The Millennium:
Looking Back & Ahead

Special Section: The Millennial Series from First Things Journal

Gregory VII and the Politics of the Spirit
Robert Louis Wilken
The following is the first in a millennium series that will examine each century through the prism of a key figure. Robert Wilken considers the eleventh century and Pope Gregory VII.

The Mind of Maimonides
David Novak
Novak writes, "No one brought forth the teaching of Moses and his prophetic and rabbinic successors more comprehensively and systematically than did Maimonides. More has been said and written about him than any other Jewish thinker throughout history."

Thomas Aquinas: A Doctor for the Ages
Romanus Cessario
Part of First Things' compendium of influencers in the Second Millennium, Cessario reviews the life of the 13th Century friar whose genius still seems fresh--and true. "[Aquinas] has something to offer everyone who is serious about...the truth."

Dante: A Party of One
Robert Hollander
A detailed reckoning of the great fourteenth-century poet Dante's life and work--and their implications.

Columbus and the Beginning of the World
Robert Royal
Royal presents Christopher Columbus, including his Christian motivations and his times, how he has been used as a symbol for divergent views, etc. He seeks to bring reality and historical accuracy to the discussion of this highly-charged figure.

Calvin and the Christian Calling
Alister McGrath
Oxford professor and Christian apologist Alister McGrath concludes, "The legacy of John Calvin invites us [Christians] to engage our world, and instructs us in how to do so with integrity"--something fundamentalism frequently fails to do.

Pascal: The First Modern Christian
Edward T. Oakes
An in-depth look into the soul of the great philosopher Blaise Pascal.

Rousseau & the Revolt Against Reason
Mary Ann Glendon
"This prodigiously gifted, gravely flawed genius of the eighteenth century was at his best when he reminded his proud contemporaries of the limitations of science and politics.... But Rousseau's most problematic legacy, the one that bedevils us today, has been his elevation of sincerity over truth, and feeling over reason."

Abraham Lincoln & the Last Best Hope
Jean Bethke Elshtain
Elshtain concludes, "...there is no point in hoping for another Abraham Lincoln. But one may hope that we have not entirely forgotten the possibilities of political and moral leadership that he exemplified." She paints a picture of a wiley, yet moral politician.

John Paul II and the Crisis of Humanism
George Weigel
George Weigel, author of the recently published Witness to Hope: The Biography of John Paul II, writes, "A serious case can be made for Pope John Paul II as the man who most singularly embodies humanity's trials and triumphs in the twentieth century."

Back to Millennium feature page

We would love to get your feedback on this special focus. Please tell us what you think.

Go here to see our past Special Focus features.