The gay Lambeth way

9 July 2011 12:00 am

Archbishop Edward Benson was the ideal of a Victorian churchman.


When wailing is appropriate

7 May 2011 12:00 am

This is a strange exercise. It is a commonplace book of quotations from great authors, assembled by the philosopher A. C. Grayling. The extracts from the great books, how- ever, are provided without attribution.


Great among the nations

9 April 2011 12:00 am

The King James Bible, while uniting the English-speaking world, gave birth to centuries of radicalism and Dissent. On its 400th anniversary, Philip Hensher examines the translation’s legacy


Sins of the fathers

26 March 2011 12:00 am

The papacy is in good shape and looks set to last another 2,000 years, says Paul Johnson; but too few popes in the past have been pious or clement or innocent

So farewell, John Bull

26 February 2011 12:00 am

His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Fisher, keen to counter the dreadful spectre of the atomic bomb in the 1950s, observed that the very worst it could do would be to sweep a vast number of people at one moment from this world into the other, more vital world, into which anyhow they must all pass at one time.


The battle for the holy city

19 February 2011 12:00 am

In a tour de force of 500 pages of text Simon Sebag Montefiore, historian of Stalin and Potemkin, turns to a totally different subject: the city of Jerusalem.

Can it be described?

12 February 2011 12:00 am

Where was God in the Holocaust? This question confounds even learned rabbis, so let’s not linger there.

Sweeter than honey

25 September 2010 12:00 am

The only thing I can remember about a Tesco advertisement on the television the other night is the line: ‘No rest for the wicked.’ It was meant ironically, of course.


Amid the encircling gloom

4 September 2010 12:00 am

Africa is the setting for several of V. S. Naipaul’s finest fictional stories — In a Free State, A Bend in the River, Half a Life.

Physical and spiritual decay

7 July 2010 12:00 am

The most striking thing about Piers Paul Read’s early novels was their characters’ susceptibility to physical decay.


Mystery of the empty tomb

2 June 2010 12:00 am

John Henry Newman was an electrifying personality who has attracted numerous biographers and commentators.

Robbing Peter to pay Paul

2 June 2010 12:00 am

Two hundred years ago Jeremy Bentham wrote a tract which purported to demonstrate that the Christian religion was in effect manufactured by St Paul and not by Jesus.


Not every aspect pleases

2 June 2010 12:00 am

Half a century ago I read W. G. Hoskins’s book, The Making of the English Landscape, when it first came out. It was for me an eye-opener, as it was for many people.


Crying in the wilderness

12 May 2010 12:00 am

For 30 years Alastair Crooke was ostensibly a British diplomat working in Northern Ireland, South Africa, Columbia and Pakistan.


The woman behind the god

12 May 2010 12:00 am

The emperor Augustus was the original god/father.


No earthly good

21 April 2010 12:00 am

Peter Hitchens writes a stern column most weeks in the Mail on Sunday.


Unholy warriors

14 April 2010 12:00 am

Taming the Gods is an extended essay about the secular state, something which would until recently have been regarded as a non-issue by English-speaking readers.


The greatest puzzle of all

31 March 2010 12:00 am

Philip Pullman’s trilogy, His Dark Materials, is one the best works written in English in my lifetime.

Faith under fire

24 March 2010 12:00 am

Giles St Aubyn, in this long, scholarly book, sets out to chronicle the shifts in the Christian churches from the scientific revolution of the 17th century, and the Enlightenment of the 18th, to the apparent triumph of secularism in the 20th.


Addle-pated modernist

6 January 2010 12:00 am

In 1564 a book was published calculating that there were 7,409,127 demons at work in the world, under the administrative control of 79 demon-princes.

Parsons’ displeasure

14 December 2009 12:00 am

Despite its prosaic title, this is a humdinging page-turner of a book, revealing in livid detail the scandal of how the Church of England jettisoned onto the market what the author describes as ‘perhaps the most admirable, desirable and ascetic body of domestic buildings ever built’.

Playing the opportunist

30 September 2009 12:00 am

In historical writing the Restor- ation era has been the poor relation of the Puritan one before it.

Too much information

23 September 2009 12:00 am

The Lost Symbol, by Dan Brown

Liobams lying with rakunks

16 September 2009 12:00 am

Set in the future, The Year of the Flood tells the story of the build-up to and aftermath of a pandemic known as the Waterless Flood, which all but eradicates the human race.

Dangerous liaisons

24 June 2009 12:00 am

Surviving, by Allan Massie
The Death of a Pope, by Piers Paul Read
Coward at the Bridge, by James Delingpole