Jesus Christ

Last night, The Washington Post published a strongly worded argument about Reza Aslan, the scholar who Fox News pilloried for having the audacity to write a book about Jesus when he is (in the interest of “full disclosure”) a Muslim.

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The strange theory of twelve constitutions in one.

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Sun Myung Moon, who died last week at the age of 92, assumed many roles in life—media mogul, real estate developer, tax cheat, freelance diplomat. But for members of the church he founded, it’s clear which was most important: messiah. After all, Moon was more than just the founder of the Unification Church; he was also, according to church members, its divinely-appointed savior.

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Mark Noll reviews T.M. Lurhrmann's book on American evangelicals who claim to hear God directly.

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The latest journalist to press Mitt Romney on his tax returns is the ultra-resourceful Josh Tyrangiel of Businessweek. Here’s how he cleverly posed the question in a recent interview:  If you’re an investor and you’re looking at a company, and that company says that its great strength is wise management and fiscal know-how, wouldn’t you want to see the previous, say, five years’ worth of its financials?  Alas, no dice. Romney’s response:  I’m not a business.

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On the morning of February 21, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina, and Ekaterina Samutsevich walked up the steps leading to the altar of Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior, shed their winter clothing, pulled colorful winter hats down over their faces, and jumped around punching and kicking for about thirty seconds. By evening, the three young women had turned it into a music video called “Punk Prayer: Holy Mother, Chase Putin Away!” which mocked the patriarch and Putin.

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When I’m not deep in a presidential election season, I do like writing about subjects other than politics, including the whole realm of urban policy/economic development/land use. It was that interest that led me, two years ago, to write a long magazine piece critiquing the remarkably lucrative enterprise that had grown out of Richard Florida’s 2002 best-seller, The Rise of the Creative Class.

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Undefeated

THE GREAT THEORIST Leszek Kolakowski once told the following parable: Two girls are racing in a park. The one behind cries at the top of her lungs, “I’m winning! I’m winning!” Suddenly, the girl in the lead quits the race and sobs into her mother’s arms: “There’s no way to beat her.

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Before 2013 begins, catch up on the best of 2012. From now until the New Year, we will be re-posting some of The New Republic’s most thought-provoking pieces of the year. Enjoy. I DON’T REMEMBER the missionaries’ names, only that one was blond and one was dark, one was from Oregon and one was from Utah. They arrived at our house on secondhand bicycles carrying bundles of inspirational literature. They smelled, I remember, of witch hazel and toothpaste.

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He was a man who claimed to have abandoned all five of his children, as newborns, at the door of an orphanage. He broke with nearly every friend he ever made, including some who sacrificed dearly for him, denouncing them in the most hateful and vitriolic terms. He wrote that law-breakers deserved to be treated as rebels and traitors.

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