Category: The Historical Muse

Thoughts on history and the historical profession. Clio is the muse of history–this category title is a play on that concept.

A New Federalist Party?

Throughout my thirty-year teaching career, speaking to students about history, government, and politics, I’ve never had much good to say about third parties in the American political system. More often than not, they have caused a problem, their adherents allowing someone—usually not the right one—to win the presidency. Third-party platforms are then absorbed into one of the two major parties and that third party ceases to exist. For any new political party to rise up and be a major factor… Read more »

In the Fog between Legend & History: The Tale of St. Brendan

Historians must always be careful not to accept too readily what may appear to be fantastical accounts. We are trained to check sources for confirmation of stories that may be more legend than actual history. Yet sometimes those legends come about because they are based on real events. Such, perhaps, is the legend of St. Brendan. Here’s the story, received today in an e-mail from the Christian History Institute. See what you think about the accuracy of what we consider… Read more »

Lewis & Sayers Wordsmithing: The Mind of the Maker (Part 3)

Dorothy Sayers’s The Mind of the Maker, as I’ve pointed out in two previous posts, has a lot in common with how C. S. Lewis thought. Here are two more examples of why Lewis liked what Sayers had to say. Sayers focused on the power of words to move men. Lewis was a dedicated wordsmith who knew that the right words used at the right time in just the right way, could spark the imagination and jumpstart the mind. Sayers… Read more »

Christian Principled Constitutional Conservatism: A Personal Manifesto

I’ve been consistently concerned now for the last couple of years with respect to what is happening in our political realm. I come at politics and government from a very definite perspective. Here, therefore, is my attempt at a personal manifesto. I believe in Christian principled constitutional conservatism. Let me now explain what that means to me. Christian Jesus Christ is Lord of all aspects of life. My own life would have no meaning without His love, His forgiveness, and… Read more »

On Lewis Reading Sayers

Dorothy Sayers was never present at an Inklings meeting. She was never considered as a member of that weekly sharing of readings and thoughts. Yet she is often seen in conjunction with the Inklings because she graduated from Oxford herself and was friends with two of its leading members: Charles Williams and C. S. Lewis. Lewis, responding during the last year of his life about his connections with Sayers, gave this summary: Dorothy Sayers, so far as I know, was… Read more »

Solzhenitsyn: “Men Have Forgotten God”

The Templeton Prize, established in 1972 by philanthropist Sir John Templeton, is awarded each year to a person “who has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works.” The monetary award for this prize is continually revised upward to ensure it exceeds the award given to Nobel winners. Why? It is “to underscore Templeton’s belief that benefits from discoveries that illuminate spiritual questions can be quantifiably more vast than those from other… Read more »

Solzhenitsyn: The Disaster of the West

I’ve never read any of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s novels. His Gulag Archipelago has been sitting on my bookshelf for a couple of decades at least. Yes, I’ve glanced at it a few times, but to my utter shame, I’ve not taken the time to digest it. My only excuse is the volume of other reading that has always been either more enticing or more needed at the time. I do plan to read it, fitting it in somewhere between Dante’s Divine… Read more »