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What Makes Tradition Great?

By Harold Fickett Essay

Thomas Merton said that the “oldest thing is the newest thing,” by which he meant that anything alive—including the arts—finds its source in the eternal.  The critic George Steiner has made this argument with eloquence and depth in his recent Real Presences: he specifies the “greatness” of the Great Tradition as God’s immanence. We believe…

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Convergences

By Gregory Wolfe Essay

WHEN Harold and I brought out the first pilot issue of Image exactly four years ago, we knew that we had undertaken a quixotic task. The “culture wars” were then at their height. The relationship between art and religion was front page news—but only because Senator Jesse Helms and the Rev. Donald Wildmon were trading…

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A Personal World

By Harold Fickett Essay

WHEN I think about the collective enterprises into which I invest my time Image continues to be the most gratifying. It lies closest to my heart. It’s personal. Likewise, the contacts Greg and I have with our writers, profiled artists, and financial benefactors bring freshets of grace into the day-to-day. The generosity of these people,…

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Screening Mystery

By Ron Austin Essay

FOR nearly a generation in Hollywood, a gulf has existed between the secular and religious perspectives. It is a rift that appeared in the sixties for many reasons, not least as an expression of a cultural rebellion which was arguably both liberating and destructive. But one result was the lamentable loss on screen of an…

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Yankee Immigrants Convert

By Doris Betts Essay

IN its December 1977 issue, when Jimmy Carter’s presidency made national media rediscover the South, Esquire magazine published Walker Percy’s non-interview with himself, entitled “Questions They Never Asked Me So He Asked Them Himself.” Chiefly, he grumbled about pesky interviewers who kept asking him over and over again what he thought of the South, of…

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Patron Saints

By Gregory Wolfe Essay

I ONCE heard a story about the late Walker Percy that seems to illustrate the plight of so many struggling artists down through the ages. Percy graduated from medical school in the 1940s but soon came down with tuberculosis and had to spend a couple years in a sanatorium. During that time he underwent a profound…

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In Defense of Irony

By Gregory Wolfe Essay

IRONY, it seems, is the hot topic of the moment. The trigger for this spate of op-eds and Sunday arts-section essays is the recent publication of a book by a graduate student at Yale University. Nearly all of the reviewers and commentators treated this young man’s book the way my kids treat a box of…

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Transfiguration

By Gregory Wolfe Essay

OF all the passages in the Bible that relate to beauty as a window onto the divine, the most neglected, and most important, is the story known as the Transfiguration. On the surface, nothing about this episode speaks directly about art, beauty, or the imagination. But placed in the right context, one can see in…

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Fugitive Energies

By Gregory Wolfe Essay

IN his essay, “How the West Lost Its Story,” theologian Robert W. Jenson argues that we postmoderns no longer inhabit what he calls a “narratable world.” The heart of Western civilization, he notes, has been the biblical story, which posited a coherent, dramatic narrative—a world that had a beginning, middle, and at least a vision…

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Falling Towers

By Gregory Wolfe Essay

IN the final section of The Waste Land (“What the Thunder Said”), T.S. Eliot strives to integrate two dimensions of the poem that have been running on parallel tracks: the snapshots of inner, psychic alienation (“On Margate Sands. / I can connect / Nothing with nothing”) and the critique of a decadent social order (the…

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