June 2013

Richard Fletcher, Historian

Richard Fletcher was a rarity among historians. A medievalist, Fletcher published books on Anglo-Saxon England and Moorish and Christian Spain prior to the actual beginnings of the Reconquista in the 11th century (which is usually dated to the 8th century). Another of his impressive scholarly accomplishments was The Barbarian Conversion (1999), which looked at Christian missions into the dark heart of Europe between the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the Reformation, with an eye to happenings in the Eastern Roman Empire, the Middle East, and North Africa.

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My Discovery of the X-Files

I missed the X-Files in its hey-day. The nine seasons running from 1993 to 2002 corresponded almost exactly with my teenage years. But I was too busy watching Star Trek: TNG, DS9, and Voyager, too busy reading the classics of science fiction and fantasy, or quickly paging through the latest literary addition to the Stars Wars universe. Though the literary quality, it needs to be said, went quickly downhill after Timothy Zahn's Thrawn trilogy.

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Science, Philosophy, and Theology

There’s a saying: as science advances, religion retreats. These days, the boundary between science and religion is clear. They’re considered completely separate domains, even if philosophers sometimes think about both. Granted, there are exceptions, but for the most part religion, these days, is not in the business of making claims about the nature of the cosmos or the origins of life. In the 90s, Pope John Paul II even declared that evolution was a scientific fact Catholics should wholeheartedly embrace. I take that as a real mark of progress.

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