more than 95 theses


A journal, commonplace book, and Wunderkammer by Alan Jacobs.

My blog on technologies of reading, writing, and knowledge is called Text Patterns; I am an occasional contributor to the Technology channel of The Atlantic; I'm a Contributing Editor for The New Atlantis. Also, I tweet.

My biography of the Book of Common Prayer has now been published by Princeton University Press, and I’ve created an associated tumblelog.

My critical edition of W. H. Auden’s long poem For the Time Being: A Christmas Oratorio is now available.

My next book will be about Christian humanism in a time of total war.

I invite you to a meditative encounter with my online project The Gospel of the Trees.

Please consider supporting this tumblelog by buying some of my books. I will thank you, my family will thank you, and the internet — surely — will thank you.

”Reverting to Type: a Reader’s Story”

The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction

The Age of Anxiety, by W. H. Auden — a critical edition. A PDF of my Introduction to the poem is available online.

Wayfaring: Essays Pleasant and Unpleasant

Original Sin: a Cultural History

Looking Before and After: Testimony and the Christian Life

The Narnian: the Life and Imagination of C. S. Lewis

Shaming the Devil: Essays in Truthtelling

A Theology of Reading: the Hermeneutics of Love

A Visit to Vanity Fair: Moral Essays on the Present Age

What Became of Wystan: Change and Continuity in Auden’s Poetry

  • November 9, 2012 4:13 pm


    I loved Rowan Williams. Still do, in fact. I know that might seem over the top. But intellectually, it was true. He could do no wrong. And perhaps that was part of the problem. I was one of that generation of students at Oxford who were taught by him. Looking back, it is now clear that many of us massively overinvested in his charisma and intelligence. And when he later objected that there was an almost childlike dependence that many Anglicans had on the archbishop of Canterbury, he was absolutely correct. As Justin Welby will soon discover to his cost, being the subject of projection is no fun at all. First they build you up. Then they knock you down.

    Archbishops of Canterbury no longer have any real executive power. Even Rowan Williams’s modest idea of creating a pan-Anglican legal body to deal with doctrinal dispute in the communion came to nothing. The CofE may be both Protestant and Catholic; but it is Protestant enough not to do popes or anything like them. But like many religious organisations, it still thinks in terms of “Papa” – to spell it out: both the pope’s nickname and the child’s word for father. Which is why no guide to surviving the church is complete without a serious study of Freud. All too easily, the church can be emotionally and spiritually infantilising. For some, that almost seems the point.


    As the CofE’s top man Justin Welby, must cope with our infantile projections | Giles Fraser | Comment is free | The Guardian

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