Bradley J. Birzer

Bradley J. Birzer

About Bradley J. Birzer

Bradley J. Birzer is the co-founder of, and Senior Contributor at, The Imaginative Conservative. He is the Russell Amos Kirk Chair in History at Hillsdale College and Fellow of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Dr. Birzer is author of In Defense of Andrew Jackson, Russell Kirk: American Conservative, American Cicero: The Life of Charles Carroll, Sanctifying the World: The Augustinian Life and Mind of Christopher Dawson, J.R.R. Tolkien’s Sanctifying Myth: Understanding Middle-Earth, co-editor of The American Democrat and Other Political Writings by James Fenimore Cooper, and co-author of The American West.

Oh, Death, Where is Thy. . .

By |2020-01-23T11:21:56-06:00January 22nd, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Death, Imagination, Roger Scruton, Senior Contributors|

Death is a truly strange thing. It has touched each of us, to be sure, by visiting loved ones. Yet, sometimes, she/he/it seems just unbelievably relentless. Death has already taken so many greats in the first half of January 2020—Neil Peart on January 7; Sir Roger Scruton on January 12; and Christopher Tolkien on [...]

The Implications of the Logos for Christianity

By |2020-01-15T15:12:10-06:00January 15th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Christian Humanism, Christianity, Culture, Religion, Senior Contributors|

If, as established in my two previous two essays*, the Logos has its roots in ancient pagan as well as ancient Hebraic thought, what does this mean for Christianity and its adoption of the term? Clearly, the most blatant manifestations of the Greco-Hebraic concept of the Logos—the eternal Word, the unending fire, thought, and [...]

The Ancient Hebrew Roots of the Christian Logos

By |2020-01-10T00:43:14-06:00January 9th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Christianity, Classics, Great Books, Senior Contributors|

Though originally a Jew, St. John was clearly a Hellenized Jew who might have taken his own concepts from either the pagans or the Jews. As he describes the Incarnate Word in his Gospel, the Incarnation resembles most closely the Memra of the Jews. As I discussed in my previous essay, the Pagan Logos [...]

The Pagan Roots of the Christian Logos

By |2020-01-10T09:38:29-06:00January 7th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Christian Humanism, Christianity, Cicero, Classics, Great Books, Liberal Learning, Virgil|

Any understanding of human dignity in the twenty-first century demands an understanding of the Judeo-Christian Logos (Memra in Hebrew). Without it, there is only chaos and darkness, dispiritedness and confusion, blackness and the abyss. One only has to witness the evil sown by the attempted coup against the Judeo-Christian Logos in the last century [...]

Rousseau’s Collectivism

By |2020-01-04T14:06:31-06:00January 3rd, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, History, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Philosophy, Politics, Senior Contributors|

“It would be difficult to find anywhere in the history of politics a more powerful and potentially revolutionary doctrine than Rousseau’s theory of the General Will. Power is freedom and freedom is power,” Robert Nisbet argued in his magnum opus, 1953’s Quest for Community. […]

Remembering the Virtues

By |2019-12-30T10:47:46-06:00January 1st, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Culture, Education, Ethics, Senior Contributors, Virtue|

The virtues are rooted in nature, in creation, and in God’s will for us. They can be forgotten, mocked, or distorted, but, being real and true and beautiful, they can never be conquered. It was once true, unfortunately, that history was written by the victors. Now, it seems, we’ve gone terribly far in the [...]

C.S. Lewis and His Critics

By |2019-12-25T22:55:32-06:00December 25th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, C.S. Lewis, Imagination, Literature, Senior Contributors|

Though C.S. Lewis’ reputation among most practicing Christians today is that of a saint, and though he was lauded as such in his own lifetime, the man, not surprisingly, has also accumulated a number of critics, some of them friendly and some of them brutal. In 1944, Charles Brady reported in the pages of [...]

C.S. Lewis’ “That Hideous Strength”

By |2019-12-23T10:44:48-06:00December 22nd, 2019|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, C.S. Lewis, Fiction, Imagination, Literature, Senior Contributors|

Though it would not see publication until August 1945, C.S. Lewis finished his greatest novel, That Hideous Strength, on Christmas Eve, 1943. In terms of depth, style, and audacity, That Hideous Strength is superior to its closest dystopian rivals, Brave New World and 1984. Its characters are far more realistic, and the setting—far from [...]

Edmund Burke and the Dignity of the Human Person

By |2019-12-17T22:18:01-06:00December 17th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Edmund Burke, Imagination, Moral Imagination, Senior Contributors|

Edmund Burke believed that one must see the human being not for what he is, or the worst that is within him, but rather as clothed in the “wardrobe of moral imagination,” a glimpse of what the person could be and is, by God, meant to be. Though we correctly remember Edmund Burke as [...]

How to Think about God: A Pagan “Mere Christianity”

By |2019-12-14T16:06:27-06:00December 14th, 2019|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Christianity, Cicero, Culture, Great Books, Religion, Senior Contributors, Western Civilization|

Princeton University Press’s most recent volume, “How to Think About God,” is a handbook of paganism, an antique “Mere Christianity.” While none of its wisdom will get you to Heaven, it will certainly help you lead a better and more fulfilling life here and now. Over the last several years, Princeton University Press has [...]

Hobbes’ “Leviathan”: A Collectivist Horror

By |2019-12-13T04:10:26-06:00December 12th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Civilization, Conservatism, Government, Leviathan, Politics, Senior Contributors, Western Civilization|

With the loss of traditional religion as the guiding force of the Western world, following the collapse of the Medieval around 1350, politics quickly became not just a substitute, but a religion in and of itself, a proto-ideology serving as a glue for the emerging nation-states of Europe. Certainties that the Medievals had taken [...]

The Romantic Theology of Charles Williams

By |2019-12-04T21:15:06-06:00December 4th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Christianity, Culture, Inklings, Love, Marriage, Religion, Senior Contributors, Theology|

Just as we consume the Eucharist at Mass, recognizing the holiness of the act, so some marriages become profound examples and witnesses of holiness. By habit and faith, Charles Williams contended, the serious Christian begins to see all meals as a shadow of the Eucharist and all love as a shadow of Holy Matrimony. [...]

Living in the Same Spiritual World: C.S. Lewis & Charles Williams

By |2019-12-01T22:01:42-06:00December 1st, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Character, Christianity, Imagination, Inklings, Literature, Senior Contributors|

Charles Williams joined the Inklings immediately after Oxford University Press moved its offices from London to Oxford because of the war with Germany. Though C.S. Lewis found Williams’ work compelling, even life-changing, the other members expressed doubts. “I had a pleasant evening on Thursday with Williams, Tolkien, and Wrenn, during which Wrenn expressed ALMOST [...]

A Brief Guide to the New Testament

By |2019-11-16T21:16:21-06:00November 23rd, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Christianity|

Canonicity of the New Testament. The English word “Gospel” was first coined in 950AD in Lindesfarne, by an Anglo-Saxon monk/priest. It means “God’s spell” or “God’s story.” It is a translation of the Greek word euangelion. Dates of the various books of the New Testament: Date                                         Writing                                    Author 51-52            [...]