The many biographies of Thomas Aquinas range from the popular and hagiographic to the scholarly. But all writers on the saint agree that Thomas was notoriously reticent about his own life. Almost never in his voluminous writings did he reveal a personal voice. It was thus brave of Denys Turner to subtitle his wonderful book “A Portrait.”
When scholars of religion are feeling provocative, they like to point out that there is no such thing as “religion”—only “religions.”Like language, religion cannot be merely an abstraction; it must always be expressed in a particular way.
Nearly 50 years ago, archaeologists found a charred and unreadable ancient scroll in a synagogue near the Dead Sea. Thanks to “virtual unwrapping,” a new technology developed at the University of Kentucky, the text is now readable. It is a fragment from the book of Leviticus that is identical to the Masoretic text of the Hebrew Bible, the authoritative version often used to translate the Old Testament in Protestant Bibles (New York Times, September 21).