cover image Fighting the Noonday Devil—and Other Essays Personal and Theological

Fighting the Noonday Devil—and Other Essays Personal and Theological

R.R. Reno, Eerdmans, $16 trade paper (122p) ISBN 978-0-8028-6547-2

Reno, a professor of theological ethics at Creighton University and an editor of the Catholic journal First Things, offers a sundry collection of essays on topics ranging from climbing in the French Alps to Pope Benedict XVI's thoughts on intellectual vocation. He follows the intellectual path trod by Richard John Neuhaus, a fellow Catholic convert (and founder of First Things), who preached fidelity to tradition once he found a tradition that suited. Indeed, Reno offers a defense of his own conversion, having once written an essay counseling fidelity to Anglicanism despite disagreements. Some readers will assent to his reasoning; others will find it either hypocritical or self-inflated. Yet Reno does write thoughtfully and well, a true son of Montaigne, the French father of the essay, despite Reno's reservations about Montaigne as a father of postmodern critical detachment. Reno's best essays plumb the hidden complexity behind the ostensibly simple and concrete: drinking with fellow oil workers in a bar, climbing in the French Alps in the dark. When Reno follows his own counsel against excessive theorizing, the result is satisfying, even touching. (Feb.)