The investigations concerning Russian interference in last year’s American election have made national and international headlines. At issue, the world knows, is the existence, nature and extent of this alleged interference. Then there is the possible collusion in it of people close to Mr Trump and his bid for the Oval Office.
One of the most controversial books in recent literary history, Salman Rushdie’s “The Satanic Verses,” was published three decades ago and almost immediately set off angry demonstrations all over the world, some of them violent.
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As a boy in late-1940s Memphis, my dad got a nickel every Friday evening to come by the home of a Russian Jewish immigrant named Harry Levenson and turn on his lights, since the Torah forbids lighting a fire in your home on the Sabbath. My father would wonder, however, if he were somehow sinning. The fourth commandment says that on the Sabbath ‘you shall not do any work – you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns’. Was my dad Levenson’s slave? If so, how come he could turn on Levenson’s lights? Were they both going to hell?
The fountains mingle with the river And the rivers with the ocean, The winds of heaven mix for ever With a sweet emotion; Nothing in the world is single; All things by a law divine In one spirit meet and mingle. Why not I with thine?—
Max Weber’s famous text The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1905) is surely one of the most misunderstood of all the canonical works regularly taught, mangled and revered in universities across the globe.
In the beginning, humans were androgynous. So says Aristophanes in his fantastical account of the origins of love in Plato’s Symposium.
This summer, during the FIFA World Cup, I went with some friends to watch a soccer game at the house in Turin of the Italian philosopher and former member of the EU parliament Gianni Vattimo. As soon as our team began to lose, Vattimo said: ‘Oh, by the way, I forgot to tell you, the pope called me yesterday.’