NY TIMES Obituary for
Ralph McInerny, a scholar of Roman Catholicism who taught at the University of Notre Dame for more than half a century and a prolific novelist whose books included the Father Dowling mystery series, died Jan. 29 in Mishawaka, Ind., near South Bend. He was 80.
The cause was complications of esophageal cancer, said his son Daniel.
Mr. McInerny, who taught philosophy and medieval studies at Notre Dame, was an expert on Thomas Aquinas, the 13th-century Catholic theologian and philosopher; much of his published scholarship included biographical and exegetical texts on Aquinas, and he edited a volume of Aquinas translations for Penguin Classics. He also wrote on the sixth-century philosopher Boethius, the 12th-century Spanish Arabic scholar Averroes and later thinkers and theologians, including Cardinal Newman, Kierkegaard, Pascal and Descartes.
He was far better known, however, as a novelist, and especially as the creator of Roger Dowling, a former canon lawyer whose career was derailed by drink and who has become, in his rehabilitation, a parish priest in a Midwestern town called Fox River, where he runs across an inordinate number of murders and shows an unusual gift for solving them.
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Powells Books Reviews
Alain Badiou’s Pocket Pantheon: Figures of Postwar Philosophy
Alain Badiou, often billed as France’s leading radical thinker, here collects a group of tributes he has written to philosophers who are no longer with us. Most of these names — all French-speaking, all but one male — will be familiar to American readers: Lacan, Sarte, Foucault, Derrida. But others will be less familiar: Georges Canguilhem, Francoise Proust. In the “Overture,” Badiou refers to the subjects of these eulogies as “friends, enemies and partners,” categories which are not impermeable. Even those he thought of as friends or teachers are subject to criticism from his Maoist, revisionist-Marxist position.
Badiou tells us that these pieces are his way of calling these thinkers as “witnesses for the prosecution” in his dispute with those who would prostitute philosophy — that is, those who propose the maxim, “Cling to your illusions, prepare to surrender.” Badiou and his absent allies for their part insist that we “cast away illusions, prepare for struggle.” Badiou’s readings of this pantheon are illuminated by this particular slant of light. The first essay, a very short piece on Jacques Lacan, is a fairly standard eulogy which becomes an attack on Lacan’s critics: “All those psychoanalytic dwarves, all those gossip columnists amplifying the mean cry of ‘He was standing in my way, and now he’s dead at last. Now pay some attention to ME!” This confrontational tone, modulated to suit but never totally absent, permeates all the pieces here. At one point he asks his audience to allow him to be “absolutely anecdotal and completely superficial,” but there is no noticeable drop in intensity anywhere.
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Pocket Pantheon: Figures of Postwar Philosophy.
Paperback: Verso, 2009.
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Bob Cornwall reviews
REBOOT: Refreshing Your Faith in a High-Tech World
By Peggy Kendall
We live in a world that is increasingly impacted by technology. The speed at which life is lived seemingly increases exponentially every day. As Peggy Kendall, author of Reboot puts it: “As we become hyperconnected, overstimulated, multitasked, hyperinformed, hectically scheduled, and manically entertained, we wonder why feel so tired at night” (p. 3). I do believe most of us can identify with that statement. Even as life in general becomes more complex and fast paced, those of us who have walked through life for a few decades wonder about the decreasing attention span of young people. Many of us who preach for a living wonder whether we are an endangered species – ready to be replaced by multimedia shows. And yet, even I, a middle-aged man, who didn’t purchase a computer until beginning a Ph.D. program in my late 20s (and that computer was rather primitive by today’s standards), find it difficult to live for even a few hours without checking email or Facebook. Yes, we have become dependent on technology that only a few decades back was the stuff of dreams. The innocence of Beaver Cleaver or Opie Taylor is a thing of the past – at least for most of us.
As people of faith, at that is the intended audience for this book, the question is – how do we live with this technology without it controlling our lives? Peggy Kendall, a self-described middle-aged communication professor at a Christian college, writes in the hope that this book will help Christians look at “how our unexamined choices regarding technology may unintentionally be altering our fundamental operating system” (p. 7). The areas that may be affected include our values, our relationships, and the way we view “our Creator.” The author writes as one who embraces technology, including the ways in which it makes life more productive and efficient, but she recognizes that there is a dark side present that needs to be addressed.
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REBOOT: Refreshing Your Faith in a High-Tech World.
Paperback: Judson Press, 2010.
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