of Christopher Plummer and is therefore American/Canadian. I still hate her accent in this movie.

* * *

Michial Farmer leads David Grubbs and Nathan Gilmour into the semester’s trilogy of episodes on Robin Williams movies with a conversation about The Fisher King. As the trio digs into a story that’s as much a media ecology as a medieval appropriation, Dante resurfaces (again) as the trio explores the salvation of Jack Lucas.

Christian Humanist Profiles 16: Fairy-Tale Levity

David Grubbs

Victorian preacher and author George MacDonald has, especially among Christian readers, a serious MacDonaldreputation. Both for his seriously meditative fantasy novels, beloved of C.S. Lewis and others, and his seriously moralizing realistic novels, beloved of Oswald Chambers and others, MacDonald has earned a reputation as a high-minded and imaginative Christian thinker. However, Daniel Gabelman argues that all this focus on the serious misses the point, that there is a lightness at the heart of MacDonald’s work that is best seen not in his novels, but in his fairy tales. Today on Christian Humanist Profiles, we’ll be talking with Daniel Gabelman about his book, George MacDonald: Divine Carelessness and Fairytale Levity.

My Colleague J.R.R. Tolkien: A Review of Tolkien’s Beowulf Translation

Nathan P. Gilmour

Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary

by J.R.R. Tolkien, edited by Christopher Tolkien

425 pp. Houghton MIfflin Harcourt. $28.00

There’s a special kind of joy that fills the air when a group of people, who share a certain sort of niche interest, get exciting news about their common niche.  Such are the moments that make me glad that Twitter is around, and they’re the infrequent moments when I might know something big before my students do.

Back in the spring of 2014, just such a moment occurred on a weekend, during a semester when I was teaching Beowulf in the original.  (Yes, I did just dream-class drop there.)  First Twitter lit up, then I checked Houghton Mifflin’s website to make sure it was true.  And sure enough, Christopher Tolkien, who has been releasing nuggets of his father’s work every once in a while to the dragon-loving public, was scheduled to publish his father’s translation of Beowulf.

Spring of 2014 was my first attempt to teach Beowulf in Old English, and Tolkien was already an undeniable presence in the room.  Although we never manufactured rubber bracelets for the occasion, we often wondered what Tolkien would to with particularly difficult passages, with apparent references to other myths, and with the poetic style of the poem in general.  Seamus Heaney was our text-at-hand, with which we contended and disputed, but Tolkien’s Beowulf was the legend against which we measured our own efforts.

Christopher Tolkien had, it seemed, rendered that exercise moot.  I’ve already talked to freshman English majors who know Tolkien’s translation as the standard Beowulf, and I before I read the volume for myself I feard that, even in a field already crowded by Roy Liuzza and Seamus Heaney and the unfortunate Doug Wilson (whose Beowulf hit the shelves mere months before the Tolkien announcement, ruining his chances of being a serious contender to Heaney) and all of their industrious modern-English predecessors, Tolkien’s stands to become the standard, largely on the strength of his renewed, Peter-Jackson-augmented reputation.  Fortunately, the nature of this volume abated that fear rather quickly.

Not the Translation I Feared

Tolkien never set out to publish a translation of the Beowulf, but he did write lecture notes.  The process of putting this volume together, according to the front matter, involved putting together three sets of lecture notes from his Old English Literature courses, putting together a prose translation of the poem based on the passages that he prepared for reading to classes and choosing between lecture-versions where that was appropriate.  The translated poem, then, is a critical text of sorts, stitched together from several notes and never, in its own terms, a unified literary work.  Thus unlike Liuzza’s and Heaney’s and Wilson’s, Tolkien’s translation is in prose, not in alliterative verse.  That alone made me feel better for the Beowulf-translators of the last thirty years: since there is no alliterative Tolkien, none of them will have to compete with an alliterative Tolkien.

Instead, the text that Christopher Tolkien published reads far less like a passage from Lord of the Rings than my own Old English students sometimes produce when translating medieval warrior-poems.  The premium instead is on producing clauses to match the original clauses, even if that means sentences that, in modern-English order, lack some of the driving cadence of the alliterative verse.

Some of Tolkien’s choices, in fact, struck me, as I read, as positively prosaic, a fault if he were writing a poem or a novel but perfectly sensible for a set of lecture notes.  Beowulf is surrounded by “knights” instead of “thanes” in Tolkien’s notes, no doubt an accommodation for students who would think of MacBeth and never go further if they saw the latter.  Likewise, showing some concern to connect the poem to surrounding mythologies, Grendel and his mother are often called “ogre” and “troll,” words that don’t necessarily alliterate well but situate the poem in a very particular historical moment.  Finally, and most noticeably for me, the signature Beowulf-word Wyrd always gets translated as “Fate” in Tolkien’s version, making some of the most famous lines in the poem sound far less like a Gandalf-saying than what I’ve heard my own students produce (always in some variation of Ian McKellan’s delivery) for my classes.

The big picture is this: Tolkien’s version is not meant to stand alone, as Heaney’s or Liuzza’s does so well, so much as it’s there as a sort of friendly guide for students trying to engage with the original Old English text.  For that purpose it’s really quite good, and I’ll likely use it as just such a help next time I teach the poem.

The Beowulf Conversation

The translation isn’t really where the gold is, though: Christopher Tolkien has also published extensive selections from the surrounding lecture notes, providing the sort of conversation-matter that makes translating big texts to interesting.  At every turn Tolkien is the consummate literary scholar: he’s aware of arguments running counter to his own, and he has arguments for why he’s not convinced.  Sometimes he even provides histories of his own mind-changes, but even when he doesn’t, Tolkien’s awareness of the places where language and culture and literature intersect are nothing short of gold, the sort of thing one might expect when one peruses a master professor’s notes.  Rather than deal in generalities or make this post a summary of more than 200 pages of commentary, I’ll offer a sample of three points that especially interested me, with the understanding that other folks will find other bits more central and others less so:

  1. Early in the commentary, Tolkien offers up an argument for why he renders the son of Scyld Scefing “Beow” when the extant text clearly has him named “Beowulf.”  (I wondered, as I read this section, whether the tradition of naming Sceafing’s son “Beow” in modern English translations has some fairly deep roots in Tolkien’s lectures at Oxford.)  After acknowledging that he stands against common translation practice in doing so, ultimately he holds that “Sceaf” and “Beow,” both harvest-terms, seem to fit better with the genealogy-of-providers that leads to Hrothgar, and besides that, there are sources in other medieval legends that make a Beow the son of Sceaf, making a scribal blunder, inserting “Beowulf” where “Beow” should have gone, more likely than an otherwise-unheard-of Beowulf of the Danes (143-44).  I used to leave the name “Beowulf” in my own translations; I’m fairly certain I’ll render it “Beow” in the future.
  2. On a lighter note, Tolkien notes the friendly tone of Beowulf’s greeting to Hrothgar, “wes thu Hrothgar hal” (pardon the lack of thorns in this post) when compared to modern conversational greetings.  I just have to quote directly: “They wished you good health on meeting you; we merely enquire after the symptoms: ‘how do you do?'” (222)  This, O reader, is the sort of joke that I make when teaching old texts.  Heck, I’m already looking forward to using it when I teach this passage in the spring of 2016!
  3. In a section that could have helped me as a grad student and which stands to help my own students, Tolkien offers some strong warnings about the term wyrd as characters and the narrator use them in the poem.  The presence of a word in a poem, Tolkien notes, does not mean that it occupies a central place in the poet’s “theology” (243).  He draws comparisons to modern fortune-sayings as well as noting the tautology (and wyrd-diminishing character) of the most famous wyrd-passages.  In short, where the beginning translator might see such a weird word (how long did you think I could resist that?) and make it the point of the passage, Tolkien reminds the same that one should discover, not impose, the central elements in any poem.

I’m not sure that I’m going to assign this as a textbook to accompany Klaeber’s Beowulf for my Old English students, but even if I don’t, I imagine I’ll be consulting it as we make our way through the poem.

Bonus Features

The end of the volume has a couple extras that Tolkien fans might appreciate.  In addition to his (rather professorly) translation of Beowulf, the volume contains an unpublished version of the Sellic Spell, a prose narrative roughly based on the Grendel and Grendel’s-Mother segments of Beowulf.  (Yes, I too thought that Sellic Spell sounds like the sort of magical help that Gandalf might offer to a young hero trying to grow an especially cool mustache.)  In his tale, which reads far more like the “Tolkien’s Beowulf” that I imagined than Tolkien’s Beowulf actually does, the young hero Bee-Wolf, along with his companions Hand-Shoe and Ash-Wood (what would a Tolkien tale be without traveling companions?) travels to the court of the King of the North to do battle against Grinder, a monster who has been troubling his court.  The prose though here is far more Tolkienish than the Beowulf is, and all in all it’s great fun.

The volume finishes with “The Lay of Beowulf,” a poem in rhymed verse, a nice finishing touch that reminds a reader that Tolkien was a poet and a storyteller as well as a scholar and reminds someone like me that Tolkien stands in the tradition of teaching medieval literature as a well-respected colleague, neither an inspired prophet nor merely “another medievalist” but someone whose choices, when I would make the same and when I wouldn’t, make up a scholarly personality, a friend whose work can stand in relationship with my own as any master teacher’s can with a younger teacher’s.  For all that, I’ll say (in words that don’t echo Tolkien’s Beowulf, it turns out), that was a good professor!

As a closing note, I wish to thank Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the review copy, which came with no guarantee of a positive review, and Kristen Fillipic, the Christian Humanist Radio Network’s press liason, for navigating HMH’s rather labyrinthine communications apparatus to make the request.