Souls Bound & Unbound

Peter J. Leithart on the Surprising Madness of the Gospel

In her forties, the Jewish philosopher Gillian Rose discovered she had ovarian cancer. Chemotherapy did nothing to arrest the disease as it ate through her peritoneum and pleura, and when the surgeons treating her could not agree on either her condition or her prospects for recovery, she said goodbye to conventional medicine.

She dabbled briefly in alternative medicine, but soon left that behind too, not for practical but for philosophical reasons. Alternative medicine’s upbeat message, she commented acidly, was “poor psychology, worse theology and no notion of justice at all.” Unless you live a perfectly happy life, alternative . . .

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Peter J. Leithart is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America and the president of Trinity House Institute for Biblical, Liturgical & Cultural Studies in Birmingham, Alabama. His many books include Defending Constantine (InterVarsity), Between Babel and Beast (Cascade), and, most recently, Gratitude: An Intellectual History (Baylor University Press). His weblog can be found at www.leithart.com. He is a contributing editor of Touchstone.

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